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Published On: Tue, Oct 3rd, 2017

Nigeria @57: We have failed due to lack of leadership- Ogunade

By OBINNA EZUGWU

Lagos based lawyer and founder, Voters Awareness Initiative, Mr Wale Ogunade has decried the inability of Nigeria to achieve development after 57 years of its existence as an independent nation.

Ogunade who aired his views in a chat with Business Hallmark, noted that at 57, the country is like an adult still learning to walk and blamed the failure on poor leadership.

Wale Ogunade

“Obviously we are not where we should be as a country, given the potential we have. We are like a 57-year-old man still trying to walk,” he said.

“The problem of Nigeria is leadership, that’s one. We have not gotten the right leader, and I will begin with Tafawa Balewa who was not ready for leadership. If anything, it should have been Ahmadu Bello that should have been the leader of Nigeria, but he sent Balewa to Lagos to become the Prime Minister out of ego,” he said.

“But of course, even him was not ready for leadership, the person who was ready for leadership was Chief Obafemi Awolowo. He showed it with the way he moved the Western Region forward. He was the one pushing the development of Nigeria at the time. The North and the East used to look up to him.”

Ogunade explained that because the country’s constitution vests so much power on the presidency, it becomes a huge challenge when there are leaders without vision.

“We all know that the federal government of Nigeria is strong. In fact, the president of Nigeria, I want to believe, is the strongest president in the world. So, if Nigeria doesn’t have a president that has that vision, it becomes a problem. Look at Ghana; Ghana came to Nigeria few years ago, and they were hewers of wood and fetchers of water, but today, Nigerians go to Ghana for education, for business and other things. The foundation they had was political leadership, that’s what we are lacking in Nigeria.

“Malaysia had political leadership, they came to this country to pick palm nuts and today, we import that same palm oil into Nigeria. I have criss-crossed Nigeria in the course of my work as the president of voters awareness initiative, I have gone round all the 774 local governments, what I observed is that there is hardly any local government that does not have at least, five mineral resources, but there is no leadership to harness them.”

He charged the media to begin to play their constitutional role of becoming the custodian of the conscience of the people as according to him, the solution to the country’s leadership challenge lies with the media.

“The solution is in the media. Section 24 of the 1999 constitution put the whole work of good governance in the hands of the media. But the media take sides because they are owned by people who they would normally blow their trumpet, but if the media can play the constitutional role that has been them, that is, indeed becoming the custodian of the conscience of the people by their own responsibility not to the politicians, but to the people, then we will have good leaders.”

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