By NBF News
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Out of her 50 years of existence as an independent state, Nigeria has been under democratic government for less than 20 years; the on-going dispensation (from 1999 to date) being the most enduring. With an estimated 140 million people, Nigeria is Africa's most populous nation. Although, Nigeria potentially could offer investors abundant natural resources, a low cost labour pool and the largest domestic market in sub-Saharan African, its economy remains stagnant, while its market potential unrealized.

Face of political leadership in Nigeria
Sen. Mamora revealed that political leadership in Nigeria has become rather progressively weakened. He enumerated the varied and diverse character traits exhibited by these leaders.

'Some of our political leaders are lacking in character, deficient in principle and disoriented in focus. Some of the leaders are amoebic in nature, changing from as dictated by alimentary instincts pathological greed without consideration for any noble sentiments.'

'In spite of crude display of spinelessness, some political leaders still manage to be smart like the famous German oracle, Octopus Paul, in the recently-concluded FIFA world Cup 2010.'

'There are those who are megalomaniac in character while some others are autocratic masquerading as democrats. Some are chronic lootocrats with properties in choice locations within and outside the shores of Nigeria.'

According to him, political leadership ascendancy appears no longer determined by virtues and values. Critical factors such as positive pedigree, antecedents, ability, integrity, competence, merit and hard work hardly ever count any longer.

'All these have been displaced by the size of financial war chest, sycophancy, mediocrity, charlatanism and the almighty godfatherism. Thus, the proverbial camel even with us; its established twin pregnancy now passes easily through the eye of the needle.

'Little wonder then that a large number of our political leaders are long in the words, but short in action. Where they ought to admit failure, they would rather engage in blame game.

'Of what value will it then be when the attitude, the actions and the words of those in position of leadership fall short of true leaders, as enumerated in the foregoing? What will be the reputation of a nation that has leaders with the character traits mentioned in control of its affairs?

In terms of national reputation, sadly our nation has been in deficit. To say Nigeria is not today positioned where it should be in the comity of nations, because of distrust of it's citizens, is an open truth. International perception of Nigerians is at the low ebb.

Tackling our leadership challenges
Gust speaker Prof. Oyebode, attributed the real problem of Nigeria to poor leadership. 'We are still playing politics of the stomach. Corruption is our undoing. Many of our families have failed because the value system has collapsed. Let us all admit our inadequacies and agree that we must turn around the Country.' How do we turn Nigeria around? How do we develop leadership to transform Nigeria? Senator Mamora posed. Oyebode said we must fix square pegs in square holes.

He beckoned on Nigerians to have faith in themselves, take the bull by the horns and choose the right candidate, but regretted that this can only happen in a fair playing ground.

'We need to change our modalities for choosing leaders. We have to get the best in leadership. The challenge now is your ability to transform Nigeria to what you want it to be. Where you are born and where you come from shouldn't come into it. 2010 is here. It's an opportunity to make a difference. Let's ensure we make a difference.'

Mr. Akpoyibo stated that the success of the leader is the joy of those who are being led like the failure, is also the woe of those being led. He urged followers in all endeavours to collaborate with their leaders and hold them accountable always.

The Police Commissioner said leaders must consistently think and evolve new strategies to deal with challenges. He insisted, 'No one can be a good Leader without having a vision. If you have no vision, you have no business being a Leader.' He continued, 'A vision is a benchmark to enable us know where we are going. There must be some transparency and integrity.' Hence forth, all of us must give accounts.'

The first Lady of Lagos State, Mrs. Fashola lent her voice to demand for accountability. According to her, it's time for everybody to learn to say the truth in the country. 'It's a year of our 50th anniversary, it's a year to look up to our leaders and say no. It's possible for us as Nigerians to repair the ills of this country. We can repair the damage to our reputation. We have prospects in this great Country, if we follow our Leaders religiously and make our demands to them.' However, Mrs. Abimbola noted that the country needs transformational leaders.

Mrs. Mamora reminded everybody that the family units make us a nation. She called on all to go home and get things done rightly. She emphasized that the strength of the nation is the integrity of the various home units put together as a nation. 'Let's strive to stop wrong doing at home. Let us look at our children, the Leaders of tomorrow. What do they see us do? We need to build our Children, help discover who they are. We should tell them that they should stand for themselves in whatever they do. If we develop them right at home in another 30 years, we would be talking about a wonderful nation.'