By Laja Thomas
LAGOSâ€”AS the general elections approach, a pressure group, Nigeria Renaissance Group, NRG, has urged Nigerians to focus on issues that will ensure the emergence of a credible and dynamic leadership in 2011 rather than on the personality.
The group in a statement by its convener and secretary, Bayo Adefila and Cletus Nnaji respectively, said â€œthe declaration of General Ibrahim Babangida for the presidency has generated debates for and against from well meaning Nigerians.
As people with stern democratic background, we are impressed and encouraged by the very rich debates from those who have either endorsed or kicked against IBB Presidential ambition. The import of the debate so far is that Nigerians are now alive to the responsibility of active participation in the political processes.
â€œHowever, the NRG, being a group that firmly believes in the sanctity of issue-based debate in the quest for credible leadership, is worried about a subtle attempt by entrenched interests in certain quarters to reduce the entire debate about IBBâ€™s candidacy to personality rumble.”
â€œWhile it may not be wrong to look at the personal character of aspiring leaders, the issues must of course be generally appraised, with past contributions to national development as key consideration.
Also, the ability of the aspirants, both mental and intellectual, in steering the ship of state must be placed above and beyond petty debates about personal foibles in the past or at present.
â€œAs the debate on IBB ambition continues to rage, NRG want Nigerians to be broad minded in appraising the essential attributes of leadership rather than reduce the debate to personal attacks.
The NRG wishes to caution Nigerians that 2011 election must be decided on the strength of capacity and proven credentials to deliver rather than harping on emotion that would only hoodwink our people and further plunge the nation into the wilderness of leadership crisis.
According to the group, â€œWe see nothing wrong with the recent statement credited to IBB that he is returning to ensure that younger generation steer the ship of the nation aright.
We recall that American democracy reputed as the foremost in the world has had the experience of benefitting from the wisdom and proven track records of past leaders; even with military background.
We would rather hold IBB accountable on this promise rather than dismiss his bid to legitimately vie for the president of Nigeriaâ€, the statement said.