Hon. Aminu Tambuwal
Chuks Okocha and Onyebuchi Ezeigbo in Abujaâ€¨
House of Representatives Speaker, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, yesterday decried the condescending attitude of elected government officials towards the electorate, especially after elections.
Tambuwal, who spoke along with the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Rev. Father Matthew Kukah and human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), among others at the 10th edition of Daily Trust Dialogue in Abuja, lamented the decay in governance in Nigeria.
He attributed the leadership crisis in the country to how the leaders treat the people after elections, which he said had created the trust gap between the people and those in power.
“This fact is common knowledge. But since we are talking about the reality of nation building, we must agree that more often than not, we leaders behave as if the people owed us rather than the other way round.
“Once we get power, we become selfish and arrogant and forget that we are servants of the people and not masters of the universe. This is the fundamental cause of our leadership crisis. Although, we see daily proofs that power is transient, it has not tempered our predisposition to misuse the opportunities we have and to squander the public’s goodwill on the altar of greed.
“Perhaps as the system gets perfected, the reality that leadership is stewardship will become clearer and those of us entrusted with power will learn to be more circumspect in the way we use it,” the speaker said.
He explained that there was nothing so spectacular about the Nigerian federation or the conflicts that it has engendered, stating however that what matters most is the ability to see beyond the differences among its people.
He recommended dialogue to tackle the crisis of Nigeria, explaining that that was why the National Assembly embarked on the constitution amendment.
“We believe that unless we fashion out a document that better reflects the reality on ground, our hope for a more perfect union cannot be realised,” he added.
In his contribution, Falana wondered when Nigeria would be able to achieve an electoral system as good as that of United States of America that made it possible for President Barack Obama, an African-American from a minority base, to occupy the White House.
Falana warned of an imminent civil unrest that could dwarf that of last year’s nationwide demonstration if nothing was done to address the rising unemployment and poverty in the land.
However, Kukah disagreed with Falana’s allusion to a possible revolution, saying that it is better to engage in continuous dialogue than to resort to civil disobedience.
“A great thing about Nigeria is that even when people are saying there will be revolution, I can tell you quite frankly, that no revolution is going to take place in Nigeria. What is happening in the country is that there is very little thinking going on. Another problem is our inability to appreciate areas of our collective strength, “he said.
The Cleric said one of the problems besetting Nigeria, was the way its leaders emerge, adding that most of the country’s presidents and heads of state came into office by accident without proper leadership training and orientation.
He disagreed with the calls for a constitution conference, saying it may not just be the answer to the country’s problems because at the end the day, there will still be disagreements.