2023: Buhari, Sultan, Lumumba ask Nigerians to elect right leaders
Ahead of the 2023 general election, President Muhammadu Buhari, Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar and Patrick Lumumba, a Pan Africanist and former Director of Kenyan Anti-corruption agency, on Monday charged Nigerians on electing credible leaders in 2023.
The leaders while speaking at the 10th year memorial lecture in honour of second Republic Senate Leader, Olusola Saraki, urged Nigerians to elect leaders with the capacity to deliver on their campaign promises.
Buhari who was represented by the Borno state Governor, Babagana Zulu’s, in his speech, described Olusola Saraki, as a Nigerian statesman and philanthropist, who participated in shaping the evolution of Nigeria’s political landscape.
Guest speaker, Patrick Lumumba, in his speech titled ‘Speaking Truth to Power’ said “true and sustainable leadership required that the leader grooms good followers that are capable of holding their leaders to account”.
Lumumba berated African leaders for their inability to properly articulate and find solutions to the challenges facing the continent.
According to him, “Africa is not at ease because it is suffering from the deficit of leadership
He noted that Nigeria has a critical role to play, if Africa must come out of its current economic challenges, adding that as long as Nigeria is not at ease, Africa will never be at ease.
Tracing Africa’s challenges to leadership deficit, the Kenyan anti corruption crusader, added that leadership is about service and it is a great honour and a privilege to be called serve.
He noted that Nigeria, with an economy of about $500 billion is yet to actualise its potentials.
“With proper leadership, Nigeria should be a $4 trillion economy,” Lumumba said.
He said, “The continent is not at ease because the continent is suffering from a deficit of leadership. As long as Nigeria is not at ease, Africa will never be at ease. If Africa wants to be at ease, Nigeria must be at ease. She is the largest economy in Africa. She has a population of about 200 million people.
According to him, “One out of every African is a Nigerian. She is represented in every sector, the best Engineers, are Nigerians, the best doctors, are Nigerians, the best lawyers, are Nigerians, but also if you want Yahoo boys, they are Nigerians. Nigerians are present everywhere in the world.
“Nigeria I am told in a $500billion economy, but we can never ever be proud of that as Nigerians, this is an economy that should be at least a $4trillion in its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Whenever you reach that level, then I will say that Nigeria is doing the right thing. All the ingredients are there, the question is, why is she not realizing its potentials?
Speaking on corruption, Lumumba recalled in comparative terms, that Nigerian leaders have soiled their hands, with the misuse of the nation’s resources, adding that “ when Kenneth Kaunda left office, it was said of him, that the only amount he had in his account was an equivalent of $5,000. That is what your current politicians eat for breakfast. I can remember when Julius Nyarere left office after 24 years, the only amount he had in his account was an equivalent of $8,000. That is what your current politicians use for a single visit to a gymnasium.
“They were leaders who were selfless. They understood that it was an honour and priviledge, they sacrificed their lives, they saw the position of leadership as leading their brethren, they never thought that they were superior to the people they led. They did not believe that they had the monopoly of wisdom and knowledge. They were leaders because they were servants”
Lumumba maintained that Africa must go beyond the ethnic walls to build a progressive nation.
“As Samora Machelle said, if the continent of Africa must succeed, tribe must die, and if the tribe does not die, the new nation must never thrive. In most Africa, we use those cultural differences to divide the people. We use those cultural differences to reinforces centrifugal forces and therefore threaten the very nation which we all desire. You have the duty to ensure that you are in front in order to serve and not to be served.
On followership, he said that for a leader must be able to get the people out of ignorance and not be a afraid of followers that will question his decisions. He said that a true and sustainable leadership also requires a followership that is enlightened.
According to him, a leaders must build a “followership that calls you to account, a followership that is going to make demands of you, a followership that can question what he or she is doing, a followership that knows that when you say that you going to deliver heaven on earth, they know that that is a mere advertisement and that you are incapable of delivering heaven on earth. A followership that knows that when you are promising that you will deliver something in 100 days which ordinarily can be done in five years, you are only a liar.
What do African leaders do, African leaders in many Africa countries have now assigned the question of educating their followers to NGOs, CBO which are financed by the Americans, European and other civilizations. How do you imagine that other people will have the interest of Nigeria at heart? The last time I checked, he who plays the piper dictates the tune”.
Chairman of the occasion, Sa’ad Abubakar noted that “ because we know the importance of pricking peoples conscience, telling them what to do and how to do things. Shiek Usman Dan Fodio said “Conscience is an open wound only truth can heal it.” So we have to tell our leaders the whole truth, sometimes when we say the truth as it is, some leaders don’t feel so good about it, but we will continue saying the truth in whatever we do and whatever we say.
“When we do so, leaders should take such comments, as advice from people who are so concerned about what happens to the people that the Almighty Allah place under their care as leaders, so that you can discharge and acquit yourself most honorably here on earth. Because Almighty Allah will ask you when you meet him, what did you do with the life I gave you in the world.
“For leaders we want to urge you to always uphold the truth, be honest, be transparent and be accountable because Almighty Allah will ask you. I pray our politicians so many of them are here will listen Lumumba is going to say and take some away and go and use in your campaigns.
“Campaign honestly, campaign like a gentleman and convince people to vote for you and when you do get the votes, discharge your responsibility to the best of your knowledge”