From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said the country is in desperate need of leaders with capacity and character to govern it.
Gbajabiamila stated this, yesterday, in Abuja while speaking at the opening ceremony of the Legislative Mentorship Initiative (LMI).
He said Nigeria, and the rest of the world, is currently experiencing rapid change in every facet of life.
He said the consequences of these changes would depend on how the country responded to them and the quality of decision making in politics, governance, as well as the choice of ideas citizens invest in.
The speaker, who spoke on the theme: ‘Youth leadership and the future of democracy: Harnessing the power of young people in Nigeria’, said while some of these changes were technological; others were economic and political.
“There is also a great deal of demographic and population change. All are happening at the same time. It is clear to anybody paying attention that the old equilibrium is unsettled, and the rules of the old order no longer apply. What is less clear is what happens next. Whatever happens, Nigeria desperately needs leaders with the capacity and character to manage change.
“The consequences of the changes happening in our world today will depend on how we respond, the decisions we make, and the ideas we choose to invest in. The quality of our decision-making in politics and governance will define the course of our country. Whether we achieve progress, prosperity, peace, and security for all our people depends entirely on the capacity and competence of our political leadership,” he said.
The speaker, while stating that the mandate of the LMI is to develop the leaders who will shape the future of the country and the world, said though many young people are eager to make a change, they cannot change anything, except they understand and participate in the political and governance process.
“We aim to involve more young people and direct their energies into tangible contributions to good governance and national development.
“The legitimacy of the democratic system of government derives from and is sustained by the quality of outcomes – social opportunity, economic prosperity, national security, the rule of law and protection of individual rights.
“When democratic self-government falls short of these expectations, it frays the social consensus and public support necessary to sustain it. In many critical ways, our best expectations of democracy have not been met for various reasons. The question for our consideration is, ‘what does this portend for the future of democracy in Nigeria?’
“On May 29, 2023, a new president will be inaugurated, and we will mark 24 years since Nigeria’s return to democratic rule. A significant portion of our population today are young people that have no experience of a military government and are not conditioned to see democracy as an absolute good for its own sake.
“They bear no allegiance to politics and politicians, and their judgment of governing systems and institutions is determined by whether those individuals, systems and institutions meet their expectations.
“For these young people, Nigeria has been a democracy for all or most of their lives. As more of them come of age, they are questioning the systems and structures of politics of governance and challenging flaws and limitations as they see them.
“They are not as inclined as generations before them to excuse the failures of democracy because the alternative of military rule is worse,” he said.