Why Government Policies Fail

Mr. Peter was deeply worried about his son, Samuel. Despite his best efforts, Samuel’s behavior was worsening by the day. In their neighborhood, Samuel had gained a bad reputation for stealing and picking pockets. This behavior continued at school, embarrassing Mr. Peter even further.

Mr. Peter tried his best to raise his children to be upstanding members of society. He was always at home with them, offering guidance and support. However, his efforts seemed futile, as his children continually went astray. Desperate for advice, he sought out an elder in the community. The elder listened patiently and then told him, “If you’ve done all you can to admonish and train your children but they still go astray, it means you are not setting a good example for them to follow.”

Mr. Peter was living a life that contradicted the values he was trying to instill in his children. Despite his lessons on honesty and integrity, he was frequently coming home with ill-gotten gains from his office. His meager salary couldn’t possibly support his luxurious lifestyle, complete with multiple cars and a hefty bank account. His children saw through his hypocrisy, and no amount of lecturing could make them respect values he himself did not uphold.

Mr. Peter’s situation is a microcosm of our government. Governments often try to instill discipline and introduce beneficial policies, but these efforts are undermined when leaders fail to live up to the standards they set for their citizens. No matter how beneficial a policy might be, if leaders are not above reproach, the citizens will not trust or follow them.

When leadership lacks integrity, it leads to a breakdown in societal trust and compliance. Citizens become impatient with policies, and in some cases, deliberately act out in defiance of the government. When this happens, it’s a clear sign that the government needs to reassess its actions and take responsibility. It means that business as usual is no longer acceptable.

Unfortunately, many leaders fail to recognize the signs of impending crisis. They do not see that public resources are depleting and that their continued corruption and extravagance could lead to anarchy. This article serves as a plea for the government to become responsible.

The truth is, leaders cannot uphold principles that they themselves do not adhere to. Societal transformation can only happen if leaders live in accordance with their policies and programs. We have often heard politicians call for citizens to understand the need for austerity, to accept meager salaries, and to endure project delays due to a lack of funds. However, these same politicians live opulent and extravagant lifestyles.

For example, the average Nigerian senator takes home more than 10 million naira a month, with some reports suggesting figures as high as 30 million. They expect citizens who earn as little as 50,000 naira to quietly accept this disparity. It’s like beating a child and expecting them not to cry.

Our leaders need to work towards providing a living wage for citizens. The average government official has a padded lifestyle funded by the public purse. Instead of cutting costs, their remuneration is constantly adjusted upwards to satisfy their insatiable greed.

For government policies to succeed, leaders must lead by example. They must embody the values they wish to see in their citizens. Only then can trust be restored, and societal transformation take place.

The truth is, we all need to adjust to accommodate the season we are in so that our nation can march toward preeminence in the near future. In the jungle, it’s not the strongest that survives, but the animal that can adapt. Similarly, we need to make some adjustments. These changes can help our nation shed the label of a third-world country.

The current season in Nigeria demands that everyone adapt or adjust in one way or another. By doing so, we can navigate this challenging era of hyperinflation and high living costs. Leaders, as the watchdogs of society, must lead by example. If they fail and continue to indulge in greed amidst scarcity, we will inevitably crash sooner or later.

Leadership’s essence is to provide direction to followers, and it’s time for our leaders to exemplify integrity and accountability. While it’s true that one cannot give what they do not have, this should not be an excuse for the cluelessness of our current crop of leaders, which has plagued us for decades. Many of them lack the merit to be called leaders, driven more by a propensity to loot than to lead.

It’s high time citizens began to seek out and support individuals who embody prudence, modesty, discipline, and frugality. We need leaders who, through their upbringing, understand how to live a life of deprivation and honesty.

With such leaders, citizens will naturally learn to defer gratification, adjust, and pave the way for future development. This will happen because they have role models who live by example. Unfortunately, with the current extravagant lifestyle of our leaders, the situation is dire. In time, things will fall apart because the center is already on the verge of breaking.

Let us not forget the purpose of this message: whatever leaders want from their citizens must begin with them. This is the benchmark of responsible leadership. As a note of warning, if we don’t change, the crisis we create over time will change us and humble us to nothingness. We should not wait for the pain of irresponsible leadership to force this change upon us.

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