By Anayo Ezugwu
FOR Nigeria to be great again, it needs patriotic leaders who are ready to fight the old order. Peter Obi, former governor of Anambra State, along with other speakers at the second anniversary lecture of Global Patriot Newspaper in Lagos on Thursday, drummed home the fact, especially when he said that the religious and ethnic agitations going on are as a result of leadership failures of the past and present leaders of the country.
Obi, who was the guest lecturer spoke on the theme of the lecture: “Patriotism, Untapped Potentials and National Development”. He said leadership is all about giving hope to the hopeless. He said the greatest problem of Nigeria is that the leaders are not patriotic enough to make sacrifice for the citizenry.
“We have leaders who never care and not patriotic enough. They have not made a sacrifice that will make the country work. It is lack of patriotism that is making us talk of corruption. Our cost of governance is too high. When you talk of patriotism, you talk of leaders showing and making sacrifices and behaving like people who are elected into office to serve the people.
“We need new set of leaders who will be ready to make sacrifice and leaders that will be ready to use public funds for public good. We need committed leaders and those who are passionate about leading the country. Patriotism is for all of us but we need leaders who can challenge the old order,” he said.
Obi said there was the need for leaders to inspire patriotism through good governance. He said the neglect of people by successive leaderships had made the people not to believe in the country. “The people are hopeless because successive leaders have neglected them; that is why we are having these patriotism issues in the country. We need leaders that will sacrifice for the people and inspire them to greatness. We need leaders who will extract patriotism from the people through good governance.”
The former governor urged Nigerian leaders to rise up to the challenge of leadership by inspiring hope in the led. He said the development strides of countries such as China were not by accident, but by visionary leadership.
In his address, Femi Adesina, special adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on media and publicity, said patriotic zeal of citizens is very important for national development. He pointed out that no country developed without the patriotic zeal of citizens, noting that patriotism is also an ingredient for nationalism. He said the present administration was taking practical steps at realising the Nigerian dream.
“We need to love our country even when things are tough. We do not have any other country to call our own. Nigeria is a country blessed with human and material potential. Unfortunately, the Nigerian dream had been deferred for too long. We now have an administration that is determined to explore and exploit the country‘s potential for greatness.
“That is why we are talking about diversification and all that, and we are beginning to see some movements in agriculture, solid minerals and other critical areas. We also have Economic Recovery Growth Plan Programme to place the economy on the path of progress and grow the GDP,” he said.
Adesina, however, said the task of building the Nigeria of everyone’s dream was not a task for the administration alone, but needed the concerted efforts of all Nigerians. He, therefore, urged Nigerians, irrespective of political affiliations, to move in the same development direction with the current administration. The special adviser identified nepotism, fake news, hate speeches as some of the impediments to development, urging citizens to shun them.
On his part, Sam Ohuabunwa, former president, Neimeth International Pharmaceuticals PLC, and chairman of the occasion, said the theme of the lecture is very important at this time of Nigeria’s nationhood. He said patriotism is so tied to the progress of Nigeria. He said leaders had more responsibility to instil patriotism in the lead, urging leaders to deliver the goods to promote patriotism.
“I think that patriotism is something that we should continually be working on for the progress and development of the nation. We need to work on patriotism otherwise we will be preaching without action. And action is what is needed to make the nation progressive. We must take responsibility of our actions and in-actions as a nation,” he said.
– Nov. 24, 2017 @ 15:05 GMT /