Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ghali Umar Na’Abba, has taken a swipe at all the leaders that had governed Nigeria since May 1999 and the current government, describing them as accidental leaders.
Those who have ruled Nigeria as Presidents since 1999 include former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, late Umaru Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan and the current President, Muhammadu Buhari.
According to him, accidental leadership brings about trial and error in governance, which has been the problem of Nigeria since 1999.
Speaking at the 2016/2017 Matriculation and Fellowship Endowment ceremony of National Institute for Legislative Studies, NILS, in Abuja, weekend, Na’Abba blamed the nation’s leadership recruitment process for the accidental leadership problem in the country.
According to him, the situation in the country is different from the prepared and vision-driven leadership obtainable in other democracies of the world.
To address the problem of leadership in Nigeria, the former speaker called for regular ‘tutorials’ for political leaders at all levels and implored more Nigerians to participate in politics to open up the political space.
Na’Abba said: “Circumstances at hand or situations on ground have, to a large extent, over determined who and who was elected into office in Nigeria as President since 1999, against level of preparedness on the part of the leaders in terms of clear vision and programmes obtainable in most democracies of the world, culminating in accidental leadership for the country.
“I believe that not just the legislature, but every arm of government serving the purpose of governance, must invest in exposing democracy to the people.
“It is a sad commentary on our political life that today, recruitment into leadership has been subverted by a few politicians because they deny Nigerians opportunity to contest elections and achieve their aspirations through the systematic appropriation of political parties to themselves.
“These politicians have stopped the growth of democracy. And it is true that unless democracy is allowed to grow, we cannot achieve the desired political growth, we cannot achieve the desired economic growth and we can also not achieve the desired social growth in our country.
“That is why we are still in political, economic and social doldrums. We have been having successive accidental leaders since 1999.
“We have been advocating that tutorials must be taking place on a continuous basis for stakeholders in democracy, from the local governments to the states.”
Over 85 students matriculated in Masters in Legislative Drafting, Masters in Parliamentary Administration as well as Masters in Legislative Students.
Besides Na’Abba, four former presiding officers of the National Assembly received NILS Award of Fellowship.
They include former Senate President from 1979 to 1983, Sen. Joseph Wayas; Dr. Ken Nnamani (2005 to 2007); Aminu Bello Masari (2003 to 2007) and former Deputy Senate President, Sen. Ibrahim Mantu (2001 to 2007).