JUST IN: Nigeria Still in Search of National Leaders —Amaechi.

Former Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, says Nigeria is still in search of national leaders and that its democracy needs serious rethinking in terms of scope and focus.

Amaechi was the guest speaker at the 2023 Niche Annual Lecture themed: “Why We Stride and Slip: Leadership, Nationalism and Nigerian Condition,” on Thursday in Lagos.

The lecture, in its fourth edition, was organized by TheNiche Foundation for Development Journalism to engage Nigerians and proffer solutions to some of the country’s most difficult questions.

The former Rivers governor said Nigeria’s nationalism and nation building were younger than the nation as an independent entity and that there had been more rulers than nationalistic leaders.

While lauding Nigerian nationalists who fought for independence, Amaechi said genuine nationalistic leadership transcends ethnicity.

According to him, public service equips people with both practical experiences and some inside knowledge on how Nigeria works, as well as why it did not work and how it should work.

He questioned the extent to which Nigerian leadership had been imbued with the necessary sense of national unity.

“The only person near that point of Nationalism with all respect is Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo. The rest are ethnic leaders.

“Truly, remarkable national leadership is the ability of a leader to galvanise the totality of a nation around the common national banner with a vision and a sense of mission.

“The truly remarkable national leader is the one that is able to rise above limitations to take the nation and its people to that place where they long for but have never been before.

“It is a place of national greatness, pride, achievements and shared goals, aspirations and prosperity,” he said.

He said that most nations are products of amalgamation of diverse nationality under a common sovereignty and many had tried to resolve the problem of internal diversity.

Amaechi said that many Nigerian leaders are at the corridors of power for the interest of their ethnic groups, noting that the identity of Nigeria is still being tormented by ethnicity.

“There can be no credible leadership for a diverse nation without some forms of resolutions on the national questions as it pertains to the particular nation in question,” he added.

Also speaking, Dr Uma Eleazu, Chairman of the lecture, said that in spite of all the problems the country is facing, the future generation still has hope.

Questioning how the country got to its present point, Eleazu said the toxicity of living in Nigeria had birthed the ‘Japa Syndrome’ among the youth.

“Once the boundaries of national social order are removed, there will be problems.

“Men and women of goodwill must make the necessary investment of time and energy to counter these forces to build within the next generation lasting values.

“These values are embodied in politics of character, self-discipline, respect for authority and for one another, commitment to speaking the truth always no matter whose horses is gored, and unshakeable love for God and humanity,” he said.

Earlier in his remark, Mr Ikechukwu Amaechi, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of TheNiche, said that the lecture was organised to have various opinions that would shed light on why Nigeria’s enormous potential are not realised.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Amaechi and Eleazu were inducted into TheNiche Hall of Fame, joining other prominent Nigerians including Prof. Remi Sonaiya, Prof. Kingsley Moghalu, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola, among others. (NAN)


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