How Ex-presidents, Governors Weakened Nigeria’s Leadership – Adebayo


The Social Democratic Party (SDP) presidential candidate in the 2023 election, Prince Adewole Adebayo, has blamed former presidents and state governors for Nigeria’s weakening leadership structure.

Adebayo, reflecting on the political system in the country, said  incumbents, at state and federal levels, always handed over power to weak successors because they want to remain relevant after leaving office.

He said this behaviour weakens the leadership system in Nigeria which has devastating consequences for the country.

He said: “Every incumbent wants you to miss them when they go. They will look for somebody who is weaker than them to succeed them. They are not playing to their strength. The Nigerian Army started by trying to recruit the best who could defend the country and raise cadres below them so that by the time you were a major in the Army, you were already leading leaders under you who could lead the country. That was how the Army started.

“But when the Army joined politics, the leadership started looking for people who will not take over from them, who will obey them. Then the leadership quality dropped in the Armed Forces, such that you could be a general and not have the quality of somebody who would have been a captain when the Army started. As it was with the Army then, the public lost confidence in them and in 1999 they had to leave.



“The same thing has been happening now in our politics since 1999 till now. The doctrine is, don’t look for somebody who will outperform you, who will outshine you, who will do better than you, who is clever, who is smarter, who is more intelligent, who is ethical, who is independent minded.”



He however said people with ideas, ethics and discipline would be encouraged to join political leadership if the leadership recruitment process is tilted towards having persons better than incumbents assume office.



“To do that, it will be done at three levels: at the level of political leadership, they will be looking for candidates. Political parties will be begging you and saying you have done well in your private life, come and lead us, come and be our candidates, we will support you, we will push you.



“Personally, that was what I will say, SDP did with me in 2022. I wasn’t a member of their party then. Next is the elite of the country, former heads of state, former military heads of state, civilian, business people, clergy like pastor Itoha, bankers, people with means, media owners; they will also start to tilt towards the idea that let us give feasibility let us give support, let us give encouragement to good leadership in Nigeria.”



Addressing the challenge of corruption in the Civil Service, he said it is aided by the political class because civil servants merely carry out professional, technical administrative duties as directed.



He said, “They don’t make decisions in government. Politicians have a lot of influence. The corruption of the political class is aided by the corruption of the public services and the corruption of public service is tolerated because the political leaders don’t want civil servants who will say no. That is why if you go to many states, the people they elect as their governor used to be the collaborator of the governor. It will be the accountant general or the auditor general of the state. That’s the person the governor will say, ‘since we both committed a crime together, okay, you go and succeed me because you cannot probe yourself.’”

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