August 7, 2020

Effective electoral system necessary for healthy democracy — Jerry Gana


Vice-Chairman of Nigerian Prize for Leadership, NPL, and four-time minister, Professor Jerry Gana, has said the country has credible leaders but has a problem with the selection and electoral processes involved in bringing up leaders.

He noted that “the processes of leadership emergence in Nigeria is an extremely remote area we have to look into to redefine, reform, refurbish and put in place new systems to ensure the electoral processes are credible to bring the best leadership.”

He said this at NPL’s 3rd National Leadership Dialogue Series, entitled “Rethinking Leadership: Focus on competence, governance and impact on society,” at a webinar to proffer solutions to the leadership deficit in the nation.

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According to him, “if we fail to reform the electoral system, our democracy may become meaningless and irrelevant. The effectiveness of the electoral system of a nation is central to the good health of that democracy.

“Hence this requires very serious attention and we hope the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, can achieve this mandate.”

Gana, who was the guest speaker, stressed the need to develop sound programmes where leaders can acquire relevant skills, adding that they should be humble enough to learn.

On his part, Chairman, technical team of experts and former Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos, Professor Oye Ibidapo-Obe, noted that Nigeria is not short of leaders, but many are not ready to get their hands soiled for a reputational advantage, hence there must be a mechanism from the “burdened elders” to support and encourage the younger generation.

While relating culture and leadership, he said that schools used to teach that there is beauty in diversity and students told to embrace other people’s cultures.

He said: “It is no longer the case today, as universities have lost their universality to become village centres.

“We need to have fundamental restructuring in terms of what universities should have and we need to work on emerging leaders to handle this.”

The Founder of Women in Successful Careers, WISCAR, Amina Oyagbola, advised that “we need to look away from the concept of sharing the national cake to building institutions and systems that work.

“We need merit-based systems that harp on capacity and ensure no one is left behind, which should include women in politics that have been dominated by men.

“Women make up 50 percent of the population and have proven to manage the COVID-19 pandemic situation better and this is evident in countries led by women.”

For Executive Secretary of the NPL, Dr. Ike Neliaku, the platform will provide the leadership competencies the nation needs, just as many leadership experts have argued that the basis of leadership is competence, else one cannot exhume the confidence to lead.

Student’s representative and President, National Association of Nigerian Students, Danielson Akpan, enjoined worthy leaders to make themselves available to mentor those who want to serve.