James Ogunnaike – Abeokuta
Former Nigerian Ambassador to The Netherlands, Mrs. Tokunbo Awolowo-Dosunmu called on Nigerians to elect people into political offices base on merit and competence, saying that this will ensure the country attained desired development and growth.
Awolowo-Dosunmu, who made the call at a virtual national dialogue, organised by the Political Leadership and Training Institute (POLA) of former Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel in Sagamu, said until this is done, the country would continue to be ruled by mediocre and selfish leaders who are only concerned about their personal interest against the interest of the people
The national dialogue was with the theme: “Understanding Contemporary Nigeria”.
She said that Nigerians should ensure that the right persons are voted into positions of leadership for the country to attain desired development.
The former Ambassador to The Netherland the country would not progress if leaders are elected based on their political strength, influence, economic power, and popularity rather than on merit and ability to lead the people.
While citing the example of Singapore, Awolowo-Dosunmu advocated for meritocracy in place of the Federal character, lamenting that the present system of government had only succeeded in promoting corruption, nepotism, and ethnicity instead of fostering unity among the people.
She opined that the government had further widened the gap between the rich and the poor and promoted a corrupt system that enriches the political class and the elites.
She urged Nigerians to elect leaders who are not only honest but also “the best in every position in government or in public life, leaders who will do whatever is best for the country at any given opportunity.”
Her words, “Any nation requires a consensus about where they want to go. Without a consensus, then we can’t even begin. In the first republic, our founding fathers do have a consensus of the sort. They were united on their zeal to serve the people and when occasions arouse they forged a common front in order to serve their people better.
“The most important is that they hard a consensus on the kind of structure of governance that was suitable for a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural country like Nigeria. It was a consensus that federalism was the best.
“But somehow along the road we have lost our way and that is what I believe we should be interrogating now. What do we need to do?
“We need to have a consensus about what kind of leaders we need in this country. What kind of governance do we need?
“The best kind of governance is the one that stresses the responsibilities of the ruler to the subject. The aim of a good government is the welfare of the entire people under its jurisdiction.
“The duty of a good government is clear. It is not opened to the government to prefer the members of its own hierarchy in the provision of amenities. We need to agree on the kind of government we want”, she said.
Speaking on the topic “What Unites Us?”, the guest speaker, Dr. Abdul Jhalil Tafawa Balewa, noted that Nigeria does not lack in intellectuals who are willing and eager to contribute their quota to the development of the country.
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Balewa, a Presidential aspirant in the 2019 general election called for a radical change in the electioneering process of the country, arguing that the current system had only succeeded in aiding corrupt individuals who have unhindered access to power.
In his remarks, the Chancellor of POLA, Otunba Gbenga Daniel charged the youths to be actively involved in the political process of the country.
He said, “The youths seem to be contented with entertainment and all sorts of mundane things. When you look at the demographic of Nigeria, you will find out that the young elements have the population and if you have the population, what is wrong with you?
“I think the focus now should be on the young elements. Youths need to be very active, proactive, and get involved in the political process”, Daniel added.
Other speakers at the event included: former Governor of Niger State, Muazu Babaginda Aliu, former Governor of Anambra State, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, former Political Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Political Matters, Dr. Akilu Sani Indabawa, and former Minister of Water Resources, Alhaji Muktar Shagari, among others.