By Sam Eyoboka
SENIOR Pastor of Trinity House, Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, has outlined six qualities Nigerians must look out for in choosing right leaders for the country.
Speaking at the annual Honour Nigeria Awards to commemorate the 59th independence anniversary of Nigeria where the church bestowed awards on six Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in different categories, Ighodalo said there is need to celebrate Nigeria because there are still good happenings in the country.
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The late Senator Jonathan Odebiyi who died in 2002 got a post-humous award for his leadership qualities, Prof. Anya Oko Anya, who has distinguished himself for his work in parasitology, was honored in professionalism category, Prof. Bolanle Awe, a feminist and women’s rights activist who has played a significant role in the women’s movement in the country, got the Female Role Model Award.
Other awardees included Sir Kessington Adebukunola Adebutu, Philanthropy Award, Chairman of Air Peace Airlines, Allen Ifechukwu Onyema, Humanitarian Services Award, and Mr. Seun Awobajo, Contribution to Society Award.
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Preaching the sermon entitled, ‘Choosing the right leaders,’ Ighodalo said the Trinity House is very passionate about Nigeria and has been very supportive of distressed people in different spheres of the national life.
According to the 1981 graduate of economics and accounting from the University of Hull, U.K. and a partner at SIAO (a firm of Chartered Accountants and Management Consultants) who also chairs Uni-Courage Web Media Ltd, no Nigerian leader since 1960 has been groomed for office they occupied as done in developed nations.
“One of my campaigns is literacy and knowledge and education of the common man in Nigeria so that they know right from wrong, good from bad; the requirements for leadership are very clear (I Timothy 3)”, he said.
“I was watching a documentary where a man said even war leaders in Europe and America cannot be qualified as leaders in China. Why?
“If you are going to be a leader in China, you start from the ward level where you will be assessed by everybody. When you do well at that level, you go to the local government level and from there you go to the zone and thereon to the state or province where you are expected to control a group of states.
“It’s after you have proven your worth at the different levels before you can offer yourself for national assignment”.
The Senior Pastor explained that it takes about 30 years of intensive grooming to aspire at the Chinese National political scene.
“At the end of such grooming you can effectively tell that it’s just five people who can emerge as the next leader of China because they have all been tried and tested.
“It’s a similar thing in Singapore where you cannot aspire to leadership except you have controlled a company of certain number of employees and you have presided over a financial enterprise of certain category.
“But in Nigeria, our Constitution allows any man from any village to aspire to be President. That cannot happen; where’s your pedigree, where’s your resume? Why is your knowledge?
“What do we need for leadership in Nigeria? Number one: a leader that has led before and has a proven track record of having led a group of people and understands the dynamics of leading people.
“Number two: A leader that has vision. What’s lacking in Nigeria is that we have been blessed with leaders who were not expecting leadership; compromised leaders.
“A lot of them wanted to go to Senate but some people combined efforts and pushed them to the Presidency. Some opted to go to House of Representatives, but people pushed them to become governors. They have no requisite experience. No vision. They don’t know why they found themselves in such offices.
“But in Nigeria today, we have leaders who have no vision. They have no idea where they are taking us to. Our leaders must tell us where they are taking us to. We have leaders today who are not telling us where they are taking us to. We don’t know the directions Nigeria is going; we don’t know their competences. We have parties that are even not parties. No manifesto; no ethos; no policies; no process.
“So what we have are platforms for political leadership. No unity within the party. If you go to Britain, you know what the Conservative Party stands for, you know what the Labour Party stands for; you know what the Democrats stand for. In Nigeria, you don’t know what anybody stands for.
Number three: The person must be disciplined, personal and corporate discipline.
“Number four: The person must have human management skill—-the ability to manage people in a multi-ethnic society as Nigeria and take the right decisions.
“Number five: The person must be hard working and consistent.
Number six: The person must have passion for Nigeria and for the common people of the country a not an interest in himself. A lot of people go into leadership in Nigeria to make money. I am not interested in making money. I am interested in serving the people of Nigeria and making sure Nigeria becomes a better place.
“Some of our leaders don’t have passion for Nigeria; they build houses in their hometowns, UK, Dubai, New York and wasting our commonwealth in other people’s economy.
“There are some economies that will collapse if they didn’t have Nigerian money. There are some economies that will collapse today if they didn’t have Nigerian manpower.
“A lot of our manpower between the ages of 18 and 30 has left Nigeria and they say they are not coming back. Canada, Australia, America are begging our people.
“If you remove Nigerians out of several sectors of the American economy, it will collapse because some of their best doctors, professors, lawyers are Nigerians.
“So, we want to gather these people back to build a greater Nigeria where there is infrastructure, power, education and healthcare. These are the kind of things we need for a leader in Nigeria who must be totally detribalised. We don’t care where you come from, as long as you are capable and competent we are ready for you to lead in this country.
“One of the tragedies of the Nigerian situation is that we celebrate mediocrity, we are nepotistic, we don’t celebrate people who are competent who are able to do things. We do things for the wrong reasons.
“A nation like Israel, they always look for the best from all over the place to come to core of leadership. United Arab Emirates has an awesome vision to develop the country.
“If you read the prince book, My Vision, he says ‘I just want Dubai to work’. A few weeks ago, he appointed a 27-year old boy as Minister for Artificial Intelligence with responsibility to plan for the next 100 years for Dubai.
“In 100 years, the leaders want people in Dubai to be at certain level and will be going to Mars.
So he employed a young boy to be doing that planning, but in Nigeria we are not even planning for tomorrow.
“We are even having difficulties passing our budget because the budget is politicized; the whole thing is politicized and everybody is trying to share national cake. If we bake a big cake, there will be more than enough for everybody to share.
“And we all must get involved in leadership one way or the other because if we all work together we can make Nigeria great”.