By Adelola Amihere
Director of the Kenyan school of law and Pan Africanist, Prof Patrick Lumumba, has blamed Nigerian elite for their bad leadership roles which he said is grossly responsible for Nigeria’s under development.
For him, until Nigeria leaders take seriousness in changing the face of politics, only then will the African continent take its place of pride in the world.
Delivering a keynote speech at the Summit of Alternatives organised by a coalition of civil society groups in Abuja with the theme “Citizens framing the Nigeria of our dream”, Lumumba said the day Nigeria succeeds is the day Africa succeeds.
According to him, Nigeria has played key roles in restoring peace and stability to several countries like Sierra Leone, Liberia and The Gambia. “We can see that whenever Nigeria provided leadership, Africa has always occupied its pride of place,” he said.
“The only thing that continues to hold Nigeria down are the political elites who in my view ought to liberate themselves from the politics of money and money bags and short termism who ought to realise that political leadership is a position of trust and that when they lead Nigeria they are leading the rest of Africa.
“Those in the know will tell you that out of every five Africans, one is a Nigerian and for that reason the economic and political prosperity of Nigeria cannot be denied or gain said which begs the question, what must Nigeria do to ensure the success of Africa? Unless politics is played in a hygienic way, Africa will never realise its potentials.”
The law professor who spoke via a video call from Kenya also pointed out that Nigeria occupies an important place not only in Africa but in the world and has produced the greatest people in almost all fields of endeavours.
“The time has come for Nigeria leaders to realise that Nigeria ought to be the political mecca which we pay pilgrimage. I have no doubt in my mind that when the Nigerian leaders wakes up to this reality, West Africa will be great,” he maintained.
Earlier in her address, the Chairman of the summit, Dr Oby Ezekwesili said the summit was organised as a forum to challenge the conventional way of leadership.
She said: “The summit challenges the aberrant norm that for us as a society, good has become evil and evil has become good. It challenges the conventional wisdom that wisdom is not for service, but for self.
“It’s a summit that redefines what our ideals should be. That no longer will we slow ourselves to be led by the worst amongst us while the rest of us sit on the margin and murmur and complain. It’s a summit that challenges that sense that we are stuck in the place of bad behaviour, failure, incompetency and mediocrity and lack of capacity to work for the common good.
“It’s a summit that tells you that a different Nigeria is possible. It disrupts the mind-set that citizens are powerless to do anything. It’s a summit that empowers you as a citizen to start that revolutionary move against the entirety that our values as country have changed.
It is good-bye to the old Nigeria and welcome to the journey that is starting today”.