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Nigeria’s leadership problem caused by distorted political culture -Ezekwesili

Former Minister of Education, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, has said that one of the root causes of Nigeria’s leadership problem was distorted political culture where leaders…

Former Minister of Education, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, has said that one of the root causes of Nigeria’s leadership problem was distorted political culture where leaders place personal interests above public goods.

She said this at the 2022 Class Graduation of the School of Politics, Policy, and Governance (SPPG) themed: ‘Designing Our Global Future with Africa in Mind’ on Saturday in Abuja.

Ezekwesili who stressed the need for disruptive thinking in the nation’s political space, said that there must be a change of mindset by leaders to face the growing economy and security challenges in the country.

According to her, character, competence and capacity was the missing gap in producing good leadership in the African continent.

Ezekwesili, who is also the founder of SPPG, said, “What we found is that not just Nigeria, but across Africa, there is a political culture that is distorted. It’s the political culture where those who are in public leadership subordinates the public good.

“That is the common good for their personal and narrow interests. And so, what it means is that the common good and public good is not served by people who should be serving. So, in order to correct that, you have to basically customize a new leadership mindset.

“So, the training that we gave at the School of Politics, policy and governance is one that has the content to reset the mindset of those who wish to lead in public service. They lead by serving, they place character at the foundation of the knowledge that we give to them by improving on their competency and the capacity.

“And for them to be able to articulate sound policies, be able to design institutions that enable society to advance and to have the capacity to make the right choices of investment in the goods and services that countries need in order to grow,” she said.

The former Vice President of the World Bank’s Africa Region, also said that ahead of the 2023 general elections, such distorted political culture could be corrected with sufficient information on the part of the Nigerians.

She said that there is a need to continue to educate and sensitize the citizens on consequences of making bad electoral decisions.

Also speaking, the Chief Executive Officer of SPPG, Alero Ayida-Otobo, said the institution was designed to transform the quality of political and public leadership in Nigeria and the rest of Africa.

She said that the 2022 graduating class comprises of 133 students after undergoing 10 intensive months of training and learning.

“For the class of 2022, there are about 133 students graduating. The pioneer class were 160 and they have gone through 10 intensive months of training and learning. They studied 140 topics, seven thematic areas.

“Research shows that they were certain gaps in the knowledge base of lots of public leaders. So, this is our own contribution in building the knowledge base of future leader’s and we are very pleased that we have 133 graduands.

“A lot of them are already doing great work. They are already community organizers serving at the community level and recruiting individuals that have the potential to be part of our community. We also have among them at least three that scale through the primaries conducted by parties,” Ayida-Otobo said.

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