Vote trustworthy leaders, Ezekwesili’s group advises Nigerians

With less than five months to the 2023 general election, a political think-tank, under the aegis of School of Politics, Policy and Governance, on Friday, warned Nigerians to elect only leaders they could trust with state resources.

The organisation also identified character, competence, and capacity as leadership gaps that had constituted a cog in Nigeria’s wheel of progress.

The institution, founded by a former Minister of Education, Obiageli Ezekwesili, also lamented the increasing leadership deficit in the country, saying the 2023 elections would be a critical time to rescue Nigeria from its current challenges.

The Chief Executive Officer of the SPPG, Alero Ayida-Otobo, stated these in Abuja during the launch of its Alumni Association.

According to her, competence, character and capacity should be the defining qualities of good leadership.

She said, “The most important thing right now is to use criteria based on three things: Can the person solve the problems on ground? Are they knowledgeable? Can people trust him or her with money? Governance is about using state resources judiciously and then we should ask if the person have the track record to use resources judiciously and implement projects that will benefits the people.

“We must ask ourselves if we are interested to rescue the nation from the current challenges. We must educate the man on the street who allows money politics to work on the need to change the narrative. Yes, money is needed to run elections in any part of the world, but that should be money to run the system, not to bribe the people. If we are to change the way things are done then we need to pay the price.

“If we look at the current situation, something seems to be changing. People are being activated. Today, they can be ‘Obi-dient’ or any other name. What that movement is saying is we have had enough. And we better have enough. Many times I wonder how people even survive. We have to push the narrative that enough is enough and that we are tired.”

Speaking on the idea behind the establishment of the institution, Ayida-Otobo said that with the growing needs around Africa for quality leadership particularly in Nigeria, the SPPG was determined to bridge the gaps experienced in the deficit areas.

She described the SPPG an unconventional school of the research-anchored #FixPolitics initiative that was designed to transform the quality of political and public leadership in Nigeria and the rest of Africa.

Ayida-Otobo said the SPPG has a continental focus and commenced in Nigeria in 2020 with expansion plans into Senegal in 2023, as the first step before six other countries.

“As a continent, we are having leadership gap in three areas which is character, competence, and capacity. If you’ve worked for a government official before, and you have the misfortune of working for a Commissioner or a Minister that is not very effective, that can be a very painful experience that because for various reasons, they’re not able to do it.

“So that gap of competence is a real gap. And then the third pillar of democracy is the constitutional and electoral framework which we are also trying to improve upon”, she said.

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