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Don’t vote leaders you can’t trust with state resources – Ezekwesili’s group

By Sodiq Omolaoye, Abuja
08 October 2022   |   5:21 am
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the School of Politics, Policy and Governance (SPPG) founded by former Minister of Education, Obiageli Ezekwesili, has urged Nigerians to elect only leaders they could trust with state resources.

Dr. Oby Ezekwesili PHOTO:Getty Images

Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the School of Politics, Policy and Governance (SPPG) founded by former Minister of Education, Obiageli Ezekwesili, has urged Nigerians to elect only leaders they could trust with state resources. 

The institution, which lamented the increasing leadership deficit in the country, said the 2023 poll is a critical to rescuing Nigeria from its current challenges. 

Addressing journalists in Abuja on Friday, at the launch of the alumni association of the school, Chief Executive Officer of SPPG, Alero Ayida-Otobo, said competence, character and capacity should be the defining qualities of leadership. 

She said: “The most important thing right now is to use criteria based on three things. One is can the person solve the problems on ground? Are they knowledgeable? Can people trust him or her with money? Governance is about using state resources judiciously and then, we should ask if the person has the track record to use resources judiciously and implement projects that would benefits the people. 

“We must ask ourselves if we are interested in rescuing the nation from the current challenges. We must educate the man on the street, who allows money politics to work on the need to change the narrative. Yes, money is needed to run elections in any part of the world, but that should be money to run the system not to bribe the people.”

If we are to change the way things are done then we need to pay the price. 

“If we look at the current situation, something seems to be changing. People are being activated. Today, they can be Obi-dient or any other name. What that movement is saying is we have had enough. And we better have enough. Many times I wonder how people even survive. We have to push the narrative that enough is enough and that we are tired.”

While noting that the country’s leadership recruitment process is faulty, Ayida-Otobo said it was a major factor that has retarded Nigeria’s progress for some time now. 

She added that for the nation to move forward, the culture of extreme monetisation of the political processes by some political actors must stop.

Speaking on the idea behind the establishment of the institution, Ayida-Otobo said with the growing needs around Africa for quality leadership particularly in Nigeria, the SPPG was determined to bridge the gaps experienced in these areas. 

According to her, the institution is an unconventional school of the research-anchored #FixPolitics initiative which was designed to transform the quality of political and public leadership in Nigeria and the rest of Africa. 

She said the SPPG has a continental focus and commenced in Nigeria in 2020 with expansion plans into Senegal in 2023, as the first step before six other countries.

“As a continent, we are having leadership gap in three areas which are character, competence, and capacity. If you’ve worked for a government official before, and you have the misfortune of working for a commissioner or a minister that is not very effective, that can be a very painful experience for various reasons; they’re not able to do it. So, that gap of competence is a real gap. And then, the third pillar of democracy is the constitutional and electoral framework, which we are also trying to improve upon,” she added. 

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