Vanguard Newspaper 03 February 2018
38—SATURDAY Vanguard, , MARCH 3, 2018 Why semi literates are governing Nigeria – Prof. Nwabueze By Emeka Mamah Apparently miffed by the degeneration in Nigeria’s political and economic fortunes in the recent years, the National Chairman of the Patriots and Igbo Leaders of Thought, ILT, Professor Ben Nwabueze has called for the amendment of the 1999 Constitution to ensure an upper age limit of 70 years or below for anybody to be eligible to contest for office of President, Governor and state and national assemblies. Nwabueze said that “Our dear country is bleeding to death. It needs a leader to save it.” He gave poor marks to President Muhammadu Buhari in the last three , stressing that his performance was abysmally low. These were contained in a statement in he issued in Enugu. According to him, any claim that “Nigeria is anything other than an underdeveloped country or that its economy has been, or is being effectively managed is fanciful, indeed a fallacy… or based on dream.” On age limit, he said that “the wear and tear and stresses of life, coupled with health and other challenges, rob every one of us, after the age of 70 years, of the energy required for the job of governing Nigeria,” pointing out that “Anyone aspiring to govern and lead Nigeria as President should also be a person with plenty of energy, a high amount of energy characteristic of the youth, the energy of youth, the kind of energy that will enable him or her to engage in the arduous task of mobilising the people for national transformation; mobilisation of the people for such a purpose being one of the most arduous tasks of political leadership.| Qualification for political office He also called for the review of qualifications for political office holders from the elementary school certificate to university degree or equivalent, saying that the bane of the country’s leadership was semi literacy. He stressed that a situation where semi literates were governors or president did not augur well for the country as they lacked the intellectual capacity required for good governance. He also said that the first school leaving certificate prescribed as qualification for office holders in the constitution should be substituted with university degree “Leadership is a critical part of Nigeria’s problem of governance because the educational qualification prescribed for our political leaders by section 131(d), as amended by the National Assembly in 2010, and section 318(1) of the Constitution does not equip them to be able to combine ideas and power; intellectualism and politics since semi literates who occupy offices of governors, president or become members of both the state and National Assembles do not have the intellectual capacity to lead the nation. According to him, there was no part of the country which had not produced several university graduates to represent them as governors, president or members of the state and National Assemblies these days. The statement further read, “Good leadership: The qualities and credentials needed for good leadership can readily be identified. The primal credential is good education, such as would enable the leadership to combine -ideas and power, intellectualism and politics. “Leadership is a critical part of Nigeria’s problem of governance because the educational qualification prescribed for our political leaders by section 131(d), as amended by the National Assembly in 2010, and section 318(1) of the Constitution does not equip them to be able to combine ideas and power; intellectualism and politics. “In these days of widespread ‘expo,’ certificate faking and general degeneration in the standards of education in our schools and colleges, primary six school leaving certificate prescribed by the Constitution for those seeking elective political office is really next door to illiteracy. “A semi -literate President or Governor is what the prescription tantamounts to. What little literacy is acquired from the educational system at the primary school level is soon lost owing to the lack of a reading culture that pervades our society, caused to a considerable extent by the enthronement of wealth as the determinant of social standing and the consequent inordinate pursuit of it and of other mundane, non-intellectual pursuits. “No one with this kind of thoroughly inadequate educational background can be expected to read, with understanding, the Constitution of Nigeria, laden, and it is, with difficult and perplexing concepts, or the books on constitutional law, political science and sociology where the knowledge of these concepts can be found. “And knowing that he cannot understand them, he would have no inclination or disposition to buy the books or to read them. The desire to accommodate educationally backward areas, which no doubt is the reason underlying the provisions, is no justification for prescribing such low level of educational qualification for election to the office of president, state governor or member of the National Assembly. “There is no state in the country today that does not have a fair number of university graduates. “The effect of these provisions is, lamentably, to entrench in the Constitution the intellectual poverty and educational inadequacy which has characterised leadership at the level of the presidency since independence in 1960 right up to the election of President Umaru Yar’Adua in 2007 (the first university graduate to hold the office of Executive President discounting the interim arrangement under which Chief Ernest Shonekan, a university graduate, ruled for four or so months) and the ascension to the presidential office by Vice-President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan on May 5, 2010, after the death of Umaru Yar’Adua. “The low educational qualification prescribed for elective political leaders has resulted, sadly, in the relegation of intellectualism in government and politics in the country. Intellectualism is concerned essentially with the notion of ideas, that is: the mental ability to comprehend ideas, and to reason or think them out. “An intellectual is a person engaged in creative and rational thinking about the world, about humanity, about human relationships, and about the governance of human society; he is a person dedicated to the study and understanding of ideas that govern and shape our world, society, the organism known as thestate, and generally to intellectual pursuits and interests. “The power of ideas in shaping human life and in liberating, liberalising and stimulating the mind is well highlighted in a book by Peter Watson titled Ideas : A History From Fire to Freud, first published in 2005, a tome of a book, 1117 pages, which everyone aspiring to govern and lead Nigeria should read. “Our Constitution should, therefore, prescribe an upper age limit for the presidency, say, 70 years or lower, as is the case in some countries of the world, and as is done for non-elective public officers in Nigeria. “In addition to the sort of education that would enable the leadership to combine ideas and power, intellectualism and politics, the type of leadership needed for our country has to be one, not only committed to democracy and constitutionalism, but also one at once dedicated, singleminded, selfless, disciplined, patriotic and highly motivated in the national interest with a deep concern for the public good/ welfare, a leadership able to mobilise the various strata of society, and prepared to commit suicide by sacrificing its vested economic interest in the preservation of the status quo. “It must be a leadership whose sincerity of purpose is so transparent as to induce people to adopt the desired new patterns of behaviour in place of the old ones and whose dedication to the cause is sufficiently total and selfless to inspire confidence, a leadership that is seen to be practising what it preaches. “People cannot be persuaded by the leadership to be tolerant, honest, public-spirited, patriotic, fair-minded, lawabiding, devoted, disciplined,” among others “if the leaders themselves do not practise those virtues.
SATURDAY Vanguard, MARCH 3, 2018—39 2019 Presidency: Is Fela Durotoye overreaching himself? After Mushin Makeover Is FD Overreaching himself with Nigerian Makeover? By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor He is unarguably among Nigeria’s leading motivational speakers with a clientele base ranging from tier one banks to some of the country’s leading oil companies. Fela Durotoye, or FD as he is simply called, has his forte in inspiring executives to bring out the best to enhance organizational and personal career goals. With degrees and fellowships garnered from Obafemi Awolowo, Havard, Yale universities among others, FD has successfully laced strategic management processes into flowing oratory to motivate men to milestone missions, and millions and perhaps billions into his storehouse. His wife, Tara Fela-Durotoye, the brain behind the House of Tara, unarguably Nigeria’s number one make-up artist house complements him as a power couple that is the toast of many Nigerian youths on social media. Besides the thousands of Nigerians associated with him in his mentoring programme, FD’s most intrusive effort in the country’s landscape may have been his 2009 effort in spearheading the Mushin Makeover project. That project which successfully recruited about 5,000 Nigerians in a programme to change the landscape of selected areas of Mushin, Lagos left a lasting impact on the participants and the Mushin community. Participants who engaged in the 8- hour project were trained in how to paint. The community was rewarded with a free face lift and even companies that participated through provision of paints and other resources adequately posted glorious reports of community social responsibility in their annual reports. But is FD now overreaching himself with his bold attempt to spearhead a Nigerian Makeover? So some critics and even aficionados guessed with his intervention into the country’s political space? Penultimate Thursday, FD escorted by his wife formally indicated his interest in vying for the presidency. His declaration for the presidency came as he formally registered for the Alliance for New Nigeria, ANN, one of the newly registered political parties. ANN has as its motif, to position professionals to displace career professionals in the running of the country. It was as such not surprising that following his formal registration for the ANN at the Lagos State Secretariat of the party in Surulere, Lagos that FD drew back from calling himself a politician when this correspondent dubbed him as such. “I know what it is to be a technotician, which is what we are in ANN. I don’t know whether I will need to learn what it means to be a politician but we are technocrats here and technoticians who have a deep understanding of political structures and realities, and we also are not just focused on politics and the power of it but really the deliverance of good governance for the benefit of the people.” FD who has a huge presence on social media with thousands of followers was asked if he was stepping into the political fray with his followers? “I believe that many people who have followed me are leaders in their rights. I believe that we are all concerned about the well-being of Nigeria, but most importantly, we share the same values and our passion for good governance and the understanding that we need political parties that are truly free and fair in terms of democratic processes. “I didn’t decide to come to ANN by myself; it was a collaborative decision after we had evaluated several platforms and we had collectively determined that ANN is the platform. So, while you see me here, there are many other people, in fact quite a few tens of thousands at the very least who have joined the ANN and will be joining the ANN •Fela Durotoye immediately. On his presidential aspiration, he said: “I do aspire to serve my nation and I believe that to be able to do the most that I can, it will require that we have the kind of leadership for the nation that I believe I can offer in terms of priority of vision, in terms of a set of clear values that can bring about the kind of behaviour and culture of a new Nigeria. “More importantly, in terms of the fact that I am someone who has spent the most of my life helping others build their businesses, find their careers, and I don’t know if there is any other platform that will enable me to serve the people as the presidency. So, I am grateful to Nigerians for their encouragement, and if my party, ANN gives me the nomination, I will be honoured to serve my people as president. Asked if he did not fear that I am someone who has spent the most of my life helping others build their businesses, find their careers, and I don’t know if there is any other platform that will enable me to serve the people as the presidency his incursion into politics would muddy his poster-boy symbol as an ethical motivator, he said: “I have always said that I believe that the only thing that we hold valuable, most priceless are our values. I share with my team that on this journey, by the grace of God, I will not have to compromise about this. I said if I have to compromise on my values and I lose my values and identity to win an election, then I have still lost everything. “And it will be worse still if you compromise on your values and then lose the election because that could be a tragedy. But I believe very strongly that it is possible for us to hold on the values that we profess and still be able to win an election because there are more people who value people like me. “There are people out there of all tribes and societies who want people of integrity to manage the affairs of our country. People who will not steal, people who are faithful in their commitment to their duty, people who hold excellence and professionalism as a value, there are people who truly value people like myself. And once people like me step out there and join with other people who are like me but have already gone ahead of me, I believe we will not have to compromise our values to win this election.” Will he remain in ANN if the party overlooks him to pick another person as presidential candidate? “Of course not! Especially if the party has and carries out its promise which we have checked out, of truly free and fair democratic elections. It will be my joy to see the best candidate emerge from all the list of aspirants. My commitment is to a new Nigeria, not just an elected office,” he enthused. Durotoye describes himself as a business management consultant talks of his background: “My focus is business strategy, and my area of specialty is in corporate transformation. I started my professional career in 1992 as an investment manager and consultant with focus on venture capital and project finance. I worked with Ventures and Trusts Limited; at that time the sole investment consultant to the European Investment Bank. Thereafter, I went to do an MBA. Then I came back and joined a company called Phillips Consulting. I worked in the Total Quality Management Unit. “From Phillips Consulting, I eventually set up my consulting firm called VIP Consulting, and we focus mostly on service delivery, performance management and over time into service culture delivery, and that is how companies begin to do culture transformation. So, that is the journey of my professional career. I think that the whole concept of motivational speaker has come from just my natural style of delivery. Even if I’m teaching on business strategy or customer management, people say ‘ I am so inspired.’ “The world came to know me more as a motivational speaker because when they see me on public platforms, that is what I am trying to do. To inspire a generation that is going to believe in Nigeria; to inspire a generation to believe that we can build a new Nigeria; to accept the responsibility to build it and to go ahead to do what we can to build it.”