THE University of Lagos Muslim Alumni (UMA) held its 2022 (1443) pre-Ramadan lecture on Sunday in Lagos where it got some qualified personalities, including a former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, to focus Nigerians’ attention on the challenge of leadership in the country.
Jega, who chaired the event, declared that Nigerians had been electing inappropriate leaders, thereby putting round pegs in square holes.
This, he said, was undermining governance and democratic and development processes in Nigeria.
The theme of the lecture was ‘Leadership Recruitment: The Missing Anchor in Our National Development’.
According to the former INEC boss, the issue of leadership recruitment at all levels of governance in the country is central to current national predicament and getting it right is key to the resolution of poor governance and development processes.
“Nigerians belong to the category of the unfortunate citizens of the world whose leadership leaves much to be desired in terms of a sustainable vision for our country’s development,” the former INEC chairman lamented.
He reiterated the need for Nigerians to use the 2023 general election to begin to address the crisis of leadership by improving the recruitment process.
Also, a former Minister of Education, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, said Nigeria lacked right leadership, noting that the country produced leaders who were at peace in compromising public goods for personal interest and subverting the common goals.
“A country can be said to move in the right direction if she carries out the right policies and adhere to the rule of law. Adherence to the rule of law means impunity cannot be tolerated,” she said.
Earlier, the UMA president, Alhaji Shuaib Salisu, said the theme was chosen to evolve a better society and address the generally acknowledged leadership challenge at all levels.
“There is near-unanimity that if our great nation, Nigeria, must attain its full potential, then there is the need to fix the leadership challenge. And in doing so, we must look beyond individual leaders and focus on the process through which leaders emerge,” Salisu said:
According to him, Islam places much premium on leadership which is based on the principle of trust (amanah), and offers broad definitions of leaders.
Chief Missioner of Ansar-Ud-Deen Society Worldwide, Sheikh AbdurRahman Ahmad, said the leadership recruitment process in the country was faulty.
Ahmad called for regular assessment of appointed/elected leaders to ease out those that are not performing.
According to him, there should be mechanism to bring leaders to account.
He added that religious leaders have a role to play in fixing government and could not afford to be swayed by politicians’ money.
The vice chancellor of the University of Lagos, Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, said negligence of knowledgeable and able citizens toward electoral process in Nigeria had led to the problem of leadership from which the country is suffering.
Ogundipe stressed the importance of citizens, including students, to know their civic duties and rights and the importance of good leadership in the country.
A petroleum economists and lecturer at the Department of Economics, Umar Musa Yar’Adua University, Katsina, Dr Ahmed Adamu, noted that to achieve good governance, leadership recruitment systems require an evolutionary change.
Adamu said good citizens, particularly voters, being the most important element in leadership recruitment, should endeavour to carry out their duty by going for their voter’s cards, come out to vote, and not sit back at home counting the number of votes.
He asked politicians and delegates to check their intentions and do the right thing.