The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has said the leadership style in Nigeria only favours the political godfathers, not the people.
He also said Nigeria’s major problem is lack of leadership, not corruption as widely believed.
Mr Dogara said this on Tuesday while addressing young elected lawmakers at an event organised by YAIGA Africa and the Not Too Young To Run Movement in Abuja.
The event was tagged “The Convergence 2.0: Leadership, Power, and Politics for Democracy Renewal.”
Mr Dogara said Nigeria needs a leader who would help build a nation, not a godfather who demand to be served and worshipped.
According to him, political godfathers make their anointed candidates sell their souls; leaving them to feed on crumbs to run political governance, so as to be worshipped.
”Unfortunately, the leadership model we have practised so far is the kind of leadership that produces sycophants who are expected to serve their political godfathers and not the people.
”If for any reason you are picked, then you have to surrender your soul for them to eat in small bites until you become their worshipper.
”In the midst of this pandemic sycophancy, our so-called godfathers expect us to fit in and not to stand up to be counted or make a difference,” Mr Dogara explained.
”We need leaders who will lead us to build a nation and serve others, not godfathers who demand that we worship and serve them rather than serve the people.”
The speaker charged the young legislators to be persons of character. He said: ”Because without character, you cannot be men and women of influence and without influence, you cannot change anything.”
Mr Dogara also advised the lawmakers to be leaders of the truth, regardless of who is in or against.
He also charged the lawmakers to stand firm and take decisive actions that are in the interest of the people
”Those of you who must grow to become the leaders our nation is yearning for must be prepared to stand for the truth regardless of who is for or against it or even when the consequences are dire.
”You must be prepared to afflict yourselves in order to bring comfort to our broken people,” he said.
Mr Dogara also advised the young legislators to shun arrogance and stay connected to their grassroots.
”It is germane that you shun the arrogance of power. If you do not stay connected to the grassroots and those who have yielded their mandates to you, you will ultimately pay at the polls.
”The Nigerian voter is becoming increasingly aware of the power of the ballot, and they demonstrated it in some states where elections truly counted.”
He said apart from being ranked the third most dangerous country in the world, Nigeria is also plagued by a lot of challenges, including insecurity, unemployment and inadequate healthcare.
Mr Dogara accused the political elites of mastering the art of political witchcraft so much that they have tamed the minds of young Nigerians.
He said anyone who tries to stand up for his/her right would be ”automatically cut-off”
”Our so-called leaders have mastered the art of political witchcraft so much so that if you are independent minded you are automatically disqualified.”