For Nigeria to move forward and its citizens live meaningful life, educated Nigerians have been called to move in and take over the leadership of the country from the current leadership that has shown lack of preparedness for governance.
Speaking during the maiden annual lecture of ‘Dr. Suleiman Kumo Memorial Lecture’ on the topic, ‘Politics, Development and the Future of Nigeria: the nexus, the worries and the way out’, Former Political adviser to Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Dr. Usman Bugaje, said Nigeria was experiencing a dearth in people oriented leadership because educated Nigerians have allowed the leadership of the country to fall in the hands of those who have nothing to offer.
The front line public analyst and one time National Secretary of the defunct Action Congress spoke as a guest speaker during the lecture organized by the Old Students of Gombe Children and High School in honour of the renowned philanthropist and educationists, Late Dr. Suleiman Kumo, founder of the school.
According to Dr. Bugaje, the reason why Nigeria has not gotten it right and may not get it right, is because the crop of politicians ruling the country now are bereft of the knowledge needed to take the country out of its current sorry state and that educated people unfortunately fold their arms while the country decays.
He regretted that “In the last two decades, our country has seen hopes raised severally and hopes dashed severally”, adding that, “the return to a democratic civilian dispensation in 1999, following a long term spell of military rule, quite naturally, created a lot of relief and raised a lot of hopes”.
He said, “This is reflected in the voter turnout for the 1999 elections (over 50%) and the excitement associated with the return of democracy. Eight years later poverty only doubled, despite the unprecedented oil revenue that accrued to the Nigerian State”.
According to him, “Another four years later, $16b was spent on power without a single increase in one megawatts of electricity and yet no one went to jail. In the last three years or so, we became the country with the largest out of school children and the emerging poverty capital of the world”.
He said, this disappointment with democratic rule was reflected in the increasing frustration and the creeping violence as more people became socially and economically excluded and that despite these signals, the quality of life as well as the standard of governance continued to go down as the country go further down its democratic road”.
Speaking on the way out, Dr. Bugaje said Nigerians must prioritize leadership and educated persons must be at the vanguard of this cause. He also suggested that with the quality of Nigeria’s leadership significantly going down, “we must prioritize competence rather than loyalty which we have often been blind to”.
Suggesting that more educated persons be involved in politics, Dr. Bugaje emphatically said, “There has always been a large pool of professionals and other expertise outside the dungeon of our criminal and violent political culture, but they have always hesitated to move in, less they soil their hands in murky field of politics.
Quoting Plato of Greek antiquity, he said “if one does not go through the pains of being in politics, then one must be prepared to be ruled by someone who is inferior”.
He opined that one of the first tasks of the salvage mission is to bring in clarity in the political discourse and raise it from the current sentimental pedestrian level to rational scientific level where knowledge and competence will be driving governance.
Organizers of the lecture series who spoke through one of the old students, Abdulrahman Aliyu, said the aim of organizing the lecture series was to unite the old students in order to develop the school further.
He said the lecture series which is expected to bring renowned intellectuals to speak on burning national and international issues, would be an umbrella that will bring old students together to benefit from their relationships in terms of mentoring and other development issues.
The occasion witnessed the presence of many old students who are known civil servants, politicians and businessmen among many others. A mini launching was held with the aim of assisting the school. Political party aspirants, royal fathers, State commissioners also graced the occasion.
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