“It is easier for the educated electorate to identify the sham, or fake seeker of high office during an electioneering campaign than a bunch of illiterate electorate”
Those were the words of a security expert, Oludare Ogunlana, who was lead discussant at a leadership summit organised on Thursday, tagged “Conversation on Nigerian Democracy and National Security”
The event was organised for young people by the Council for African Security Affairs in conjunction with the Society for Peace Studies and Practice, Oyo state chapter, Institute of Peace and Strategic Studies, University of Ibadan.
Delivering a paper titled “Nigeria and Challenges of Nationhood, in honour of Mr Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, Chairman, Bresson Energy, Ogunlana stressed that Nigeria’s leadership problems is the direct consequence of an uneducated populace.
He regretted that most politicians have taken Nigerians for a ride, taking advantage the educationally disadvantaged electorate who are not able to evaluate the manifesto or programmes of a political party or would-be leader.
He stressed further: “The chief weapon in democracy’s arsenal in the fight against poverty as well as inequality is education.
“Without scientific and technological human power that Nigeria has developed through education, oil, which is the mainstay of our economy could still have laid buried and untapped. So, also are other resources like coal, tin, timber, and limestone”
Observing the dearth of solid leadership in Africa as a whole, Ogunlana stated that “breeding tomorrow’s African leaders will require an overhaul of the education system through the injection of a large dose of nationalistic fervour….From the primary school, curricula should be developed to inculcate core values”
Another discussant, Carl Oshodi, charged the young audience gathered at the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan, to believe in themselves and their ability to take Nigeria out of the woods with visionary ideas. He stated that the first step is to be part of the electoral process. He urged them to get their voters card and vote for leaders that have the qualities expressed in Ogunlana’s lecture.
Popular broadcaster, Edmund Obilo, was also a discussant. He noted that the current structure of the Nigerian nation does not support true leadership. He stressed that the system must be restructured and that the country must take its future in its hands instead of dancing to the whims and caprices of foreign powers.
Obilo stated that the future of Nigeria is in the hands of young people, the reason his radio programme, State Affairs, has been reconfigured to focus on young people for the interrogation of leadership in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.