To build strong institutions in Nigeria where leaders are subjected to the will of the people they govern at all times, Nigerians should shun ethnicity while holding their leaders to account.
These were the words of experts in governance who spoke at the 2019 edition of Aelex Annual Lecture in Lagos on Wednesday.
Speaking on the theme of the event, “Strong Men Versus Strong Institutions: Strengthening Democracy in Africa”, PLO Lumumba, a professor who was the guest speaker at the event, said African nations including Nigeria would thrive better if they define issues relating to them in line with their peculiarities.
He explained that even though Nigeria gained independence many decades ago, the nation still depends on the dictates and the definitions of its colonial masters, thereby impacting negatively on it and its masses.
While acknowledging that Nigeria is unique with its diverse ethnic groups, he said it must continue to hold its leaders to account regardless of the ethnic group they come from.
He defined a strong man as a leader who is clear and resolute about his plans for his people, adding that this kind of men need strong institutions to succeed.
“Strong institutions are necessary to ensure strong men succeed,” Lumumba said.
The institutions, Lumumba said, can only happen if the leaders follow the rule of law which is constantly reviewed to meet the realities of the people they serve.
Also speaking, Joe Abah, a former director general of Bureau of Public Service Reforms, maintained that Nigerians need to stop giving excuses on the impact of the colonial masters on the country; rather, the nation should to learn to be independent.
He also advised Nigerians to focus more on the country and not themselves.
“Nigerians will tell you this is the problem and when you ask what can be done, they will say they don’t know, only God can help,” Abah said.
He said rather than doing this, everyone needs to take responsibility of doing the right thing by putting the country first before their ethnic groups, religion, and any other considerations.