The Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara has located the country’s real problem in lack of leadership and not corruption.
Dogara, at a conference tagged: “The Convergence 2.0: Leadership, Power and Politics for Democracy Renewal’’, listed terrorism, banditry, unemployment and dearth of healthcare facilities as some of the ills plaguing the country.
The forum, organised by the Not-Too-Young-To-Run Movement in Abuja, was seen as a clarion call to nation-building for youths elected into parliament in the just-concluded elections to use their strength and population to fortify the nation.
“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 said.
He said 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’’.
The speaker noted that Nigeria needs leaders who would lead citizens to build a nation and serve others not godfathers who demand that they should be worshiped and served rather than serve the people.
Earlier, one of the conveners of the Not-Young-To-Run Movement, Ms Cynthia Mbamalu, said after Not-Young-To-Run Bill became law, youths vied for elective positions en-masse.
Mbamalu said in the 2019 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 who won their election into their respective state Houses of Assembly.
“Today, out of the 991 seats in 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 youths, for Nigeria, and this is hope which we hold on to,” she said.
She said Convergence 2.0 is about working together to set a legislative agenda that is people-driven, promotes inclusion and the indices that enable sustainable development.
She added that it is also about building a strong network of committed young lawmakers who support each other and speak truth to power and encourage accountable leadership.