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Freedom Online Lecture: Makarfi, Daniel, Obi, others urge quality leadership

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Leadership deficit in all facets of life is the major obstacle to Nigeria development. And that has to be tackled to provide the citizens a country of their desire.

This was the thrust of the submissions by discussants at the fourth Annual Lecture of Freedom Online, a frontline and respected online newspaper.

At the event, which held on Tuesday at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Ikeja, Lagos, the speakers included former Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, who was the Keynote Speaker; former Governor of Kaduna State, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, who was the occasion’s Chairman; former Governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi, the Special Guest Speaker; Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who represented by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotoso; former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Dr Dakuku Peterside; Prof. Akinyemi Onigbinde, Executive Secretary of the Centre of Development and Policy Studies; and the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams.

Daniel, the keynote speaker, dissected the topic, “Nigeria’s Political Indices: Bright or Bleak Future”, and urged the voters to back good leaders, and not fall for the gambit of politicians who offer them money and food as incentives to do their bidding only to disappoint the electorates after getting into office.

Nigerians, he further admonished, must vote as dictated by their brains and not according to the pangs in their stomachs.

Makarfi, the Chairman of the event, canvassed for a Government of National Unity to tackle the divergence in the country and crash the fault lines created among religious and ethnic groups. He was convinced that Nigeria had a bright future, if the leaders and followers played their parts conscientiously.

The Special Guest Speaker, Obi blamed the leadership recruitment and selection process for poor leadership in Nigeria.

He said: ‘We have everything but lack the right leadership. In choosing the right leaders, we must look at character, competence and capacity. Leaders must also invest in education, health and pull people out of poverty’.

In his intervention, former NIMASA Director-General, Peterside said it was time for Nigerians to look into the future rather than dwell on the past, saying that ‘tomorrow may be too late’. He called for a new leadership recruitment process as the quality of leadership have severe impacts on all citizens.

Former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode George said Nigerians must be seen to be selfless in service and subscribe to the rule of law.

Represented by a former member of The Guardian editorial board, Prince Uthman Shodipe-Dosunmu, George vowed not give up on Nigeria. He was optimistic that Nigeria would not fail.

Sanwo-Olu, represented by Omotoso, admitted that there were challenges facing the country, but he said there were good narratives about Nigeria as well.

He said: ‘Nigeria is not retrogressing. We are making progress. The youths are doing wonderful things all over the world. For instance, in Lagos, youths are deploying technologies to solve societal problems. The future of Nigeria is very bright and everything is in the hands of all of us—the old and the youths’, he stated.

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