• Monday, April 22, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Many politicians put their own interests ahead of national interest — Christopher Kolade

Dr-Christopher-Kolade (1)

Christopher Kolade, a former director general of the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation and Nigerian high commissioner to the United Kingdom, says many politicians today tend to put their personal interest ahead of national interest.

The nonagenarian said this during Channels Television’s ‘Amazing Africans’ programme last week.

Speaking at the programme, Kolade reflected on the sensitive nature of politics, noting that participation in decision-making can sometimes conflict with personal values and principles. He expressed reluctance to enter politics due to concerns about compromising his authenticity.

Drawing a comparison between contemporary politicians and those of the First Republic, Kolade highlighted a shift in priorities, with past politicians prioritising national interests over personal gain.

He lamented the perceived decline in selfless service among politicians, emphasising the sacrifices made by earlier leaders for the good of the country.

“I can tell that my experience with the politicians of the First Republic was that they actually worked for Nigeria; they actually were serving the country, they put themselves and their own interests lower than the national interests and some of them in order to serve the country well were actually imprisoned, they suffered hardships in order to get the country to where they thought it should go. I think that has changed.

“I believe that today many politicians, in fact most politicians that I know of, tend to put their own interests ahead of the national interest,” Christopher Kolade said.

Reflecting on Nigeria’s development, Kolade emphasised the contributions of past generations in shaping the nation’s trajectory.

The former high commissioner acknowledged the sacrifices made by earlier leaders, including imprisonment, to advance the country’s interests. Despite recognising imperfections in past actions, he underscored the existence of Nigeria today as a testament to their efforts.

He posed questions about Nigeria’s future and the role of current and future generations in its evolution. He emphasised the collective responsibility of each generation in shaping the nation’s destiny, urging Nigerian youth to recognise their responsibilities and not perceive themselves as beholden to older generations.

“The youths of today should just realise that they are not they are not servants of the older generation,” he said.

Reminiscing about his relationship on the late Akintola Williams, a renowned accountant and mentor figure. Kolade recalled their initial encounter when Williams’ accounting firm served as external auditors for the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation, where he worked. Despite the age gap, Williams took an interest in Kolade’s ideas and eventually became his mentor.

He highlighted Williams’ continued support even after his retirement, particularly through his attendance at annual lectures held in his honour.

“He was very good, he gave me all the confidence that I was doing the right thing but second he then told me what the options were. He said, ‘Listen, you’re director general of the National Broadcasting Commission today. Now, you cannot go into the private sector looking for a chief executive job because your experience in the public service is not a qualification for private sector job. Therefore, you must start by understanding that you have a lot to learn,” Kolade said.