The former presidential candidate of the Young Progressives Party (YPP), Kingsley Moghalu, says Nigeria has spent 22 years chasing shadows due to failure of leadership.
Moghalu made the remark at the 10th Emeka Anyaoku lecture held in Anambra on Thursday.
Speaking on the topic, ‘Leadership and the Challenge of Development in Nigeria’, he said true leadership is not about holding positions of power.
He said leadership is about exhibiting a character that upholds core values, and the competence to bring those values to bear in a manner that creates change and sustains social progress.
“We have spent five decades including our 22 years of democracy since 1999 chasing shadows because we have failed or neglected to focus on the question of leadership,” he said.
“This failure of leadership, is why we have politics without governance, and why politics is the biggest business in our country while real businesses and the economy are being steadily destroyed by leadership failure and incompetence.”
He said for economic, political, and institutional development to happen, effective leadership must be backed by good governance.
While saying that the quest for competent and capable Nigerian leaders must begin with an understanding of what such leadership must deliver, Moghalu gave recommendations for Nigeria to attain true leadership.
He said: “Political parties in their internal democracy must now begin to prioritize leadership vision and governance capacity in the selection of their candidates for electoral office. For example, candidate selection by parties for the presidential elections should prioritize aspirants who are versed in the economy, nation building and international relations and foreign policy.
“We need to focus on the political education of citizens to know what they should be looking for in order to make informed voting decisions. This is a necessary part of a shift in emphasis from mere politics to elections as a democratic search in real leadership without which good governance will remain a mirage.
“Non-partisan actors such as elder statesmen including Nigerian’s living former heads of state and government, as well as clergy, traditional rulers, civil society and professional bodies must now begin to play a more robust role in leadership selection in Nigeria.
“Leadership and governance training and education should be formally instituted in political parties and in the institutions of government across the board at leadership levels.
“The constitutional reordering of Nigeria, returning the country to true federalism including the devolution of powers to regions, will improve leadership and governance by bringing governance accountability closer to Nigerian citizens.”