Soyinkaism: The Skul, Crossbone And Nigerian Leaders

The literal meaning of the phrase ‘May our road be rough’ as expressed by Tai Solarin can never be an exception to the non-working mechanism of Nigeria system of leadership. I quite agree with the notion that a smooth sail do not make a good sailor but I must say that Nigeria’s sailing is rough and it’s filled with nothingness.  When something is rough, one expect that it’s a hard time that would later be fruitful. The Nigeria case is an exception. The road is just too smooth for bad leadership to triumph without minding what the pages of history would be recorded with. The country is now a crumbling edifice wrecked by bad leadership judging by the sporadic bombs of leadership evils blowing around. The reality is dawn on Nigeria as a country. I think Nigeria has been caught by cold death. If not, things would not be totally falling apart even when the current leaders claim that the centre is still holding. I bet you, we live in an age of impossible contradictions where there is time for everything and the falconer may yet become the falcon.

Permit me to say that nothing is working well in Nigeria. But, with utmost sense of humility one should expect nothing less from tired, fired, hired and old brains. It should be noted that some are elected at their tired realm, and then they go further to employ the services of old brains. The brains hired are solution solvers, brilliant strategist, consummate power pragmatist and political conjurors who can procure something out of nothing through committee deliberations that produce emptiness as an end product. This is the only thing that works well in Nigeria especially in our governance system. Though there are various efforts by noble minded ones to safe the wrecking ship, it is still been frustrated by some devilish minds. No doubt that any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.  At various instances, we have heard various corrupts act that are perpetrated with impunity and the culprit are still red carpeted upon their crimes. No one is saying anything and those saying something are been silenced even when not silenced, the fear of the big destructive daddies is thick in the air.

Major corrupt act ranging from the 225million for two armoured BMWs scandal by aviation minister,  the 2.5 trillion fuel subsidy bill issue, 700billion Pension Scam by Alh Abdulrasheed Maina , Malabu 1.1 billion dollars Scandal in 2011. The Case of corruption of James Ibori in the UK for which he has reportedly plead guilty and discharged by the Nigerian Courts, SEC probe of corrupt act in Capital market, Bribe scandal against Lawan Farouk, the non prosecution of those indicted in the Haliburton LNG bribery and a tree seedling fraud worth N2BN awarded by Ecological Fund office discovered by the House of representative Committee on environment in July 2012 are few of the disheartening instances that someone like me would never forget and those that are involved, already made an impression on the minds of future generation leaders.

The chaotic panic in my mind had dissolved right now and I must state emphatically that the smooth sailing of corruption in the sea of the Jonathan administration would not be forgotten by many that truly love this country. I do not look at the glass as half full or half empty. I look to see who is pouring water and deal with them. Our leaders are our problems. There is no doubt about that. Our leaders as at now possess most all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire. They bite more than they can chew and forget so soon that the sun that shines today is the sun that shone when their father was born, and will still be shinning then their last grandchild shall pass into the darkness. They have succeeded in crushing the follower’s mindset at various instances with lies and prophesy of doom. They manipulated the truth to serve their needs, silencing those whose discoveries did not serve their politics. They are not leaders in the real sense of the word but contraptions of power profiteering individuals that have now come undone. They carry the air of gentility with the rule of a tyrant. A gentleman dictator is their leader who no longer has any qualms about apologizing for his brutal follies. I guess he has a dream to be remembered as true Nigerian captain; who sailed smoothly on the sea with the Nigerians on board. What an irony. You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore. If the machine of government is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law.

Just as I am pondering on the state of leadership in our country, I heard the shocking news of Mandela’s death. Though I did not get to meet him before his death, his death has added more to the mourning state of Nigerians. Nigerians have since been in mourning mood courtesy of her leader’s failure to tackle the Boko Haram rampage, Subsidy Thieves, FG vs Asuu, Power failure etc. The Nigeria leaders have also participated in mourning Mandela and various words of the good deeds of Mandela has been said by them. One now begins to wonder if they are doing all the bad acts of theirs knowingly or not. If you could say someone has done something right and you are doing it wrongly, it means you do not care about the consequence. The consequence is not a sudden affair but a later affair that affects you and those around you whether for good or bad. The basic trademark of leadership in Nigeria as at now is tears, sorrow and blood. Mandela never left tears, sorrow and blood in the eye of the South Africans. If he has done that, the world would not mourn him at all. Matters became worse when someone describe our amiable captain as the Mandela that ever ruled Nigeria just because he sacrificed 13hours to discuss with ASUU. I laughed in pains and believed verily, that our present leaders would lead us to hell if care is not taking. How on earth, would a man take pride in a baseless effort and make it an act of heroism. Emotions help keep us on the right track by making sure that we are led by more than mental and intellectual faculties of thought, reason and memory. Lies are powerful, fearless and daring when the truth is absent. But the Truth at the end always arrives to clean up the mess. We all know the truth and refused to be misguided by a man under our captain’s pay roll. Integrity is more important to me, because politics is for the present, but integrity is something for eternity.

A leader must do things not for the sake of today but for the sake of tomorrow. Many leaders have ruled Nigeria and history has a story to tell on them all. Even before Google was in existence, the people can tell you the good, the bad and ugly side of someone that ruled them. The skull and bone principle is the guide of many great leaders that I have read about. Consciously or unconsciously, the great leaders of men have made an everlasting impact in their environment while in flesh, blood and spirit. Many of us see the skull and bone as a sign of danger but it’s just a reminder of what our lives would be reduced to in the hereafter, while not make things right when we are still in the flesh with the blood running through our veins and the spirit leading us. This is what all individuals should think about. I so much respect this Soyinka’s theory of life as it’s more than what people see it as. Mandela and other great leaders followed this principle either directly or indirectly. Their peoples need was their priority. They suffered to make their people smile but in Nigeria, leadership is a position where luxuries are acquired and the people’s toiling is in a waste. The leaders of our time should fear God and hereafter and do things right because at the end of our lives we shall not be judged by the number of cars or millions we left in bank before our demise but by the good deeds we do while on earth.

It should be noted that great men do not die. They only change abode when they do, they leave behind a vacuum, too wide to fill. For their great deeds mark them out forever. The present time will never last forever but impressions as to bad deeds do. Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence. I pray that search engines should still be available in hereafter so that many Nigeria leaders of today can see their acts. At the end of our lives, I, you and the gentleman dictator shall be reduced to the skull and bone.

WHYTE HABEEB IBIDAPO is a United Nations Award winner and Coca cola/ The Nation Campuslife Award Winner. Email:


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