2023: School of Governance faults nation’s leadership recruitment process

An elderly man votes during FCT area council election

The School of Politics, Policy and Governance (SPPG) founded by former minister of education, Obiageli Ezekwesili, has urged Nigerians to elect only leaders they can trust with state resources.

The institute which expressed concern over the paucity of leadership in the country, said the 2023 poll is a critical time to rescue Nigeria from from its current challenges.

At the launch of the alumni association of the school, Friday , Chief Executive Officer of SPPG, Alero Ayida-Otobo, said the institute has adopted the reorientation of its students based on competence, character and capacity as the defining qualities of leadership.

She said: “The most important thing right now is to use criteria based on three things. One is can the person solve the problems on ground? Are they knowledgeable? Can people trust him or her with money? Governance is about using state resources judiciously and then we should ask if the person has the track record to use resources judiciously and implement projects that will benefits the people.

“We must ask ourselves if we are interested to rescue the nation from the current challenges. We must educate the man on the street who allows money politics to work on the need to change the narrative. Yes, money is needed to run elections in any part of the world, but that should be money to run the system not to bribe the people. If we are to change the way things are done then we need to pay the price.

“If we look at the current situation, something seems to be changing. People are being activated. Today, they can be Obi-dient or any other name, what that movement is saying is we have had enough. And we better have enough. Many times I wonder how people even survive. We have to push the narrative that enough is enough and that we are tired”

While noting that the country’s leadership recruitment process is faulty, Ayida-Otobo said it was a major factor that has retarded Nigeria’s progress for quite some time now.

She added that for the nation to move forward, the culture of extreme monetisation of the political processes by some political actors must stop.

Speaking on the idea behind the establishment of the institution, Ayida-Otobo said that with the growing needs around Africa for quality leadership particularly in Nigeria, the SPPG was determined to bridge the gaps experienced in these areas.

According to her, the institution is an unconventional school of the research-anchored #FixPolitics initiative that is designed to transform the quality of political and public leadership in Nigeria and the rest of Africa.

She said the SPPG has a continental focus and commenced in Nigeria in 2020 with expansion plans into Senegal in 2023, as the first step before six other countries.

“As a continent, we are having leadership gap in three areas which is character, competence, and capacity. If you’ve worked for a government official before, and you have the misfortune of working for a commissioner or a minister that is not very effective, that can be a very painful experience that because for various reasons, they’re not able to do it.

“So that gap of competence is a real gap. And then the third pillar of democracy is the constitutional and electoral framework which we are also trying to improve upon”, she added.

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