By Kparobo Ehvwubare
Another public enemy that is secretly competing with corruption that has mindlessly crippled us is MEDIOCRITY. We all encounter it everywhere we go in Nigeria but we all endure it and shrug our shoulders and wait a miracle to eradicate it. It is a social danger, a cankerworm we must deal with if we must get development.
I used to think corruption was Nigeria’s biggest problem, but I’m starting to doubt that. Every time I probe into one of the many issues this country is encountering, at the core I find the same phenomenon: the widespread celebration of mediocrity. Unrebuked underachievement seems to be the rule in all facets of society. A government official will build a single but shabby road during his tenure is revered like the next Messiah; and a young woman with no secretarial skills to speak of gets ascended to the oga’s office faster than any of her properly trained colleagues.
At the leadership level, we see mediocrity on all fours. Most heads of government all over the world, head hunt excellent people to reduce tension associated with mediocrity. They look for what Peter Drucker calls “knowledge workers” to improve their scope of reasoning. But not in Nigeria where mediocrities are preferred so that our leaders can manipulate them to do their bidding. Most leaders in my country prefer what Benjamin Disraeli called a “cabinet of mediocrities”. As if he had Nigeria in mind in his comments about Liverpool as recorded in a novel, Coningsby (1844), Disraeli had mused about The Arch-Mediocrity who presided rather than ruled, over this Cabinet of Mediocrities.
Indeed, there have been some “arch-mediocrities in my place, government officials with school certificate are also presiding over a cabinet of mediocrities”. When mediocrities lead mediocrities, what else can we get apart from mega mediocrity?
In my constituency where majority of the young people are celebrating mediocrity, trying to jettison competence in the name of godfatherism. I make to bold to ask here; How long are we (the oppressed) going to be fooled in the name of a dynasty that is not fair to all! Do we need to blame our young people? What went wrong? Did our leaders still fall within the brigades of mediocre or afraid to speak the truth to power?
But there is a sense in which we cannot blame our young people too much. According to an author who specializes in workplace wellness, Mike Martin, we cannot blame our young people for falling into the mediocrity trap. It is a lesson that they have learned from the so-called leaders and only at the leaders model can shift their thinking and behavior. It really does begin with us. If we are going to move back from the brink of mediocrity, we have to think, talk and act as innovative people with technological acumen and we must be angry about this fabric that has eaten deep into our system.
I wonder why we celebrate mediocrity in my constituency despite the massive failure in the time past. As we approach the general elections, it’s time for us to take our destiny in our hands, your decision at the poll would further promote mediocre or reduce mediocrity in our system of governance.
By now, our leaders should take the charge to do better. The search for a better country will continue to be unproductive as long as our leaders fail to guarantee the genuine protection of the interest of the people by promoting competence in all its facets. Our leaders must learn to accept difference of views, opinions, and strategies. Leaders should join the crusader against this public enemy called, mediocrity. Leaders with intent to promote this social vices should be highly resisted in the society.
At this point, we should rebuke the ideal to celebrating mediocrity but rather take the words of Achebe which says, ‘A true patriot will always demand the highest standards of his country and accept nothing but the best’ to heart. As we challenge our leaders, this should serve as a motivation to us as a people to also strive to be better by rejecting mediocrity in the forthcoming general elections.
Our young and energetic youths should take advantage of the various innovations of the nation’s election umpire of one man, one vote to elect competent leaders. Your one vote change the hitherto narrative.
Yes it is possible!
Kparobo Ehvwubare is a social activist writes from Oghara, Delta State. Could be reach @ [email protected] or 07054455869 (SMS only).