Nigeria needs to go beyond the current dominance of politics without governance, to politics that takes good governance as its purpose and as priority of electoral platforms and candidates, former presidential aspirant, Prof. Kingsley Moghalu has said.
At the 10th Emeka Anyaoku Lecture, Moghalu said three forms of leadership problems were preventing Nigeria from enjoying good governance.
He described the problems as “the Us versus Them, the Power versus Responsibility syndrome and the Loyalty vs Competence syndrome.”
Speaking on the topic, ‘Leadership and The Challenge of Development in Nigeria’, Moghalu remarked that the country had spent five decades including 22 years of democracy since 1999 chasing shadows and had failed to focus on selecting quality leaders that could deliver good governance.
According to him, Nigeria has the problem of ethnic, religious and other atomistic identity that define the acquisition and exercise of political power in Africa and that are largely artificial creations from colonisation.
Moghalu said, “Political power obtained on the basis of this kind of primordial worldview can hardly be deployed to broad transformative purposes. There is the issue of our cultural reality that has not adapted well to concepts of modern statehood, democracy, and checks and balances therefore offered by the separation of powers between executive, legislative and judicial arms of government.
“Also, the Us versus Them instinct, combined with a sense of absolute power and a psychological need to retain such power for as long as possible, often leads Nigerian leaders to place personal loyalty over competence in the appointment of aides and senior government officials. This leadership failure weakens the prospects for good governance.”
According to him true leaders envision, inspire, motivate, mobilise people or institutions for actions and must be able to take calculated risks.
“A leader’s task is to take societies, family units, organisations or institutions from point A to Z or whatever point in the 26 alphabets is relevant, necessary and possible. It is not, as we often misunderstand it in Nigeria, about merely holding positions of power or deploying authority mainly for self-serving purposes,” he explained.
Moghalu also called for a constitutional reordering that would lead to true federalism and improve leadership and governance by bringing governance accountability closer to the people.
The Emeka Anyaoku Lecture Series, an annual event, is in honour of a globally distinguished elder statesman, who served as the Secretary-General of the 54 member-State Commonwealth of Nations from 1990-2000, and for two decades earlier as Deputy Secretary-General, Assistant Secretary- General, and Director of International Affairs of the Commonwealth.
Anyaoku led The Commonwealth’s diplomatic political and economic support to its member nations in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean over a period of 34 years.