By Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu
Nigeria’s former Ambassador to the United States of America, Prof. George Obiozor yesterday canvassed for the restructuring of the nation’s body politic “in order to effectively contain the adverse effects on efforts towards nation building, na- tional integration and national development.” Obiozor, who was speaking at the second edition of “The Big Ideas Podium”, a policy debate organised by the African Heritage Institution in Enugu, with the theme “Towards a New Leadership for a Broken Nation”, lamented that no generation of leaders, military or civilian, had been able to create an atmosphere of credibility to ensure Nigeria’s claim to a political future as a nation.
The former Ambassador who spoke on the topic, “the Imperative of National Crossroad Leadership”, said, “none has been to evolve a unifying national ideology that was embraced by fellow political elites or by the entire Nigerian populace across the country”. According to Obiozor, within 56 years of the country’s exis- tence, three systems of govern- ment, parliamentary, military and presidential, have failed to solve the country’s national leadership problem or guarantee the nation’s long term existence as a nation.
“Instead, Nigeria continues to be a country of relatively acceptable past, a troubled present and an uncertain or doubtful future. In fact, ours is a country whose past is better than its present and the future is a guessing game at the national and international levels. “We must reform, restructure or perish the idea of one Nigeria surviving the present critical challenges. This too, can be averted by a dynamic leader- ship that can although too late, change the course of Nigerian history by doing what is right which is the implementation of the 2014 National Conference report,” he remarked. Former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, who was also at the event, remarked that the nation was at present at a crossroads and requires transformative ideas to pull it back on track in view of the numerous problems confronting it.
The former CBN Governor, who spoke to newsmen at the sidelines of the event, noted that the nation had never been more divided anytime in its history than now, stressing therefore that the search for The Big Ideas to help in the transformation process that will be able to leapfrog the process of development had begun. “Big ideas rule the world. Nigeria is a project, a work in progress, the African continent is work in progress and it is only big ideas, ideas that work, good ideas that any nation or continent or economy has been built or political structure has been transformed. “Nigeria is at a crossroads. We’ve been ranked one of the most fragile states in the world and there are nationality questions. We are in search for the big ideas that will really get the country transformed not just from point A to B but to be able to leapfrog the process of development to be able to claim its rightful place in the comity of nations and fulfil its manifest destiny. “So, its only big ideas that can do so. Today, on the Big Ideas Podium, Prof. Obiozor has articulated on what we have and how we can bring about the new leadership for a broken nation.
“We are looking for out of the ordinary ideas, the missing links. What are those things we are missing and what are those new things that we need to put in place? The ideas canvassed today by our resource persons and all the eminent scholars and statesmen, put together, will contribute to building a new, stable and prosperous nation,” he said. Other speakers at the forum were the former Director General of the National Ori- entation Agency (NOA), Prof Elochukwu Amucheazi and Head, Department of Political Science, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Prof. Aloy Okolie.