ByÂ Chris Ochayi & Samuel Orji
Former Military President andÂ presidential hopeful, General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd), said, Tuesday, that the most challenging problem of the nation is leadership, warning that the time to get it correctly is now.
Gen. Babangida, who spoke as a special guest at a two-day international conference on â€œPolitical stability and democratic imperatives in a dynamic international environment,â€ at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, also blamed our leaders for paying more attention to issues of religion and ethnic above national interest.
Eminent persons who attended the conference, organised by the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, NIPSS, Kuru, Jos, included, former Senate President, Senator Ken Nnamani; ex-Speaker, House of Representatives, Alhaji Bello Masari; Chairman, EFCC, Mrs. Farida Waziri, Senator Stella Omu, Major-General Paul Omu, Women Affairs Minister, Mrs. Josephine Anenih and ex-World Court Judge, Prince Bola Ajibola, among others.
According to Babangida, â€œleadership is the most important element in need to building a nation. Nigerian politicians must demonstrate the seriousness of purpose needed to build a virile nation.â€
He added, â€œfor now, there is still too much emphasis on religion and ethnic origin and little respect for merit and competence,â€ noting, â€œour country needs clear-headed public-spirited leaders at every level to propel this country to a higher stage of development than is presently the case.â€
IBB,Â who was represented by a former Chief of Army Staff, Major-General Anwar Kazir (rtd), argued, â€œpolitical stability of our democracy does not mean the stability of the power of those elected to serve us.
â€œThere can only be political stability in a democracy if those freely elected rule in accordance with the rule of law as enshrined in the constitution.
“Nigeria is still a state in evolution. It needs commitment on the part of the political leadership to do the right thing for the people and to put national interest above self, sectarian and ethnic interest,â€ he said.
â€œIf we have the right calibre of people at the helm of affairs then it will be much easier to practice democracy in truth and indeed.
Ajibola advises Iwu to resign honourably
In his lecture, Ajibola advised the embattled Chairman of theÂ Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Maurice Iwu, to resign honourably from office.
â€œIn my view, if I were Prof. Maurice Iwu, I would honourably resign my appointment as INEC Chairman.â€
He said, â€œin essence, a democratic setting presumes an atmosphere where elections are free and fair; where legislative seats held by a party are as a result of votes received from the most recent elections and not as a result of cross-carpeting.”
Ajibola, while demanding for genuine electoral reform, said, â€œwe should avoid a mockery of another election.
He said, â€œlet me quickly chip it in here that as we have proclaimed to the world that we are embarking on electoral reforms, we should conclude that process honourably by fashioning out a more credible system from the recommendations of the Justice Uwais Panel.
â€œOtherwise the efforts of that panel would have amounted to another waste, not only of resources but more importantly of time,â€ he said.
In his address, NIPPS Director-General, Prof.Â Danfulani Ahmed, said the conference marked the opening of another window of intervention aimed atÂ assisting to shape the nation’s resolute march to greater destiny.