From David Hassan, Gombe
A former political adviser to ex- President Olusegun Obasanjo, Dr. Usman Bugaje has said Nigeria was experiencing a dearth in people oriented leadership.
He said this was so because Nigerians have allowed leadership of the country to fall in the hands of those who have nothing to offer.
Speaking during the maiden annual lecture in memory of Dr. Suleiman Kumo on the topic, “Politics development and the future of Nigeria the nexus the worries and the way out”, Bugaje stressed the need to take over the mantle of leadership from government that lack preparedness in governance.
Bugaje who was one time National Secretary of the defunct Action Congress, AC, said the reason why Nigeria has not gotten it right is because the crop of politicians ruling the country now are bereft of knowledge needed to take the country out of its current sorry state and that educated people unfortunately fold their arms while the country decays.
He regretted that in the last two decades, our country has seen hope raised severally and hope dashed severally adding that the return to a democratic civilian dispensation in 1999, “In the last two decades, our country has seen hopes raised severally and hopes dashed severally”, adding that, “the return to a democratic civilian dispensation in 1999, following a long time spell of military rule created a lot of relief and hope.
He said, “This is reflected in the voter turnout for the 1999 elections over 50 percent and the excitement associated with the return of democracy eight years later poverty only double despite the unprecedented oil revenue that accrued to the Nigeria state.
According to him, another four years later $16bn was spent on power without a single increase in one megawatts of electricity and yet no one went to jail. In the last three years or so, we became the country with the largest out of school children and the emerging poverty capital of the world.
He said, this disappointment with democratic rule was reflected in the increasing frustration and the creeping violence as more people became socially and economically excluded and that despite these signals the quality of life as well as the standard of governance
continued to go down as the country go further down its democratic road.
Speaking on the way out, Dr Bugaje said Nigerians must prioritize leadership and educated person must be at the vanguard of this cause.
He also suggested that with the quality of Nigeria’s leadership significantly going down, we must prioritize competence rather than loyalty which we have often been blind to.
Suggesting that more educated persons be involved in politics, Dr. Bugaje emphatically said there has always been a large pool of professionals and other expertise outside the dungeon of our criminal and violent political culture but they have always hesitated to move in less they soil their hands in murky field of politics.
Quoting Plato of Greek antiquity, he said if one does not go through the pains of being in politics then one must be prepared to be ruled but someone who is inferior.
He opined that one of the first tasks of the salvage mission is to bring in clarity in the political discourse and raised it from the current sentimental pedestrian level to rational scientific level where knowledge and competence will be driving governance.
Organizers of the lecture series who spoke through one of the old students Abdulraman Aliyu said the aim of organizing the lecture series was to unite the old students in order to develop the school further. He said the lecture series which is expected to bring renowned intellectual to speak on burning national and international issues would be an umbrella that will bring old students together to benefit from their relationship in term of mentoring and other development issues.
The lecture was organized by the old students of Gombe Children and High School in honour of the renowned philanthropist and educationists late Dr. Suleiman Kumo, founder of the school.