The former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega on Wednesday said that Nigeria’s biggest challenge is that bad people have taken over the political turf of the country.
He made the statement in Awka during the 13th Convocation Lecture of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, saying that one way of redressing the situation was to redesign the content and pattern of the nation’s politics to focus on issues that were relevant to the socio-political growth of the country.
Jega explained things have deteriorated because Nigeria politics is dominated by people without vision.
The former chairman said, “Nigeria’s politics had been grossly mismanaged by its leaders over the years.
“If our leaders do not recognize the value of education, for instance, it will be very difficult to achieve national integration and development. If our politics is predicated on people buying votes to get themselves into various offices, we will not achieve anything.
“To those of us who are teachers, time has come that our business will not just be to teach, but to get good people to get involved in politics, otherwise we cannot get the visionary leaders that can lead the country to be able to compete globally.”
“Though people like the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe worked hard to achieve national integration, subsequent leaders faced the challenges of sustaining it.
On his part, former senate president, Dr. Ken Nnamni, who delivered the convocation lecture insisted that the blame for Nigeria’s poor record on national unity and integration lay mainly at the door of poor leadership.
He opined that the solution to the nation’s problem lies on picking charismatic and effective oriented leaders to steer the country away from politics of fear and mutual distrust to the politics of hope and inclusiveness.
He said: “Our most important challenge is to create a process that recruits transformative and problem-solving leaders imbued with patriotic zeal. Such leaders will create those institutions of efficient production and fair distribution.
“We need transformative leaders who will engineer structural transformation of the country’s economic and social institutions. The leadership crisis in Nigeria is compounding the institutional crisis in the country.
According to him, such leaders will inspire faith in the Nigerian project by telling stories of national unity and integration.
Nnamani added, “They will communicate with words and symbols and above all, with deeds, decisive and coherent actions that align to strategic visions and national development.”