The Speaker of the House of Representative, Yakubu Dogara, recently stated that the problem experienced by Nigeria is not corruption but lack of leadership.
Dogara stated this on Tuesday at a conference tagged “The Convergence 2.0: Leadership, Power, and Politics for Democracy Renewal”, Nigeria’s largest gathering of elected young representatives, organised by the Not-Too-Young-To-Run Movement.
The Speaker in his statement claimed that the country is faced with a lot of challenges, ranging from being ranked as the third most dangerous countries of the world to terrorism, banditry, unemployment, the dearth of healthcare facilities, among others.
Dogara stated that its a call on the youths who were elected into parliament in the just-concluded elections to use their strength and population to build the country.
“Nigeria’s real disease is lack of leadership; I disagree with all those who say our major national disease is financial corruption, rather, the real disease has been the absence of true leadership.”
“This in turn breads moral corruption and wickedness.”
“Get a true leader that solves moral corruption and wickedness; when that happens, you will search for financial corruption to no avail.”
“Unfortunately, the leadership model we have practiced so far is the kind of leadership that produces sycophants who are expected to serve their political godfathers and not the people.”
“Our so-called leaders have mastered the art of political witchcraft so much so that if you are independent minded you are automatically disqualified.”
“If for any reason you are picked then you have to surrender your soul for them to eat in small bites until you become their worshipper,”.
Dogara stated that in the midst of “this pandemic sycophancy, the so-called godfathers expect the children to fit in and not to stand up to be counted or make a difference”.
He stated that the country needs leaders who lead its people to build the nation and serve others, not become godfathers who demand that they should be worshipped and served rather than serving the citizen.
“For you, trailblazers who carry the burden and the promises of a generation that must not fail, if you are ever going to get there, it must be on the wings of discipline that produces character.”
“This is because without character, you cannot be men and women of influence and without influence you cannot change anything; character means that you cannot be separated from your word, a quality no godfather in history has ever possessed.”
“Character is not only that your word is your bond but that you are actually what you pretend be, while godfathers always pretend to be something other than who they really are; leaders do not.”
“Imagine where we will be as a nation if all these godfathers that litter the political landscape become what or who they pretend to be,” he said
Dogara used the opportunity to call on the youth voted into political office who would grow to become the leaders of this country to be ready to stand by the truth even when there are consequences.
The speaker urges them to be prepared to afflict themselves in order to bring comfort to their people.
He further stated that true greatness only comes when they serve others and not when serving themselves or godfathers.
Cynthia Mbamalu, one of the conveners of the Not-Young-To-Run Movement, stated that after the Not-Young-To-Run Bill was passed into law, youths contested for political office en masse.
Mbamalu noted that in the just concluded elections, 41.8 percent of youths contested for seats in the State Houses of Assembly and 27.4 percent for the House of Representatives.
“Today, 340 days after the signing of the Not-Too-Young-To-Run law, we have 17 under-30 years who won their election into their respective state houses of assembly.”
“Today, out of the 991 seats in the state houses of assembly, over 200 will be occupied by young elected lawmakers.”
“This is our democracy taking shape, because we cannot talk about democracy without inclusion; this is progress made for youth, for Nigeria, and this is hope which we hold on to.”
Mbamalu, however, decried the low participation of females in the parliament.