Change of political culture will propel development in Africa – Ezekwesili

Nigeria’s former Minister of Education, Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili, has advocated a change of political culture in Africa for meaningful development.

Ezekwesili made the recommendation at the matriculation of School of Politics, Policy and Governance, in Abuja, on Friday.

According to her, there is a dominant political culture across Africa that subordinates the common good for narrow interest.

Finding solution to the quality of politics and economic performance of Nigeria, she noted, is the reason behind  the establishment of the school, which was designed to correct the abnormality on the supply side of the politics and democracy marketplace.

“We have low-cost leadership in our politics today and you cannot produce anything from low-cost leadership,” the former minister said.

The young people and technology will propel Africa forward, she asserted, adding, however, that politics and governance process represent a major stumbling block.

To correct these, she canvassed a new pipeline that would contest against the existing domineering political class.

She said, “You can cry as loud, lawmakers in the next National Assembly, if filled with the same existing pipeline of political players, will still buy new sets of Sport Utility Vehicles. The next set of executives, even at the state and local council levels, will carry on with the same, nothing will change.

“You are a response to this hopelessness, the ones that will change it; we need a critical mass of people thinking with a mindset of service to the country and to the people at all levels. It is not about you, it cannot be about you, but you represent an answer to the most significant answer to our problem as a continent.

“We are in a place of competent anger that pushes you to design solutions; you have to be purposeful and intentional.”

Chief Executive Officer of SPPG, Mrs Alero Ayida-Otobo, described the 10-month programme as extensive, evidence-based, unconventional, different and unique.

She added, “Nigeria needs new order and you can all bear witness to that; we all know over the last four, eight, 12 years what we have been going through.

“Our founder, Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili, ran for President; the lessons that we have learnt from that experience are unquantifiable.”

While recalling that SPPG was birthed in 2019, she said most African countries had the same developmental problems like Nigeria, stressing, “This is why #FixPolitics and SPPG are propelling us across the continent. We started in Nigeria, but we are going to cover the 54 countries on the continent.

“SPPG is one of the three pillars of the #FixPolitics initiative. What we are doing is very pivotal to the future of Nigeria. The mission is to elevate the Office Of The Citizen; we want to enlighten the citizens of this country.”

To the students, the CEO said, “If you misbehave when you graduate and you do not live up to our values, to what we hold dear, what we hold important, we will withdraw our certificate and disown you. You will be dis-batched and removed from the alumni class.

“Our goal is to equip 21st century politicians that will be values-driven, with fine character, unquestionable competence and undeniable capacity.”

She disclosed that 55 of the SPPG graduates were aspirants for different positions in the 2023 general elections in Nigeria.

“We are so proud of this. We expected maybe 15, 20 or 30 of them; but to our greatest surprise and pride, we had from the pioneer class and Class of 2022 over 55 aspirants and nine of them made it to the primaries. We are non-partisan; we have people in the All Progressives Congress, Peoples Democratic Party, Labour Party, among others,” she disclosed.

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