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Nigeria@60: Experts Task Youths to Take Ownership of Governance in #FixingNigeria

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Godsgift Onyedinefu

As Nigeria celebrates her 60 years anniversary, youths have been charged to be more involved in governance by taking ownership of the process and demanding accountability from political office holders to bring an end to bad leadership in fixing Nigeria.

This charge was given on Thursday at the 3rd annual #FixingNigeria National Youth Conference, convened by Ernest and Ibrahim Foundation, at the Shehu Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja.

Shola Olapade of Leadership and Governance Consultant, said it was time for youths to move away from making noise or agitations over government actions in the background and start taking part in the process of electing leaders, critiquing party manifestoes and start sponsoring legislations that will enthrone transparency at all levels of government.

According to him, no governance without accountability and youths should instigate how the country have fared in the past 60 years in respect to accountability by public office holders.

“If we are going to have accountability and transparency, we must reexamine how leaders emerge, you cannot hold accountable a elder, when you were not part of the process of putting him in office, its impossible.

“How many of us as youths truly go through the manifestos of political officers, if you don’t know the manifesto how then will you hold the person accountable? We need to stop the noise making and critic their manifestoes and what they have promised and hold them accountable to it”, he said.

Olapade noted tgat several people seeking political office today, see political leadership as just an attainment for selfish reasons, while also disclosing that there are some laws in Nigeria that make it difficult to convict people who abuse public office.

He said, “There are laws that have been enacted recently and there are agitations, but. Where were we when the public hearings were holding, or constitution review by the National Assembly? We seem more drawn towards noise making, than at the core processes itself.

“We need to get involved today, we need to begin to sponsor legislations that will make transparency and accountability unavoidable for anyone in office, how well have we participated in the legislature process in our nation?, he queried.

Dr. Ike Neliaku, Nigerian Prize for Leadership also speaking, regrets that several Nigerian leaders are only there without a purpose and for selfish reason, but have gone scot-free under the watch of the youths and even the media and CSOs.

“We have a deputy senate president sitting in office who was alleged to have stolen the maze, we saw it on National television, but today he is your deputy senate president and you can do nothing about it and we allow such things.

“We have a speaker who was alleged to have committed some breaches on his legal practice in Atlanta, and we are told that as a result of that he was suspended for some years. Today, he has returned to Nigeria, today, he is your number four citizen making laws for you and we are talking about accountability and transparency and Nigeria not working”, he said.

Neliaku pointed out that the media and CSOs also have roles to play in the processes, to expose bad things, for Nigeria to work.

He reiterated the call for the establishment of hall of shame to expose bad political leaders.

“The nation does not have shame anymore and this is why many people have been pushing that we establish the hall of shame. The same way we have the hall of fame we should have the hall of shame, we should publish the names of people that are not doing right

Neliaku, said Nigeria clocking 60 signals that it was time to get it right and get the country working by rethinking various faces of governance.

“We are celebrating 60 years, the nation has reached a point that we get it right now. Therefore, we need to rethink leadership, the characters that we accept as leaders and the process of recruiting our leaders must change. We must begin to raise questions about those who lead us”, he said.

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Meanwhile, speaking on the recurring security situation of Nigeria, Mr. Senator Iroegbu, Publisher, Global Sentinel, said it was time for Nigeria to decentralise her security architecture.

Iroegbu noted that the call for state and community policing should be headed to by government to effectively tackle the hydra- headed security challenges

He said Nigeria is the only federal state still running a uniteralised security architecture compared to other western worlds, while pointing out that security situation differs in different regions of the country and therefore requires local solution.

He said, “Nigeria is the only federal system of government that have a mismatch with their security architecture. You can’t have a federal system, governed by uniteralized security architecture, it doesn’t work. In other climes with federal system, secure architecture is decentralised.

“There are calls for state police, community police, but nobody is listening. A community police still controlled by the centre will not work. The problem in Niger Delta is different from the problem in northeast. You can localise the solution, then we can have efficient security”, Iroegbu added.

The publisher also noted that transparency, accountability in security governance as well as political will on the part of government are key in tackling insecurity.

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