Despite the far-reaching nature and manner with which politics is administered in Nigeria, where the majority of the political leaders are not working for the well-being of the citizenry but for their selfish purposes, a major factor that require a lot of thought and has been left unattended to is followership. More often than not, citizens generally complain about the quality of leadership in our nation forgetting the fact that this leaders whom their followers sometimes exonerate on ethically biased basis are just an opportunistic subset from the pool of followership in the society operating under commonly exhibited ideology.

The opinion above resonates with the opinion of Aristotle in  that "he who can not be a good follower cannot be a good leader". After all, every leader at a point, was a follower. This symbiotic  relationship between leadership and followership has over the years, proven to have undulating effect on the fundamental factors upon which societal development is built. Far beyond contestation, Nigeria Leadership-Followership syndrome has given rise to a systemic failure epitomized by political misplaced priorities and extravagancy.

The reality of this systemic failure which generally pervade the corridors of power in Nigeria has been perceived to accentuate into parasitic leadership-followetship relationship at the expense of development.
This reality is further exacerbated by the fact that, followers, knowing fully well that the leaders got recruited from amongst them place a wanton and unreasonable demands on politicians that, in most cases are borne out of selfish and unethical basis which cannot be met by the leaders (politicians). Thus, in a political sense, followership becomes a burden on the leaders.

In tandem with the foregoing, the burdens placed on these leaders are further  propelled by the fact that, followers in Nigeria are embroiled in poverty, illiteracy, ethnicity, sycophancy, suicidal silence on public issues, gullibility, powerlessness in influencing government decisions, disunity and our thief is better than your thief syndrome among other problems. Consequently, some leaders who are aware of these problems take advantage of their followers thereby, obviously leaving them with no option than to be at the mercy of the politicians.

By extension, this followers and members of the family of an average politician in Nigeria posses this dependency tendencies and entitlement inclinations that the politicians (leaders) whom they perceive are now wealthy should meet all their financial and material needs as their own share of the so called 'national cake'. In most cases, this followers go to the offices or assemble at the residence of the politician to, one after the other make their financial and or material demands. In this case, politician who cannot deal with the pressure of needs mounted by people are compelled to sometimes abscond.

Sadly enough, it can be assumed that, the corruptive tendencies of average Nigeria politician is directly proportional to the selfish desires to amass wealth indiscriminately and the pressure to satisfy suffocating demands of their followers. Therefore, rather  for the politicians to focus on developmental changes, they extensively appeal to the consciousness of their followers by meeting their financial and or material demands.

Typically, an average family, friends and or followers of  a politician in Nigeria do not feel they should work because they have a leader who should give them returns. The Politicians on the other hand, manipulate this unintelligent and materialistic followers by stealing as much as possible, funds that would have catered for the development for all and sundry and make them feel everything is in their interest. Although there is no surprise in this regard in that, politicians use money and material things to pave their way to leadership positions by appealing to the already disoriented, impoverished and unintelligent citizens (followers) in this part of the world.

The configuration of followership presented by the above perspectives clearly establishes the intricate relationship between it and Nigeria politics. This presupposes that followership is an integral part of governance cum political process and this of course strengthens the assertion that politics is too important to be left to politicians alone simply because, government is prone to crime and a government devoid of citizens' control is a potential criminal. But in a situation whereby the citizens display more corruptive dispositions, what can Nigeria do?

In nakedness of truth, for as long as our nation continues to romance the illusion that our problems rest squarely with deficit in quality leadership and   obviously excludes the followers' individual responsibilities which ought to stretch our political office holders to work in the interest of all, it would be needless to say at this juncture, that, we will not progress as a nation when all that the the citizen (followers) constitute is personal and selfishly motivated quest for monetary and or material gains from people in the political class, jettisoning the common needs of the majority.

With absolute respect to the foregoing, it is clear that, the major problems of this country are not just the politicians who parade themselves as leaders, the followers further compound the problems.  These two are products of unintelligent and unpatriotic citizens whose morality has degraded. Even if one still believes bad leaders are our major problem, the major reason is because they too are once bad followers. It is not surprising therefore, that they are disasters to us because, the morality of any society is determined by the morality of the totality of the citizens (leaders and the followers).

However, while it is hitherto endemic in our systems for politicians to utilize money and material substances to get into offices and then do nothing for the collective needs of  people afterwards on the one hand and the followers, indulge in individualistic and selfishly projected demands on the other hand, this piece recommends that this strategy that used to work be abolished, hoping that this scales of materialism at the expense of socioeconomic development will fall off the eyes of Nigerians so that they can clearly see its implications in the near future. God bless Nigeria.


You can email Emmanuel at em[email protected] or follow him on Twitter @EmmyCool_Babs.


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