By Dapo Akinrefon
NOTABLE Nigerians including former Kaduna State governor, Senator Ahmed Makarfi; former Ogun State governor, Gbenga Daniel; former Anambra State governor, Mr Peter Obi; former Director-General of Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, Mr Dakuku Peterside; former Deputy National Chairman of the PDP, Chief Bode George, Tuesday, warned that failure to address the leadership challenges facing the country could spell doom for Nigeria urging Nigerians to elect leaders who are not only idealistic but realistic during next year’s polls.
They insisted that Nigeria must get the leadership question right during the 2023 general elections.
They spoke at the 4th annual lecture with the theme: Nigeria’s political indices: Bright or bleak future organised by Freedom Online newspaper in Lagos.
We’ve lost the morality to question our leaders–Daniel
Delivering his keynote address titled: Nigeria’s political Indices: Bright or Bleak Future?, a former Ogun State governor, Mr Daniel said with the right decisions and policies, Nigeria can change the narratives and state of the nation.
He said: “Indeed, I can say that the future of Nigeria is bright, as a leader; both in politics and other economic indicators, I cannot admit that our future will ever be bleak. I am an optimist and believe strongly that with the right decisions and policies, we can change the narratives and state of the nation currently to an enviable position within the shortest time possible.
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“For Nigeria to reach its potential, it does not require prayers or fasting. God has done his own work for the country; it is left for us to work to ensure our potentials do not become a liability.”
Besides, he urged Nigerians “to stop dreaming of a better Nigeria and start working towards achieving one. It is not enough to have passion and vision. Without a roadmap dutifully followed, we will never leave the trenches.
“The only way we can leave the trenches is by putting into power individuals who are realists. We don’t need PowerPoint presentations and well-written manifestos that end up in the dustbin of history. We need leadership that, as they say in the mathematical parlance, show workings. Anybody can write and make promises, but we have to be intentional in ensuring that we elect those who know how to bring to life these visions.
“If someone promises to create television, don’t just clap; ask the person questions on how they intend to do that.
But again, we would have lost the morality to question our leaders properly if we continued to indulge the menace threatening our democracy: vote-buying.
“It is impossible to sell an item and still wish to dictate to the buyer how to use it.
“Nigerians have to realise that the only way to see a developed Nigeria is to ensure that they vote with their brain and not their stomach. A night with hunger is far better than four years of pain and struggle.
“The next election offers us an opportunity to rewrite the destiny of this country. The decision we make next year will be with us for arguably eight years. That’s long enough to make the country better or make it worse.”
We must address our challenges –Makarfi
In his remarks, the chairman of the event, Senator Markafi, warned that failure to address the challenges facing the country may have consequences on the country.
He, therefore, urged Nigerians to vote wisely for good leaders who will take care of the problems facing the country in 2023.
He said: “The summary of what I have heard is that all the speakers agree that we have challenges and we must ensure that those challenges are solved. Because of the division we have, the fabric holding us together is getting thinner every day. Whoever will be president of Nigeria in 2023, must ensure unity and form a government of national unity. There is hope for Nigeria but a lot of work must be done.”
We’re battling with cumulative leadership failure—Peter Obi
In his submission, former Anambra Governor, Mr Peter Obi expressed worry that Nigeria has all indices of a failed state noting that the country suffers from cumulative leadership failure.
Obi said: “We have all the indices of a failed state. What we are experiencing today is a cumulative of leadership failure. We are facing an uncertain future. We have everything but we lack leadership, everything can be destroyed by poor leadership which is the problem of Nigeria. The quality of leadership is poor and the selection process of the leadership is also poor. We have a divided country but we need a leader that can bring Nigerians together.”
We need unity of vision and purpose—Peterside
Also speaking, former NIMASA DG, Dr Peterside urged Nigerians to learn from history and should focus less on events of yesterday and focus on the future.
He said: “We often focus on yesterday and pay little emphasis on the future. Nigeria needs unity of vision and purpose. Nigerians don’t have a vision that unifies us as a nation, but we only have an individual vision, we should elect leaders who are not realistic but idealistic.”
There is hope for Nigeria—Bode George
On his part, former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Bode George, who was represented by Prince Uthman Shodipe said there is hope for Nigeria so far right-thinking Nigerians do not keep quiet in saying the truth.
He said: “Nigeria is of course not there yet. But there is a beginning, though wobbly.
“Nigeria is not yet a nation in the classical sense. It is a country still grappling with survival.
“Surely Nigeria has severe challenges and searing crucibles just like all inchoate states grasping with nationhood, struggling with the firmness of national existence.
Truly, there are clear illustrations of despair. There are desperate moments that query the sustainability and the endurance of the Nigerian union. Things are not the way they should be. We live in a state of anomie where truth is scarce, where logic is unknown.
“The throbbing indications of rudderless straying as observable in banditry, in urban terrorism, in primitive ritualistic values and other ills are enough for many patriots to give up on our survival as a nation.
“Despite all these provocations, alas, this is not my recourse. I will never be halted in hopeless capitulation. I will never resign to the hurried claim of forfeiture and ruin.
“However, I do really believe that we can get it right. I do believe Nigeria is salvageable. I do believe our nation’s ultimate redeeming progression inheres in our ability to give every section of our society a sense of belonging in the larger Nigerian space.
“There will always be flaws. There will always be moments of uncertainty.
Yes, our country has its ills. But it has not failed. And it will not fail as long as good men and women are willing to rise up to defend the Truth, to speak against observable wrongs and dare the odds and defy the tools of power to ensure that Justice is the pivotal guidance upon our shore.
“I will not give up on Nigeria. I will only insist that the wielders of power should be just, should be fair and should be ultimately humbled by the finitude of their positions and the ephemeral certitude of our presence on this Mother Earth. This nation will not, should not and must not fail. Like all other nations before us, we will thrive, we will endure and we will triumph beyond the current stormy tides.”
In his contribution, the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yoruba land, Gani Adams said the restructuring of the country is the only solution to the problems facing us as a nation.
He maintained that the problems facing the country needed to be solved before “we talk of the 2023 general elections.”