Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi has said that all hope is not yet lost for the revival of the Nigerian state and the stregthening of democracy to meet the need of the masses.
Delivering a lecture titled “The Nigerian Polity, Politics and Politicians: Moving from Transaction to Transformation” in Lagos at the public presentation of Mobolade Omonijo’s “The Nigerian Political Turf: Polity, Politics and Politicians”, the Governor said the nation needs visionary leaders that are driven by the passion totransform the nation and make a difference in the lives of the people.
Dr. Fayemi stated that the country is mainly beset by leadership problems created by leaders who are myopic and do not have compassion about changing the decrepit plight of the masses or create an enterpreneurial mindset and capabilities in followers, who see leadership as service and responsibility and are not content with mediocrity. He added that the nation’s democracy must be renewed through the strengthening of institutions and public participation to tackle the major problems facing our society , making the followers see the need to pursue the common good.
While advocating for a shifty from “transactional politics to transformative leadership”, the Governor said that the Nigerian political culture has perpetuated the myth that strong leaders can bring about change single-handedly rather than convert the formal authority derived from legitimate electoral mandate into a process of democratic renewal.
“ This is the reason why leadership must be mediated by the context of power and political structure. What do I mean by this? Many will recall that at the commencement of the current political dispensation in 1999, many were of the view that the path we were treading was one of transition without transformation. We argued severally that it was wrong to suggest that any opening after Nigeria’s prolonged authoritarian rule was inherently irreversible and would lead to the deepening of democracy without interrogating the nature of the opening itself”, he said.
Dr. Fayemi who expressed concern at the influx of retired military leaders in politics, said the Nigerian democracy has ended up being a militarized democracy rather than put an end to the involvement of people with military background; saying that this has led the country to having “pseudo-democrats” who are responsible for “the low quality of our democracy and deficits in governance”.
The Governor who stressed that governance should not be done to people but with the people said giving communities a role in their own development is theessential part of dismantling the command mentality which plagues Nigeria today.
Dr. Fayemi emphasized the need for stakeholders in the Nigerian project to be determined to ensure that the State “empowers rather than dictate, enables rather than control, pushes power down to the people and shares the responsibility of governing with them rather than turn them to supplicants at the table of power wielders.
Speaking on the security situation in Nigeria, he stated that Boko Haram is a debate about the status, quality of democracy and the future of Nigeria as a united, federal entity.
In his words: “With bombs going off incessantly in the Northern part of the country in particular and an increasing level of panic in other parts of the country, thinking of innovative ways of accommodating social diversity in a democratic frame is a challenge that is at once intellectual and political and it is perhaps the greatest challenge to democratic transition and security in our country today.
“Consequently, it is my view that we must at least see what is happening in Nigeria today as an outcome of the nature of the country’s democratic transition. It is an argument for treating Nigeria’s democratisation project as a work in progress, not as a condition for hopelessness.”
Also speaking at the event, former Governor of Lagos State and national leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu said that the problems of Nigeria are not without remedies but stated that there is lack of political will and commitment to drive through the reforms proffered. Tinubu who was represented by former Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Lere Pitan said though Nigeria is fast becoming a country of lamentations, the condition requires deliberate action that will bring about the desired change.
He added that it was time Nigerians rose up in defense of theirfreedom and rights to good government; saying they must not relent in pursuit of a better nation.
“We cannot continue like this. That we are where we are today is because the politicians in whatever garb have turned politics into a zero sum game. Winner takes it all. Some kind of booty game. Nigeria is prostrate because we have taken the morality out of politics and replaced it completely with enlightened self interest”, Tinubu said.
Last modified: August 8, 2012