Oghenevwede Ohwovoriole writes that a new initiative that focuses on the virtues of good leadership has arrived with the inauguration of the board of the Nigerian Prize for Leadership
A former presidential candidate on the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Prof. Jerry Gana has said that the bane of Nigeria’s development is lack of leadership with capacity and competence. He stated this in Abuja during a meeting with journalists during the inauguration of the board of the Nigerian Prize for Leadership. He said if of the country gets it right with leadership Nigeria would not be where she is today. He also urged the legislature to wake up to its constitutional role of being true representatives of the people and watchdog over the executives.
When asked if the country has ever gotten it right in terms of leadership he said, “Unfortunately we’ve tried but there is so much to be done if we have gotten it right properly over the years we shouldn’t be where we are now. We should have gone far. Nigeria is well endowed with resources; human natural and otherwise. Therefore, people have tried in the past but the high quality leadership that is required in terms of character capacity and competence has been missing. People have tried but we need this on a sustainable basis.”
Prof. Gana urged the legislature; both at the National Assembly and the state Houses of Assembly to live up to expectations by representing the interest of their constituents.
“The member that may be in the Senate, House of Representatives and the state House of Assembly is extremely important that they (members) do their constitutional role; be the watchdogs, should be there for the people to make sure that government governs under the law according to the needs of Nigerians and govern excellently effectively and with transparency and there must also be the obedience to the rule of law.
Democracy and the rule of law go together and therefore you may do whatever projects if you don’t respect the rule of law. You have failed because our constitution is very clear that the security and welfare of the people is the primary purpose of government so that is why that is the first accountability that you govern under the rule of law to deliver projects to the people that will uplift their lives.”
He also advised political parties to use their members in the legislature to hold government to account as this will make government do what the people want and also prevent government from doing only the things they like to do.
“First of all through their members elected to serve in the various houses, either the Senate, the House of Representatives or the state houses of assembly. These members must be used by the parties to make sure that government is held to account. This is very very important. The political parties must not abandon their members. They should give them guidance and support them so that properly members of the various houses would hold the government to account on the programme they have announced to do for the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria this is extremely important. The second apart from that indirect influence is a direct influence of very wisely, soundly and in a manner and language that is appropriate to criticize the policies of government. It is a part of democracy that the opposition must criticise and not just to bring down government, but to really make sure that their policies are sharpened through critical comments. These are the ways I believe a political party should do it. The third is for they themselves to give good leadership to their parties and their communities,” he said.
The members of the governing board of the Nigerian Prize for Leadership includes, Prof. Anya Anya, Chairman, Prof. Jerry Gana, Vice Chairman, Vice Chairman Technical Committee, Prof. Joy Ogwo member, Sen. Ibrahim Ida, member, Prof. Hauwa Ibrahim (Havard University) member, others are Mrs. Dorothy Ufot, SAN member Dr. Ike Neliaku Executive Secretary, John Momoh, member and Hon. Justice James Ogebe former justice of the Supreme Court. While a former Vice Chancellor (2000-2007) of the University of Lagos and the current Vice Chancellor of the Federal University Ndufu Alike Ikwo, Prof. Oyewusi Ibidapo-Obe is the Chairman, technical committee.
The chairman of the governing board said that poor leadership has destroyed the fabrics of our society.
“I will like to reiterate that the enormous damage done to the Federal Republic of Nigeria over the years by poor leadership, without relevant capacity has become incalculable. In fact, the very fabric of our society has been deeply shaken and it could become worse, if urgent actions like this initiative are not taken. Hence, the wisdom and need for such fundamental intervention aimed at refocusing leadership in Nigeria and identifying the strategies for high quality leaders on a sustainable basis.” he said
It is a part of democracy that the opposition must criticise and not just to bring down government, but to really make sure that their policies are sharpened through critical comments. These are the ways I believe a political party should do it.