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We need to get politics right to make Nigeria work, says Adamolekun

By Muyiwa Adeyemi (Politics Editor) and Oluwaseun Akingboye (Akure)
21 July 2022   |   3:39 am
Former World Bank Public Sector Management specialist and leading Public Administration Scholar in Africa, Prof. Ladipo Adamolekun, has reiterated the need to re-engineer Nigerian politics for optimal performance.

Prof. Ladipo Adamolekun

• Urges Nigerians not to vote past military leaders
• Seeks administrative, professional reforms

Former World Bank Public Sector Management specialist and leading Public Administration Scholar in Africa, Prof. Ladipo Adamolekun, has reiterated the need to re-engineer Nigerian politics for optimal performance.

He posited that political parties, as a matter of policy, should desist from adopting former military leaders as party leaders or be elected into any position in the country.

According to him, the two recycled military leaders that have served as presidents during the post-1999 era have demonstrated clearly that military culture trumps democratic culture, hence a ‘civilianised’ Nigerian military leader cannot be a democrat.’

The analyst spoke yesterday in Akure at a press conference and discussion of his monograph, titled: “Nigeria and I: Getting politics right to make Nigeria work,” to celebrate his 80th birthday.

Adamolekun, who said that bad politics had engendered a lot of misfortunes on the citizens, listed three critical ingredients for getting politics right to include a devolved federation; good democratic practice and administrative competence.

He said that a major reason Nigeria is not working was because we had maintained a unitary federalism oxymoron inherited from the military at the inception of civilian rule in 1999.

“Nigeria needs to urgently adopt and function as a devolved federal system. This political system will have the following defining characteristics: six federating units; assignment of functions between the central government and the federating units based on principle of subsidiarity,” he said.

This, he said, is “similar to a considerable extent, to the assignment of functions in the country’s 1963 Constitution; and allocation of resources that is consistent with both the imperative of fiscal federalism and the proposed increased functions for subnational governments.”

The former Dean of the Faculty of Administration and Professor of Public Administration, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, said there should be improvement on electoral legitimacy, rule of law, party system, among others.

He said: “Nigeria needs a development-oriented political leader, one under whose watch the country can begin to record steady progress in growing the economy, reducing poverty, assuring security and moving towards prosperity for all the citizens.

“This would be a leader who, at the end of his/her tenure, would be competitive for the Mo Ibrahim Africa Leadership Prize that was established in 2007.

“To the imperative of development-orientation, I would add four essential leadership attributes to the characteristics of the political leaders that would make Nigeria work: integrity, intelligence, competence and vision.”

Adamolekun expressed pessimism that the present scenario and condition of politics and administration in the country could not birth the desires change, saying: “The three possible future scenarios that I had envisaged for the country in Whither Nigeria? Directions for Future Development (2012) remain pertinent today.

“To achieve the ‘optimistic scenario’ that I desire for our youths within the next quarter-century or earlier, it is important for political leaders at both the central and sub-national levels to adopt and implement a devolved federal system and commit, in word and in deed, to good democratic practice, combined with administrative competence.”

The book reviewer, Prof. Wale Adebanwi, Presidential Penny Compact, Professor of Africa Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, USA, described the monograph as “the problem of Meritocracy.”

Adebanwi lauded the tenacity of the celebrant to proffering lasting solutions to the myraids of problems facing the nation.

The Chairman of the occasion and General Manager/Editor-in-Chief, Vanguard Media Ltd, Mr Gbenga Adefaye, noted that the country is not deprived of lofty ideas and intellects like Prof. Adamolekun to take the nation to lofty heights.

Adefaye, who is also the Provost, Nigeria Institute of Journalism (NIJ), however, lamented that the nation is not listening to voice of reasons and wisdom from intellects and acedemics, adding that the celebrant is not despondent about Nigeria.

Also present at the event was a seasoned journalist, Mr. Dare Babarinsa, Prof. Mobolaji Aluko, a Professor of Chemical Engineering and pioneer Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University Otuoke in Bayelsa State; Dr. Theo Abbah, Dr Femi Oguntuase.

Others were: Prof Adele Jinadu, Prof Kemi Rotimi; Prof Niyi Akinaso, the celebrant’s wife and daughter: Jumoke and Yemi Adamolekun, Prof Isaac Obaze, students from Fiwasaye and Oyemekun grammar schools, Akure, among others.

All the discussants agreed with the celebrant that the country should be properly restructured, urging professionals in every field of human endeavours to harp service delivery on integrity, intelligence, competence and vision.