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LEADERSHIP WITHOUT A MANIFESTO Do you wonder why our roads are so filled with pot-holes leading to bone jarring

shudders and constant breakdown of vehicles? Are you saddened by the death toll on our highways and even the inner city streets? Do you wonder why you are unable to have light through the limited hours of needed night rest? Did the recent declaration of the earnings of the legislators shock you? Then we ought to all think again about aimless leadership. The limitation in time permits us to only look briefly at reasons why we must exercise our rights to choose our leaders with every sense of responsibility. In three days from now we shall be ushered into year 2011, which is an election year in Nigeria. Over the past five decades we have been saddled with the burden of leaders who aimlessly get foisted on us because they either have the right connection or the amount of money to bribe and buy their way into the legislative assembly or even local government. This has meant that they have gone into leadership without a desire to serve. The only cost they are familiar with is that of buying votes and hiring tugs. They are neither familiar with their immediate environment nor the needs of their electorate. As a result they have never done any opinion survey of their environment. Never seen the demography of their area, never thought about the economic projects that will ensure gainful employment of the teaming youth, never assessed the cost of repair or construction of a kilometer of tarred road nor the drainage to service it. Our leaders have not used statistical report to verify the growth trend and why we must need to plan for higher power consumption per household. This means that they constantly moan with everybody when there is power outage, but have no idea how much it costs to generate needed electricity and how best to distribute same with positive results. As a result, they think it a pleasure when they can purchase the largest electricity generating sets without regard to the environment nor the health and safety of others. We simply need to ask those aspiring to lead us, to show in writing: their understanding of the needs of our people, the plans they have to ameliorate these needs, the scope of time needed for the accomplishment, the cost in Naira, the number of people who would be gainfully employed through the pursuit of the various projects, and finally, how do they intend to fund these projects.

This written script can then be used in judging the performance of the leadership and setting proper goals for future development. It is with this manifesto that we can call for debates of the various candidates and assess who best fits into the mold of cost effective leaders for our development. The lack of this manifesto or the lack of the will to insist on the presentation of such a material is the reason for rudderless leadership which translates into thoughtless, corrupt and greedy leadership.

For lack of knowledge of the cost of these projects, lack of commitment to the purposes of the provision of the said necessities, our leaders who ought to manage our scarce resources squander them on their pleasures. Banks in foreign lands are filled with diverted funds from uncompleted projects and nobody asks why! We ask but cannot insist because we have no manifesto binding them. A promise that must, as a debt, be redeemed. We do need all leaders to show their manifestos. Every leader must have a goal, a mission statement and a manifesto that will serve as a scale for the assessment of their accomplishment at the end of their term. So who are your preferred delegates in the incoming election? How did you choose them? What are their levels of understanding of our societal needs? Where are their promises to deliver? What are their sources of fund for the campaign and the planned accomplishment of the projects? What is our future with leaders who have no manifesto? Class assignment: Select groups of five each to design campaign manifestos for leadership of Ikeja Local Government. Test each group against the other in a timed open debate of the delegates, comparing project identification, costing and funding as well as completion time.

Thank you all for resolving to choose our leaders aright.