Dividends of Democracy: Nigeria Needs Transformational Leaders -Jega

Former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, has lamented that Nigerians have not been able to enjoy the dividends of democracy since the commencement of the current democratic rule as a result of bad governance.

He said if Nigerians were to achieve good dividends of democracy, good leaders that could be transformational and transitional were majorly required.

Professor Jega who said this in Ilorin, while delivering a paper at the retreat organized by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) said it’s unfortunate that Nigeria had been experiencing bad leadership since the return of civil rule.

He also said that though Nigeria paraded leaders, but the country was in short supply of good leaders.

The former INEC chairman said, “Nigeria has been on a trajectory of liberal democratic development continuously for 23 years, since 1999 when the military returned to the barracks, while every four years we have routinely elected representatives into the legislative and executive arms of government, there is consensus that these elements of liberal democratic development have not yet translated into substantive socioeconomic development that satisfies the needs and aspirations of the overwhelming majority of citizens.

“For the past 23 years, the country has been in democratic rule, but the so-called dividends of democracy has not yet been desirable for majority of Nigerian Citizens.

“Unfortunately, there has been bad leadership, not that there are no good leaders in the country but they are in short supply while the Democratic institutions are also weak.

“In general, leadership at all tiers of the Nigerian federation has not been good; it has been essential bad and undemocratic; characterized by bad, rather than good, democratic governance

“Many national organizations and institutions have been afflicted/affected by this tendency towards bad governance.

“The basic things we require in good governance are good leaders that can be transformational and transitional if we are to achieve good dividends of democracy.”

The professor of Political Science, Bayero University, Kano whose paper was titled: “Importance of Personal Leadership Competencies in an Organization in Transition”, said that key qualities of leadership in a democratic context stated that the country needs leader with good representation, responsible and responsiveness, integrity and honesty adding that such a leader must have cognate experience and competence who understands democratic governance and must be a leader who can inspire and motivate the followership.

“We also need institutions that can inspire good governance”, the former INEC chairman said.

In his speech, the Director-General, National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), Professor Abubakar Sulaiman said that Nigeria cannot afford to fail its citizenry in its over two decades of democratic evolution.

He said the pessimism expressed through western apologists about the survival of democracy in the country should be perceived b recorded and not a setback.

On the retreat, Sulaiman said it was convened for management staff of the institute to key into the agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and National Assembly under the leadership of Senator Godswill Akpabio.

He maintained that the country has started experiencing changes in the economy with the present administration and harped on the need to deepen the partnership between the executive and legislative organs.