• Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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Sanusi, Kolade, Peterside see Nigeria’s growth in meritocracy, accountability


Leading voices of socioeconomic stability in Nigeria, Atedo Peterside, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and Christopher Kolade have urged the government to prioritise meritocracy and accountability over individual and ethno-religious sentiments to drive Nigeria’s growth.

They spoke on charting ways forward during 2020 edition of ‘The Platform,’ a programme organised by Poju Oyemade, founder of The Covenant Nation, marking Nigeria’s 60th independence anniversary, yesterday.

Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, former Emir of Kano, said pursuing the Federal Character policy of drawing representatives from respective states of the country at the expense of merit and competence will continue to hamper Nigeria’s development.

According to Sanusi, despite the constitution providing for ministers to be appointed from each state, it fails to require qualifications that demonstrate appointees possess the capacity to deliver their mandate.

This trend, Sanusi said, profits individual interests and pushes the collective development of the country into jeopardy.

“When someone is appointed to a public office, what are the expectations and deliveries? There must be a periodic assessment, which should be public and transparent. What do you need to do to remain in an office? Is it to deliver or to just be loyal?” Sanusi asked.

“So, if you take a minister from Kano, it doesn’t matter. He could be the most uneducated human being. So long as he is from Kano, you tick that box,” he said.
The former central bank governor noted that the elephant in the room was the destructive trend of decimating institutions into tools that serve the interest of whoever occupied the executive position.

Christopher Kolade, a diplomat and academic, speaking earlier on why lack of public trust in government is rife 60 years after independence, said representatives of the people often fail to give an account of their stewardship.

The country, according to Kolade, is not sensitively appropriated by individuals, and politics is prioritised over good governance as political parties derail from their objectives.
“If you represent somebody, you find out what the person really wants and you have an obligation to give an account of what you have done with the opportunity to be a representative. But they represent themselves and do not account to stakeholders,” Kolade said.

If the nation must move ahead, Sanusi urged that the politics of identity wielded by Nigeria’s elite in competing for the ‘national cake’ must be deemphasised.

Economically, he commended the government for discarding the anachronistic fuel subsidy funding, which he described as a decade-old scam.

However, he said, the country needs to encourage the movement of capital into production, explore diversification, invest in human capital development among youths and cater to the needs of girls’ education.

Creating opportunities for girls to escape poverty could solve intergenerational poverty and even maternal and child mortality, Sanusi said.

Having a progressive attitude to the rights of women, more than half of the population helps the country, he said.

Atedo Peterside, an investment banker and founder of Anap Foundation, said Nigeria was making a big mistake by not harnessing the potentials of its growing youthful population.

For him, the country has made it difficult for youths to attain positions on merit in various public organisations, including the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the central bank, among others.

The renowned economist and also founder of Stanbic IBTC said Nigeria must create opportunities for the youths to have rights to compete for any position both in the public and private spaces.

“The country cannot move forward when most things are gotten through influence. There need to be a level playing field for people to compete,” Peterside said.

Peterside, speaking on the programme aired on Channels TV recently, noted that in Nigeria today, the bulk of the youths were completely disenfranchised. Little wonder they easily get lured into banditry and kidnapping.

According to Peterside, Nigeria’s democracy is in danger as people not eligible to take on leadership find their ways into leading the country. “The easiest way to destroy democracy is by people being in power when they do not merit it,” he said.

He urged youths to speak up and claim their rights at all times, saying, “The youths of this period have an advantage. In our time, we were able to take on activism even though the military was in power, and that is why we were able to deliver the much-needed democracy. This time, the only activism needed of the youths is to restore our democracy, which was fought for.”


Michael Ani & Temitayo Ayetoto