“The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.” - President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Last week, General Muhammadu Buhari re-ignited the issue of overseas medical treatment for government officials when he warned that Nigerians cannot continue going overseas for treatment.
He said, “Nigerians have suffered much going abroad for medical treatment. This is not good for us and it must stop because we can’t afford it again.”
General Buhari is the most guilty of the same problem he warned Nigerians against. He didn’t say how Nigerians including himself who frequent overseas hospitals for treatment suffered, why we can’t afford it, how much it cost the nation yearly, and whether he would no more go overseas for follow up treatment.
Among litany of campaign promises made by General Buhari was that he would not go overseas for treatment. Buhari of all Nigerian presidents - dead or alive - is the most famous patient in London hospital. Nigerians are sick and tired of a president with no faith and confidence in the health system of Nigeria. We are sick and tired of a president who isn’t interested in building 21st Century hospitals in Nigeria for Nigerians. Nigerians can no longer afford Buhari’s frequent and costly overseas hospitalisation!
Integrity is a top attribute of a president. Integrity is consistency of action, value, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcome. For a president, choosing the right regardless of the consequence is the hallmark of integrity.
As a president, General Buhari cannot set policies that he expects Nigerians to live by, and not live by them himself. A president with integrity must tell the truth at all times and Nigerians should be able to recognise falsehood in the president’s statements and actions.
Telling the truth and being honest are key to living with integrity. Abraham Lincoln, the most revered United States President known for integrity, said “Great leadership is a product of a great character. And that is why character matters.”
The president sets the tone. If General Buhari can’t walk the talk on values and ethics, how can he expect Nigerians to conduct themselves with integrity?
Nigerians have lost trust in General Buhari because he has failed to keep his words, making fair decisions, practicing non-judgment, and communicating honestly. The Nigerian people determines how trustworthy their president is based on his ability, his benevolence, and his integrity. The “tone at the top” is critical. This is why the president needs to model and then actively, visibly, reinforce integrity for Nigerians. The president should be responsible for modeling integrity.
General Buhari should be honest and treat Nigerians well. He should hold himself accountable not just his staff, cabinet, or other Nigerians. General Buhari made 30 campaign promises covering socioeconomic and political areas. It’s no surprise that General Buhari is not a promise keeper. General Buhari has a record of consistently breaking his promises in a heartbeat without remorse.
The 30 promises now read like broken chain of promises. Here are some of the promises: He promised he would only rule for one term. He promised to include persons of integrity in his cabinet. He promised to resuscitate the Ajaokuta Steel Company. He promised to establish 109 Special Production and Processing Centers across each senatorial district in Nigeria. He promised to develop six industrial parks in each of the geopolitical zones. He promised to remodel and equip 10,000 schools per year.
General Muhammadu Buhari what happened to these promises? Where is your integrity?