By Taiye Odewale Abuja
All the leaders that governed Nigeria from May 1999 till date are more or less accidental leaders giving the manner of their emergence, former Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon Ghali Umar Na’Abba, has declared.
The former lawmaker blamed the nation’s leadership recruitment process for the accidental leadership as againstprepared and vision-driven leadership obtainable in most other democracies of the world.
He said: “Circumstances at hand or situations on ground have, to a large extent over the years, determined who and who was elected into office in Nigeria as President since 1999 as against level of preparedness on the part of the leaders in terms of clear vision and programmes obtainable in most democracies of the world culminating in accidental leadership for the country.
According him, accidental leadership brings about trial and error in governance, which he insisted remained the nation’s lot from 1999 till date, with attendant poor governance and frustrations on the part of Nigerians.
The former speaker disclosed this in Abuja during the 2016/2017 Matriculation and Fellowship Endowment Ceremony of the National Institute for Legislative Studies (NILS),.
He lamented the nation’s leadership recruitmentprocess, which in his view had been hijacked by a few politicians.
Na’Abba, therefore, advocated for what he called regular “tutorials” for political leaders at all levels, and called on more Nigerians to participate in politics with a view to opening up the political space.
“I believe that not just the Legislature, every arm of government that is serving the purpose of governance must invest in exposing democracy to the people.
It is a sad commentary on our political life that today, recruitment into leadership has been subverted by a few politicians because they deny Nigerians opportunity to run elections and achieve their aspirations through the systematic appropriation of political parties to themselves
“These politicians have stopped the growth of democracy.
And it is true that unless democracy is allowed to grow, we cannot achieve the desired political growth, we cannot achieve the desired economic growth and we can also not achieve the desired social growth in our country.
And that is why we are still in political, economic and social doldrums.
We have been having successive accidental leaders since 1999.
“It is time for us to begin to understand that the more participation Nigerians enjoy in politics, the more political development we attain, and consequently economic and social development.
“We have been advocating that tutorials must be taking place on a continuous basis for stakeholders in democracy from the local governments to the states.
Every stakeholder, particularly party executives, because what is sad today is that most of those who hold positions at the executive level in our political parties cannot distinguish the duties, functions and distinction between and among our political institutions.
So, with this lack of knowledge it is almost impossible for them to understand the kind of people that should serve at various levels.
” On his part, the Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, said the National Assembly had made appreciable eff orts in fulfi lling its democratic obligations to Nigerians by paying particular attention to capacity-building.
Dogara explained that parliamentary capacity development was important to ensure balance of power among the branches of a democratic system.
He commended NILS/ UNIBEN for the programmes designed to build capacity of legislative staff .
Dogara said the knowledge imparted to participants would build a pool of competent staff and members to enhance international best practices in the discharge of their duties.
Also speaking, NILS Director-General, Prof. Ladi Hamalai congratulated the students and urged them to take their studies seriously.
Over 85 students matriculated in Masters in Legislative Drafting, Masters in Parliamentary Administration as well as Masters in Legislative Students.
Besides Na’Abba, four former Presiding Officers of the National Assembly received NILS Award of Fellowship.
They include: former Senate President from 1979 to 1983, Sen.Joseph Wayas; Dr. Ken Nnamani (2005 to 2007); Rt. Hon. Aminu Bello Masari (2003 to 2007) and current Governor of Katsina state, and former Deputy Senate President , Sen. Ibrahim Mantu (2001 to 2007).