We have been told for years that corruption is killing Africa!
The focus is always on corruption … eliminate corruption and Africa’s economy will magically grow … eliminate corruption and our students will start building space ships and rockets … eliminate corruption and NEPA will stop taking light (Lol… that one is funny).
So when an article is titled Why Corrupt Leaders Are Not The Real Problem people will probably object and say what else could be more costly, more problematic and more troubling than corruption … especially in Africa.
Imagine this scenario, 2 politicians are each given $10,000,000 to carry out various projects in their community over the period of 4 years. Politician 1 from the NCP the “No Corruption Party” does not steal any money, in fact he is so honest that he goes on annual holy pilgrimages in one holy land, spends only $1,000,000 and leaves behind over $9,000,000 for his successor.
On the other hand, politician 2 from the tongue twisting SST the “Stealing Some Things” party diverts over $2,000,000 of taxpayers money into a Swiss account and uses another $2,000,000 to build a house in his village backyard. And at the end of the day he leaves nothing behind for his successor …
So my question is this, “Who is the better leader?”
On the surface this is an open and shut case of NCP offering up the better and more honest candidate, in fact said NCP politician would win numerous international awards in honesty. But what if I told you that politician 2 the SST man could actually be the better leader? From a religious stand point this is ludicrous. But from an economical stand point which is what matters … politician 2 can actually end up being a better economical bet.
In economics we have a term called opportunity cost, which is the cost of the other option that you could have taken but was not. In Naija words, if you have N50.00 and you decide to buy one gala instead of pure water, your opportunity cost is the 10 satchets of N5.00 pure water that you could have gotten instead.
In the same way there is an opportunity cost for the honesty displayed by the NCP politician … who was so honest that he invested only $1,000,000 in his community
Because the opportunity cost of the $9,000,000 are the potential projects that that money could have been used for such as roads, electricity, water, housing…etc. Plus the cost of the pain and suffering his community people may have gone through in those 4 years simply because he withheld the money for his successor. And the fact that he traveled to the holy land annually on taxpayers money does not help either.
The SST politician on the other hand may have embezzled $4,000,000 but then again he could have invested the remaining $6,000,000 into his community. At the end of the day he would have invested 6 times more to the economical good of his community than his NCP partner and thus his community might be better off if invested properly.
Now I know that the scenario above shows two unlikely extremes, but I want to use it to drive home a point. And that point is this ….
Nigeria and Africa as a whole are not in need of honest leaders, we are not in need of religious leaders, or straight non-homosexual leaders, or leaders without tattoo’s … what we need are competent leaders, people who know how to get the job done.
Sadly the focus is rarely on the incompetence because incompetence is an opportunity cost that is hard to calculate … its an invisible/ignored cost. Unlike corruption which can be tracked in bank accounts, incompetency costs cannot be found in bank accounts rather they are on the streets, in businesses, in delipediated classrooms.
I mean what is the value of not having good roads in a community for 4 years, the cost is high we know, but to compute the actual cost is difficult, we would have to take into account the number of time spent on the bad roads and multiply it by the amount of work each person could have done in that time and then equate it with a dollar value and that’s not even factoring the cost to repair cars damaged by the roads …at the end of the day it is a tough calculation. But if we were able to do the calculation, we would realize that majority of the robbery in Nigeria/Africa does not occur from corruption but rather incompetency.
And as religiously jarring as it is, it is the truth!