The Chancellor and 6th Convocation Lecturer of the Kwara State University, Malete, Professor Ibrahim Agboola Gambari, has expressed regrets towards how badly Nigeria and its institutions had failed in delivering efficient public goods and services in the past 19 years of democracy, adding that the 2019 elections must be different and a decider.
He stated this while delivering the University’s 6th Convocation Lecture, entitled, `19 Years of Democracy in Nigeria and Beyond: Challenges and Prospects, at the Institution’s Mini Convocation Arena on Friday, June 08, 2018.
Professor Gambari said that it is high time Nigerians started voting for political leaders with a record of accomplishments and not political actors who view politics as an investment, pumping huge amounts into campaigns with intentions of recouping their investments after winning elections.
According to him, Nigerians, in the forthcoming elections, want to see the intensification of the anti-corruption battle on all fronts with thorough investigations and convictions which serve as a credible deterrence.
He added that Nigerians want to celebrate the end of the BokoHaram and other insurgencies and witness an improved economy where there would be job creation and wealth creation.
In his words, “Nigerians want to see a fiscal regime that firms up the naira against the other currencies through effective control of the oil economy and a well-diversified economic culture; they want to see and live in a society where kidnapping is effectively checked; and above all, Nigerians want to see a restructured country where the peoples’ energies are efficiently tapped and run for over-all national wealth creation.”
The Convocation Lecturer said it is saddening that one of the causes of the feverish struggles to occupy political offices is because politics had been greatly monetised, such that many who engaged in the vocation now view it as a do-or-die affair.
``A system that allows for electoral contests to be fiercely fought, not on the basis of issues, but with every conceivable dirty manner resulting into bad blood among the contestants must be actively discouraged.
``I ask that our leaders and all who mean well for our nation should work out a drastic cut in the remuneration of political office holders at the three tiers of government, so that only those with the genuine intention of serving the people and our their societies would seek political offices.
He further stated that there is a need for Nigerians to embrace good governance and imbibe positive values and attitudes which are required for attaining the desirable goals as stipulated in the Nigerian Constitution.
Explaining that democracy was chosen as a palatable system of government for the nation by its founding fathers in appreciation and acknowledgement of its diversity in all facets; ethnicity, religion, human and capital resources as well as differential levels of development, he noted that the country’s democratic system might not attain its full capacity if key challenges facing it were not addressed.
Professor Gambari listed the challenges as socio-economic inequalities, building strong national institution, rebirth of election and democracy and effectiveness in service delivery.
``Having established the major causes of the Nigerian debacle, let me go further to highlight the fact that there can be no development, or political stability, without security and economic success.
``Former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, once pointed out that ‘’there can be no long-term development without security, and no long-term security without development. ‘’Nor will any society remain prosperous for long without the rule of law and respect for human rights.’’
He said Nigerians cannot afford to give up ``notwithstanding the challenges of our immediate past and our present exciting possibilities still exist. We must continue to build the enabling environment for the requisite transformation which we must undergo in order to entrench sustainable development and reposition Nigeria for competitiveness’’.
The diplomat charged all Nigerians to stop all the factors that have hampered the nation’s progress and defeat the enemies of the Nigeria state.
``We must set only the highest targets and most rigorous standards for ourselves as a mark of self-respect and in the firm understanding that in the end, the democracy we practice is one that brings about transformation in all spheres of our national life,’’ he submitted.