By Eric Elezuo
The Africa Leadership Group, in conjunction with its counterpart, the Nigeria Leadership Series, has held a press conference, where it itemised protocols to aggregate ideas, coordinate the masses towards taking their future into their own hands and establishing a more worthwhile government.
The event which took place at the Zion Centre inside the magnificent Trinity House, was a gathering of prolific social activists and commentators including a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Yemi Candide-Johnson, Aisha W. Umar, public speaker, Faruq Abass, Jonathan Yusuf Pam and the Convener, who is also the Presiding Pastor of Trinity House, Ituah Ighodalo.
Kick starting the event, which focused on the State of the Nation and Way Forward, the moderator explained that the public engagement interaction, which is the first in the series, like the agenda of the group, focused on finding how to get the right kind of leadership in African countries, starting with Nigeria and finding ways of getting present and sitting leaders to perform better by interrogating and offering leadership counsel and advice to sitting leaders.
Speaking on Leadership and Constitutional Reforms, the Senior Partner at Strachan Partners, Yemi Candide-Johnson, noted that the constitution has a great role in producing great leaders with greater achievements, adding that where the constitution is flawed there is every tendency that leaders and leadership will not be in the interest of the masses.
Candide-Johnson stressed that in the Nigerian situation, the constitution needs urgent reforms even as a good number of people have registered their displeasure with the current dispensation.
Lending his voice on the topic, Youth in Leadership and Electoral Reform, Managing Partner, Abdul Salaam & Co., Mr. Abdul Faruq called on the youths of the nation to rise to the occasion, and strive to take back the country from the current leaders, who have done harm than good he frowned at situation where in over 90 per cent of administrative positions are positions are occupied by the elderly with none less than 40.
He cautioned the Independent National Electoral against further postponement of the voter registration exercise, and demanded transparency in the recruitment of adhoc staff for every election, especially as 2013 elections are around the corner.
Some of his other calls include: that INEC should ensure transfer of voter’s card within 14 days of application, early release of guidelines to voters, passage of Electoral law by the National Assembly before June 2021, and release of funds to INEC at least 180 days before the election.
Abass also called on the youths to ensure they ensure to register where it is convenient for them to vote, frowning at the situation where most youths register where they found opportunity, and not where they can vote.
“There is no need for a student to register in their school when they know they won’t be there during election, nor a staff to register somewhere close to his office when the office will not be open on the day of election. Register where you know, and where you are known. we can change leadership easily by challenging those riggers with the ballot,” he said.
Speaking via zoom on the topic Women in Leadership and Politics, Mrs. Aisha Umar, lamented that a group of people has hijacked the democratic process, leading to a situation of where the concept of a free society has been suspended.
She added that much as women form over 50 per cent of the population, the gender has been totally excluded from politics, and this affects economic process.
On his part, Mr Pam, dealing with The Question of the Middle Belt, informed that agitation of the Middle Belt region is genuine, and identified that incompetency in leadership is the major problem of Nigeria. He observed that the case of incompetency is not the exclusive of this present administration, but is dated back in time, calling for the political system to go through a random transformation.
In his state of the nation address, Pastor Ighodalo refrained from speaking on the challenges, which according to him were enormous, but on the solutions.
“There is no controversy about the series of symptoms of state failure and state collapse in nigeria, the point of debate remains the extent of state’s incapacity displayed by the Federal Government and various states in the country,” Ighodalo noted.
Heaping major blames on the government of the day led by President Muhammadu Buhari, Ighodao informed that ‘our politics is broken’, ‘our economic philosophy is ill-defined if not totally confusing’, ‘anarchy appears to be enveloping the country’, and that ‘no one is safe among many of his expositions.
He said Buhari appears to be the major reason for the present insecurity because he has refused to do what he should do to stem the tide.
“The way Nigeria is right now is not working. A sensible thing is to course correct and save Nigeria from shipwreck,” he suggested.
In his submission, he called for all to work hard at changing the personality, character, attitude and the mind of the average Nigerian.
He further said told the Nigerian public, especially the INEC that enough is enough, and time to demand and determine certain things, is now, adding that it is also time to hold people to account and put the Nigerian resources in the right places.
While asking everyone to think trans-generationally, Ighodalo also looked at the direction of the pastors in the present Nigeria brouhaha, saying that most of them are too busy thinking about themselves, and need to speak with one voice against corruption.
The Leadership series will hold from time to time to speak on topical issues in the polity and society at large.