How to rescue Nigeria from bad leadership, by Jega, Akande, others
If Nigeria would be rescued from the pit of bad leadership, stakeholders must amend the faulty process through which public officials emerge.
This was the submission of former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, and others at the 7th Goddy Jidenma Foundation (GJF) Lecture, held at MUSON Centre, Lagos, yesterday.
The theme of the lecture was: ‘Governance, Insecurity, Poverty and Social-Economic Development in Contemporary Nigeria: Which Way Forward?’
Jega, who was the guest speaker, regretted that 21 years of electoral democracy have not mitigated challenges in the management of diversity or assuaged real and perceived inequities in power relations and fiscal federalism in Nigeria.
He noted that rather than being firmly on a trajectory of consolidation, Nigeria’s democracy is constantly being threatened by-elections without requisite integrity and dangers of authoritarian reversal.
He expressed dismay that as INEC strives to plug the holes of electoral malpractices, by increasing deployment of technology to sanitise voter registration and verification of voters during elections, the elite and undemocratic parties change their tactics to stay a step ahead of the electoral body.
“The reckless politicians obtain their electoral mandates through electoral fraud, such as rigging or vote-buying. Once in governance, they mostly become unapproachable, irresponsible, and indifferent or unresponsive to the needs and aspirations of the electorate.
“They proceed to preside over governance processes and institutions with personal objectives and dispositions. They privatise public treasury, engage in corrupt enrichment, misapply resources, manage policies and programmes incompetently and inefficiently, and mismanage diversity in a federal arrangement, through clients and deliberate exclusion of perceived opponents.” z”
Jega further noted that one of the major challenges occasioned by a combination of poor leadership and bad governance is heightened insecurity. This, he said, is evidenced by the increasing spates of communal, herder-farmer and ethno-religious conflicts.
Chairman of the event, Chief Nike Akande, who described the theme as “germane and relevant”, said there is no better time to look at how governance, across all levels, can engage and set a trajectory for socioeconomic development and restore growth to the Nigeria economy.
Lamenting the country’s lack of good leadership, the Chairman of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees, Prof. Pat Utomi, said: “The two things we should be exporting, which are food and petroleum, are the two things we are importing.”
In her remarks, GJF Founder/Executive Secretary, Dr. Ije Jidenma, said Nigerians are hungry for knowledge and solution to problems that have assailed them for a long time, adding that the Foundation, now in its 14th year, will continue to shape discourse for the attainment of a better country.