A former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, has blamed Nigerian leaders for the erosion of national core values in the country.
Jega spoke at a leadership summit organised by Citizenship and Leadership Training Centre of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, on Thursday in Abuja, according to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN.
Theme of the summit was: ”Upholding the Core Nigerian Values.”
He said that the leaders, through their actions, inactions and statements, discourage the citizens to recognise and be guided by the national core values.
According to him, Nigeria’s core values, as defined in the constitution, have been essentially ignored with impunity as guides to policy making and implementation.
Jega said that national core values, since incorporation into the 1979 Constitution, were not taken seriously by the operators of the constitution for compliance.
According to him, the non-compliance with core national values had systematically undermined unity, harmony and peaceful co-existence.
Jega said that public officials in virtually all states of the federation have continued to assign more rights to the so-called indigenes than to citizens with impunity.
The former INEC chief said: “This contradiction is at the root of most of the causes of instability, conflicts and violence in contemporary Nigeria.
“Nigerian citizens, who are residents in states other than their states of origin, invariably find themselves marginalised, excluded and disempowered and literally stripped of the rights conferred on them by citizenship.”
He also deplored the deficiency of traditional and religious leaders in compliance with wider societal values.
“Even, those who, socio-culturally, are perceived as having moral authority, such as religious community and the traditional leaders are remarkably deficient in their compliance with the wider societal core value systems, not to mention the constitutionally identified core national values,” he said.
The former INEC chairman, therefore, urged the Federal Government to invest heavily in the inculcation and sustenance of national core values, with focus on nurturing and empowering the drivers of change, especially youths.
“Government agencies saddled with the task of reviving the core values need to be strengthened and empowered to be active and effective in the discharge of this important responsibilities,” he added.
In his remarks, the Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalong, called on Nigerian leaders to lead by example in upholding the national values.
Dalong also urged the state governments to invest heavily on provision of quality education, which according to him, remains the best way of reviving the eroding national core values.
As the 2019 general elections draw near, the minister cautioned youths against being used to destabilise the process.