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1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Generally there exist a nexus between leadership roles and national development of a given political system. Quality leadership is central to the attainment of development in a given polity. In an increasing changing and globalised world, leadership is the most visible aspect of management with its potential of transforming the workforce into willing and winning team, with the appropriate relations to actualize collectively determine corporate objectives in the society (Dike, 2000).
To be clear about that, leadership is a defining element between success or failure of any organization (polity). It is the thread that binds the resources of the state to people’s value goals. The strength of the leadership in terms of character and quality will determine the level of success a polity will attained in its moved toward the end of national and local development prospects (Todaro, 2004).
However, Nigeria today purports to run a democratic system of government that is expected to promote development and general well being through the political will of its leadership. This is because leadership help to translate development process and sustainability through various polices and progrmmes initiated by the leaders. Indeed, National development is critical and essential to the sustenance and growth of any given nation (Oluwatoyin and Lawal, 2011).
Pride of any nation or government is the attainment of higher value level of development in such away that its citizens would derive natural attachment of governance.
Without leadership there could not be development especially in the social, human and cultural dimension.
To this effect, the socio-economic and political development of a given political system account largely on the ability of it leadership to facilitate and sustain good governance. Good governance simply refers to the manifestation of committed, patriotic and discipline leadership in ensuring that there is improvement in the standard of living of its citizens in that society.
However, it is a common knowledge in Nigeria today and Benue state, that the main problem that has bedeviled Nigeria and Benue is poor leadership, especially after the first set of patriotic leaders that emerges immediately after independence up till 1970s, when leaders were more corrupt and selfish as regards to National development.
In recent time, the root cause(s) of socio-economic and political instability according to analysts is leadership (Ebegbulem, 2007).
Although, it could be free to argue here that, leadership crises in Nigeria is a recent phenomenon. Chronologically, from independence, Nigerian state have witness patriotic and nationalist leaders whom their roles and efforts bring to force the making of Nigerian state. Indeed, more of the National developments in Nigeria today, where formulated and implemented by the military regimes and other patriotic leaders. The best and most useful infrastructure we have in Benue state and Nigeria in general were constructed by our early leaders. However, in contemporary Nigeria, most of the leaders are characterized with lack of direction, neglect and drift. Fraud and insensitivity to the plight of the citizens.
In Nigeria today, leadership behaviour often do not attends not seems to be directed towards the achievement of the welfare of the people and progress of the nation (Anazodo et al, 2012).
Socio-economic status has become the precursor of Nigerian leadership and often nobody cares how the wealth has been acquired, public treasures are looted with impunity. No wonder Chinua Achebe reiterated that, the problem of Nigeria is simply and squarely what of leadership Nigeria’s political leadership are selfish, mediocre tribal leader and opportunistic small money minded people masquerading as leaders (Ayodele, 2006).
Contemporary speaking, especially at the dawn of democratic governance, most of the problems Nigeria is facing are problems of sustainable development, which are caused by the stop practices of our past and present leaders (Odekunle, 2007). In terms of accountability, transparency and services, delivery, despite the abundance of human and natural resources that
make the country the toast of many nations, our leaders have not been at their best as people’s expectations of a better hope and opportunities have long be dashed with governance ingredient at elusive stage to Nigerians.
Indeed, Nigerian society has never well governed in recent time. The leaders accumulate wealth at the expense of national development without devotion to the cause of the people for example, after the implementation of early national development plans with above five phases which really ensures development in Nigeria, thereafter, there have been series of development plans or programmes put forward by the civilian government but has not really ensured sustainable development.
This is because on the account of lack of political will of the leaders or the aspect of visionless leaders who concentrate on selfish interest at the detriment of the Nigerian citizens. There is no wonder that, today most Nigerians leaders lack vision and mission what cut across all the states in Nigeria and this is the reasons why effective leadership and sustainable national development is rare in our contemporary Nigeria (Anazodo et al, 2012).
To this effect, contemporary Nigerian leaders are responsible for decayed infrastructures, down turn economy, corruption and decline indicators of national development. Therefore, this study set to examine the failure or otherwise of leadership in ensuring national development in contemporary Nigeria and Benue state in particular.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Past administration in Nigeria and Benue state in particular lack the ability to deliver good governance there ensuring national development. The crop of leaders that have attained position since independence in Nigeria had in one way or the other lacked vision and have been engrossed with corrupt practices and political bickering learning to the enthronement of maladministration and mismanagement of public resources, which beget economic setback and poverty as a national in heritage (Dike 2004). Anazodo et al, 2002; Adekunle, 2007).
Cursory glance from independence according to Ayodele (2006) shows that past leaders have really tried their best in ensuring sustainable national development inspite of their short-lived in offices.
However, critics are of the opinion that, the woes of Nigeria today is as a result of past leaders. Past leaders like Tafawa Balewa who ruled Nigeria from 1960-1966 was characterized as lacking capacity to chart a progressive course for national development. Follow by Ironsi in
1966 who do not know how to tackle development prospects. Gowon ruled Nigeria from 1966-1975 whom used petroleum money to do nothing and does not make much impact on national development inspite of the excess crude oil money. Indeed, from independence down to Obasanjo’s administration national development has not really put in place that would improved standard of living of Nigerians. Corruption, ethnocentrism, the politics of exclusion, discrimination, political opportunism, economic woes, weak institutions and bureaucracy among several others have militate against effective leadership and national development in Nigeria and Benue state in particular. Government through leadership in Benue state since 1999 has not really shown the desires to manage the affairs of the people. Some noticeable progress recorded has been more of politicking, where leaders only embarked on personal projects. Over decades of Benue state existence would have predisposed her to growth and sustainable development especially given her resources in endowment and location. This would have made it an institution for effective state and national development. Therefore, national development delegating to Benue state have been eluded on the account of its leadership nature. This study seeks to examine the inability of leaders or otherwise in ensuring national development in Benue state.
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTION
(1) What are the causes of leadership problems in Nigeria?
(2) Has leadership problem impacted on the National development in Benue state?
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