From Mohammed Ibrahim Kaduna
Chairman of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Alhaji Ibrahim Ahmadu Coomassie yesterday lambasted leaders, particularly northern leaders for lack of good governance in the country.
According to him, unless and until leaders provide good leadership to their people Nigeria may be heading towards anarchy and eventual disintegration.
The former Inspector General of Police and Sardauna of Katsina stated these in Kaduna while chairing a conference on “The North and The Challenge of Leadership” organised by Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation and Arewa Research and Development Project (ARDP).
He pointed out that corrupt practices have become endemic and nepotism has become a common-place in most appointments, provision of quality education, potable water, efficient health services and power supply have been relegated to the background in the country.
The Chairman of ACF said the conference which was organised to commemorate 52 years anniversary of the senseless massacre of the northern political leaders like Ahmadu Bello and Abubakar Tafawa Balewa in an ethnically motivated coup, must be used to seek for way out of political mess the country has found itself.
Talking on Late Sir Ahmadu Bello style of leadership during his era as premiere of Northern Nigeria he explain that to Sardauna Northern progress and Northern unity were uttermost in his thought.
“They ensured even development, justice and fair play for all the citizens. It was a period devoid of religious and ethnic bigotry where people from the numerous ethnic nationalities or creeds, held each other in mutual respect.
“Corrupt practices by both politicians were very minimal. Things like inflation of contracts or favouritism in the award of contracts were virtually non-existent. In short, the Northern Nigeria before January 15th 1966 was a territory that was characterised by visionary leadership and tireless dedication to duty to the community. Leaders were known for their integrity, their sincerity and their humility.
Today he said “ political office holders pay scant attention to the needs of their populace. Corrupt practices have become endemic. Not only are contract sums inflated, more often than not monies earmarked for projects that will immensely benefit the populace are removed and the projects not executed.
“Nepotism has become common-place in most appointments. People who lack the requisite qualification are appointed to sensitive positions in the public sector either because they are related to, or are cronies to powerful political figures with resultants devastating consequences to the polity. Service sectors, such as in the provision of quality education at all levels, the provision of potable water, the delivery of efficient health services and power supply have all been relegated to the background.
“State Governors today are busy building billion naira airports, government houses and other white elephant projects while their people live in wanton poverty and squalor. Youths go through education sector and graduate with no jobs available or means to start something on their own. This deplorable situation has made them vulnerable as tools of the political class to use to foment political violence or foot soldiers of ethnic or religious bigots and extremists to destroy the peace and serenity the north has been known for.
“Clearly, we have a problem of good governance. But, is the problem the result of faulty choices of candidates to hold political office or is it as a result of other sinister motives. It is my hope that this conference will provide answers. If it is the result of poor selection processes, how can we rectify them? If the actions are as a result of other sinister motives, then, we must identify them and proffer solutions.
“Unless we approach this problem with the seriousness it deserves, we may be heading towards anarchy and eventual disintegration,” he said.