Mediocrity overtakes Graft


I was devastated by Femke’s masterpiece doctrine that mediocrity has overtaken corruption in stalling Nigeria’s development. Femke says Nigeria is the opposite of meritocracy. “Nobody earns by achieving; whether you work in an office, NGO, at a construction site, or in Government”. Performing well is not a requirement, and therefore the hardest thing to do is to strive to do your best, when you know beforehand, that your excellence will not be rewarded; you simply cut corners.

Femke’s tragic and sad truth is that corruption is a less bitter pill than mediocrity. Corruption will not necessarily mean no development. Mediocrity on the other hand is the sworn enemy of development. So Femke is right that corrupt leaders can also sometimes get it right and push development but inept leaders who are also likely to be corrupt , cannot drive development. In Nigeria’s case it is generally acknowledged that our leaders have been corrupt and inept.

Femke’s doctrine is an extension of Chinua Achebe’s eternal truth on Nigeria, in his classic “The Trouble with Nigeria”, where the late Master Writer laid down the diagnosis that “ the trouble with Nigeria is quite simply a failure of leadership”.
Femke’s doctrine also has in the work of Claude Ake.
I reviewed some of Ake’s seminal work on development. Ake argues that the main obstacle to our development is political leadership and a confusion of agendas. As I poured through Ake’s writings, first published in 1995, I was struck that his central theme, that Nigeria suffers from an array of development agendas, often in conflict and never implemented was a result of mediocrity identified by Femke. So Achebe, Ake and now Femke remind us of our unfulfilled potential and that we must get rid of bad leadership and mediocrity. Just note that endless seminars, workshops, conferences etc that produce endless streams of communiqués, manifestoes, declarations, reports are never implemented.

As Plato would say, one of the penalties for refusing to participate is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. So let us participate to get rid of mediocrity.