The senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District in the Senate, Shehu Sani, says there is a need for the emergence of a new political party, peopled mainly by the intellectuals, the working class and the youths, which will take Nigeria to the Promised Land.
This, according to him, had become the only option for the country because none of the existing major political parties in the country could do the job.
Sani, who is a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress, said the integrity of President Muhammadu Buhari, around which the APC built its government, was not enough to govern a plural country like Nigeria.
According to him, integrity is just a small fraction of what is needed to lead a country like Nigeria, stressing also that “fighting corruption cannot be the only objective or the idea and only focus of a government.”
Sani was one of the guest speakers at a symposium organised on Thursday by the Magodo Associates.
The symposium with the theme, “Nigeria: Which way forward?” held at the Afe Babalola Auditorium, University of Lagos and had Prof. Akin Oyebode as the chairman.
Others speakers at the event were a chieftain of the National Democratic Coalition, Dr. Amos Akingba, Lagos-based preacher, Pastor Tunde Bakare, who was represented by Mr. Femi Lawson; Maj. Gen. Ishola Williams (retd.), Secretary of the Magodo Associates, Dr. Babafemi Badejo, and Mrs. Ada Agina-Ude.
The chairman of the Magodo Associates, Prof. Funso Akere, in his welcome remarks, explained that the symposium was aimed at “heightening the debate about the future of Nigeria.”
He said the speakers, who are people that had experienced the good and the ills of the country, were selected in order to give the young people insight into the country’s past and how to approach the future.
Speaking, Sani said while Buhari demonstrated his integrity by declaring his assets, many of the people in his government could not do the same.
“What we have here is one man whose major asset is integrity but how many within that camp can also beat their chests and say they are as credible as he is?
“We are talking about building a nation and moving it forward, but can just the integrity of the President move the nation to the Promised Land? When we are talking about the qualities of leadership, if only integrity and credibility is what you need to be in public office… integrity or credibility is just one of so many things a leader needs, especially in a troublesome country like Nigeria; there as lot of things a leader needs. We need a leader that can give every person the confidence that he is going to be fair and just. We also need a leader who is visionary, who can move the country from where it is to where it should be,” Sani said.
He charged the people in the academia not be afraid of participating in politics, saying it was the only way forward.
He said, “The intellectuals need to move forward; you need not be scared of the political terrain. Most people you see in political offices, outside they say they are representing the people, but they represent an individual, a certain power broker. The existing dominant political parties cannot lead us to the Promised Land; there is a need for a progressive political class to come together, reach out to the academics, the intelligentsia, the working class, come out together with a party that is run on a certain ideology.”
In his contribution, Akingba said the colonialists were to blame for the country’s stunted development, because, according to him, at independence, they handed over the country to the Fulani, who were least interested in development.
“The Fulani were the ones the British gave Nigeria to as an estate. From independence, they rigged the election in favour of the caliphate. They gave it to the one who does not want modernisation or modernity. In fact, when we were going too fast for them, they invented Boko Haram. For as long as all this continue to happen, so long will there be retrogression,” Akingba said.
According to Akingba, the delay by President Buhari to form his cabinet after he was sworn in in 2015 was part of the script to slow Nigeria down.
“They said Buhari was a bit late in forming his cabinet; he’s happy. Why should he rush?” Akingba said, declaring that, “Our incompetence are in charge (sic).”
Williams, on his own part, blamed the citizens for electing the wrong set of people to lead them.
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“Idiots do not choose wise people to lead them. Something is wrong with followership in Nigeria,” he said.
According to him, America is more corrupt than Nigeria but unlike in Nigeria, there is no impunity in America.
Speaking through Lawson, Bakare faulted Buhari’s stance that what the country should focus on was the process of governance and not to restructure the nation.
Bakare insisted that the country’s political structure was faulty, stressing that a bad structure could not support anything good.
He criticised the discordant tunes being sung by President Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on the call for the creation of state police. He noted that while Osinbajo had declared that Nigeria needed state police, Buhari, this week, said there was no need for it.