By Douglas Anele
I strongly believe that when the President, governors and other top public office holders regularly solicit for prayers and attend extracurricular religious programmes, superstitious emotionalism is being substituted for strategic thinking as the best approach to the challenges of leadership.
In other words, the penchant of our leaders to seek divine intervention in critical matters that require calm, rigorous, scientific examination of relevant data and taking decisions in the interest of Nigerians is dangerous. It leads to intellectual confusion and unrealistic expectation that “God will see us through.”
To cite just one example, for all his pretensions of being a born-again Christian, former President Olusegun Obasanjo did not manage our national resources prudently for genuine economic transformation. The modest achievements in fighting corruption are insignificant compared to his shambolic policy implementation strategies and the elephantine amount of money squandered during the same period.
Now, President Goodluck Jonathan is repeating the same mistakes by Chief Obasanjo. He is chasing a mirage, indulging in the same futile appeal to Nigerians for prayers and more prayers, convinced that prayers will help solve our hydra-headed problems. He also hobnobs with well-known Christian clerics and very eager to demonstrate his Christian piety.
But the picture of him kneeling down before Pastor Enoch Adeboye soliciting for divine help is odd; it creates the erroneous impression that the Presidency is subordinate to religion, which is contrary to the secularity of our Constitution. Inspite of such ringing religiosity, his performance thus as President is mediocre.
The showy religiosity of top public officers in the country has not impacted positively in the discharge of their duties. Or else how can one explain frequent reports of financial rascality and obscene ostentatious lifestyles by top officials of government at all levels? Nigerians should wake up from their intellectual and dogmatic slumbers to the reality that religion is a smokescreen used by members of the ruling elite to deceive, and oftentimes divide, them.