The Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Assoc. Prof. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, has charged Nigerians to accord our leaders the respect they deserve, lend them the necessary support, as well as give them the enabling environment and opportunity to succeed.

He stated this while speaking on a radio programme, “Bush House Nigeria”, on Kapital FM 92.9, Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, on the topic, “The Culture of Insulting Politics”, critically examining a situation where Nigerians cast aspersions on their leaders and top government functionaries.

Responding to the anchor person, Mr. Michael Bush’s question on what to do to check this ugly trend in our society, Prof. Ayakoroma informed that the Institute has created a platform, the NICO Annual Public Lecture series, to discuss such issues by making it a quarterly affair from this year.

He stated further that NICO will achieve this mission of correcting the unhealthy trend by inviting people in government – politicians, ministers, governors, heads of ministries, departments and agencies, to interrogate the issues and enlighten Nigerians on their experiences in office, so as to help correct the negative perceptions the citizenry have about people in government, saying it will help check the culture of insulting politics in our society.

While congratulating Nigeria and Nigerians for the 17 years of uninterrupted democratic governance and the present administration’s one year in office, the NICO Chief Executive Officer noted that it is God’s doing for the country to attain this feat because, as he put it, “the government can plan, but it is God who gives the grace for all sectors to succeed”.

Ayakoroma appreciated the Buhari-led government for creating the enabling environment for the country to move forward, where everybody is now ready, doing their best to ensure the administration succeeds and the country develops sustainably – the military doing their own thing, the politicians putting in their best, and the civil service performing in their own capacity, which he noted, is because of the stability in the country, since development cannot take place where there is instability.

According to him, it was wrong for people to have the impression that if they are not in power or in full support of the government in power, then they should do everything possible to ensure that the government in power should not achieve its goals and objectives, citing what he tells his students: “I give serious students the opportunity to pass; while I also give the unserious ones the opportunity to fail”.

In the same vein, he charged Nigerians to give whoever is in power the opportunity to succeed or fail, noting that one year in office is too early a time to judge or rate any administration’s success or failure; adding that the Mid-Term Score Card would be a better time to assess if the government will succeed or not.

He noted that Nigerians are very impatient and the country seems to be in an “instant miracle era”, where everybody wants everything to happen instantly, which is unrealistic, averring: “You can’t judge an administration in just one year because what can an administration do in a year? But in two years, which is like a mid-term score card, you may now know the direction of the change of the administration, whether it is positive or negative; then we can prepare for the resolution or denouement of the administration as is stated in dramatic parlance”.

Speaking on the culture of insulting politics, the astute culture administrator opined that the culture is not Nigerian, totally un-African, and a definite sign of desperation on the part of persons involved in such acts, because when a person is desperate, he/she can do or say anything to justify his/her feelings; but if a person is not desperate, then he/she would not engage in such negative political demeanour.

Prof. Ayakoroma noted that as Nigerians, we all come from various villages, where it is our culture to be our brothers’ keepers, to love our brothers and neighbours; and that in those days, the culture of love for one another was expressed openly, where people did not just take what belonged to another person nor vilify another person for no just cause, as against what obtains nowadays.

He therefore advised Nigerians to be less desperate in their quest to achieve any goal in every strata of their socio-political and economic life; noting that, it is the only way to help check the trend of maligning other persons or painting those in government in very bad light for the purpose of achieving cheap political points.

The NICO ES therefore advised people, especially the younger ones, to go back to the roots and learn from our rich cultural heritage, where elders were seen and regarded as elders; whatever decisions they took, they were given the benefit of doubt, because in the traditional Nigerian and African parlance, “what an elder sees sitting down, a child cannot see even while standing on top of a tree”.

He further charged Nigerians on their responsibility to leaders: trust, guide, direct and re-direct them, where they seem to be going wrong, through positive criticisms and to be ready to endure and wait, because nothing good comes easy; while to our leaders, politicians and elders, he advised refinement in their approach to politics in political campaigns and political engineering, as well as to desist from mud-slinging and be decent in leadership matters in the interest of the public.

Jonathan Nicodemus

Corporate Affairs   

NICO HQ, Abuja