We must elect a leader that has understanding, wisdom to bring people together — Moghalu
Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), who was also a 2023 presidential aspirant on the platform of African Democratic Congress (ADC), Kingsley Moghalu, has advised that in 2023, Nigerians must elect a leader that has understanding, wisdom and large heart to bring people together.
Moghalu, who spoke at a forum in Abuja recently, explained that the understanding the leader needed was that time had come for Nigerians to start telling themselves the truth; have uncomfortable conversations, sit down and renegotiate Nigeria.
He advised further that people should not listen to anyone that says Nigeria is not negotiable, noting that anybody who says that is not being honest because countries are being constantly negotiated.
Though Moghalu does not think Nigeria is as divided as it seems, he believes that the country lacks unifying leadership, hoping that in 2023, the country should be looking for a leader that will begin or rediscover the path of unifying and giving it unity of purpose.
“Despite the diversity of ethnicity or religion, it is possible for Nigeria to be united by something that rises above the things that divide us because that is what builds great nations, and that thing is called world view,” he said.
Describing 2023 as a watershed for Nigeria’s democracy, Moghalu also sees the year as one in which Nigerians should begin to walk back from disaster, stressing that they need to find that leader who can lead the difficult conversations the country must have to stop avoiding telling themselves the truth.
“2023 is a watershed in Nigeria’s democracy because things are coming to a head with suffering, poverty, insecurity etc. But is 2023 going to give us the opportunity of moving forward in truth or is it just another year in the four-yearly recycling cycle?” he wondered.
The former CBN boss lamented that some people were talking about unity yet; all the parastatals are filled with their ethnic compatriots. “And they are telling you about unity, blaming those who are agitating. The part of leadership is to engage in difficult questions; Nigeria is not working because we have walked away from the original consensus,” he said.
Read also: Only Obi can perform the best ‘miracle’ in Nigeria — Victor Umeh
He recalled that there was a consensus that was formed between 1947 and 1951, which recognised that Nigeria was a big country of diverse people and what will work for it was federalism. This, he explained, was because nobody wanted anyone or any part of the country to dominate the other.
“The north and south west (Ahmadu Bello, Awolowo) were in agreement with this consensus. Azikwe did not agree with this consensus; he did not believe in federalism, he wanted a unitary state because he felt, in his mind, that will bring people together.
The others made very strong argument to him and eventually he came around to that consensus; the three of them agreed and that was the basis of the Macpherson constitution,” he said.
Moghalu noted that it was not an accident that big countries like Australia, India, Germany, United State, etc with diverse population use a federal system of government, where power is devolved down to people and people can take charge of their destinies.
“The federal government will be in charge of foreign affairs, defense, armed forces, central bank, immigration. They should be in charge of things that are universal to everybody that belongs to a country; the rest should go down to the local levels,” he said.
He harped on the need for a good the educational system, stressing that educational system is the foundation of every country which is what creates patriotism, value and gives people skills to be competitive in the world.
He noted that, today, the educational system in Nigeria has collapsed which is why the country is no more discussing the quality of education, but rather discussing whether or not people are physically present in school because of ASUU strike.
“The educational system of Nigeria today has become the first point of contact in a long line of unemployment. People graduate from school and join the long line of unemployment; many of them are not employable anymore because what we should be doing for the 21st century is to educate our children with skills.
There is no country that can rise to greatness without a philosophical foundation, without respect for knowledge, without respect for ideas that shape the world. In Nigeria, our electoral system is part of our problem,” he said.
He was of the view that Nigeria needs to make progress and to do that it needs leaders with intellectual ideas. He recalled that, in the 1950s and 60s, Nigeria’s leaders had a lot of intellectualism and these included Awolowo, Azikwe and Ahmed Bello, who were not perfect, they had structural issues, ethnic issue, but at least they had ideas and they were using those ideas to develop their regions.
“Today in Nigeria, when you are a politician and intellectual, our citizens have been acultured to saying, ‘that man is intelligent but he is just blowing grammar’. Any group that thinks like this can never elect the kind of leaders they need, so they will get the one they deserve,” he said.
At the moment, he added, Nigeria needs a leader that will build the country into a great nation, pointing out that nation building means unifying a country that is diverse and giving it unity of purpose.
He said that the aspect of nation building people don’t understand is building institutions that are strong, independent and effective. “You cannot have democracy without two things—one is an enlightened and empowered citizenry that knows the issues that need to be dealt with and should attest candidates according to those issues.
The other is that you cannot have democracy without independent institution upholding rule of law. We don’t have that in Nigeria today; we are hoping that INEC will show itself as an independent institution in 2023 election,” he said.