Nigeria’s development has been slow-paced for too long, largely due to lack of visionary leadership, an anti-corruption advocate told federal lawmakers on Wednesday.
Patrick Lumumba, a former director of Kenya’s anti-corruption commission, also asked the Nigerian lawmakers if they are ‘honourable members or horrible members.’
He referred the lawmakers to late nationalists, Ahmadu Bello and Nnamdi Azikwe, asking them how much of their legacies have been preserved.
He said the clarity of vision and the instinct to marshall people is the antidote to tackle Nigeria’s many challenges, as this was what worked for the nation’s founding fathers.
The don who is also the Director, Kenya School of Laws, spoke at the launch of the House of Representatives Green Chamber magazine Wednesday in Abuja.
“Nigeria has been becoming great for too long,” Mr Lumumba said in his speech. “The time is now that Nigeria must be great. In fact, Nigeria should be in the same space economically as Germany is; Nigeria should be in the same space politically as the United States is.”
“You are the successors of Nigeria’s great leaders. The question that you must ask yourself now that you have been given the honour and privilege of serving Nigeria, you should ask yourself, are you honourable members or horrible members?” he asked amidst laughter from his audience.
He said being “honourable” or “horrible” members is determined by the quality of service they deliver to Nigerians. He urged the lawmakers to be servants, rather than masters of the people, whose sole aim is to deliver the common good to Nigerians.
“Now that Nigerians have given you the opportunity to think for them, the question is: are you midwives of the good things of Nigeria or are you midwives that kill the children of the creator.
“Today you are the leaders, even as I am congratulating you, ask yourself do you deserve to be congratulated?”
The don praised the can-do spirit of an average Nigerian, saying that vigour would be useless if Nigerian leaders do not use creativity and innovation to make their citizens thrive.
Mr Lumumba lauded the move by the lawmakers to tell their stories themselves by launching the magazine. He urged them to ensure the publication remains within the ambit of facts and to tell the legislations the House is introducing to give Nigerians social and economic security.
“I hope that through this magazine that that ghost of ignorance which has not allowed Nigerians to appreciate and embrace their leaders will now be exorcised.
“I hope that that ghost would be consigned to Jahannam so that it will not rise again; so that going forward, Nigerians will understand their leaders for (whom) they are.”