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Dogara decries godfatherism in Nigeria’s politics, cautions young lawmakers


Yakubu Dogara

Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has decried the influence of godfathers in Nigeria’s politics.

Speaking in Abuja yesterday at a conference organised by the #NotTooYoungToRun Movement and YIAGA Africa for young lawmakers at both the national and state levels, he said it behoves up-and-coming politicians to free themselves from the negative influence of godfathers while contributing their quota to national development.

Dogara urged the lawmakers to live up to the wishes and aspirations of their constituents.

“Character means that you cannot be separated from your word; a quality no godfather in history has ever possessed. It is not only that your word is your bond, but that you are actually what you pretend to be. While godfathers always pretend to be something other than who they really are, leaders do not.

“Unfortunately, the leadership model we have practised so far is the kind that produces sycophants who are expected to serve their political godfathers and not the people,” he said.

The speaker also warned the newly-elected lawmakers that they would ultimately pay at the polls, if they fail to stay connected to the grassroots and those who yielded their mandates to them.

According to him, Nigerian voters are becoming increasingly aware of the power of the ballot, and they demonstrated it in some states where votes truly counted.

He said: “My home state of Bauchi is one such place where the people taught an incumbent that arrogance of power is fatal. You can imagine a situation where a governor would refer to the votes of a whole constituency as insignificant. But in the end, it was the ‘insignificant votes’ that ended his driving desire to return to office.”

Noting that Nigeria’s real disease was lack of leadership, the lawmaker said: “I disagree with all those who say that our major national disease is financial corruption; rather the real disease has been the absence of true leadership, which in turn breads moral corruption and wickedness. Get a true leader that solves moral corruption and wickedness, and you will search for financial corruption to no avail.”

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