CALABAR- Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, has tasked Nigerians to set aside their differences of the just concluded general elections and chart a way forward for nation building.
Gambari said this on Thursday in Calabar while delivering the 35th convocation lecture of the University of Calabar.
The topic of the lecture was: “The Leadership and Followership Question in Nigeria: Imperatives of an Ethical Re-Orientation”.
He said that the 2023 polls have been conducted and winners have emerged, adding that Nigerians should join hands in building a better country.
According to him, the convocation lecture was taking place at a time when the country was going through a transition that will culminate into the inauguration of a new leadership on May 29.
He noted that as the inevitable work of national healing, reconciliation and rebuilding inevitably begins, the convocation lecture offers us all an excellent opportunity towards nation building.
Gambari said that it was time for Nigerians to collectively have an introspect in order to carry on the work of national advancement with a renewed vigour and a shared commitment.
“Our journey of nationhood and statehood began in earnest at independence in 1960 amidst high hopes that, as the biggest concentration of people of African descent, we had a manifest destiny to lead Global Africa on its journey of rebirth and transformation.
“Our hopes were bolstered by a number of other factors that were at play. These included the rich resource endowments with which we were and are still blessed, and the giants of political leaders who worked to usher the country to independence.
“These political leaders were remarkable as much for their vision and commitment to national development and progress as for the integrity and sense of responsibility with which they conducted public affairs.
“The high hopes of that led to independence and early post-colonial years gradually began to wane amidst rising acrimony, dissension and discord among the leaders of the First Republic,” he said.
He noted that at a time Nigeria was locked into a cycle of ethno-regional recriminations, inter-religious suspicions and generalised instability.
“I have never by any stretch of the imagination subscribed to the pessimistic school of commentators who exaggerate the problems of our country and downplay its successes as a vocation.
“However, few are the Nigerians who will fail to acknowledge that from a promising start, we have lived through a prolonged season where the country has, overall, not been able to live up to the promise of its founding ideals.
“It is partly in recognition of the underperformance that came to characterise governance and development in Nigeria that such developments as military incursions into the governance arena began to be witnessed, those interventions being presented as necessary “corrective” actions.
“Ironically, those interventions became part and parcel of a spiral of instability that only ended in 1999 with the birth of the Nigerian Fourth Republic.
“While it lasted as a norm in the administration of national affairs, the military in government experimented with various social engineering initiatives designed, among others, to curb corruption in high public office, wastefulness and indolence among government officials, and loss of the national moral compass,” he said.
He maintained that the leadership that leaves a lasting imprint on society is one which is anchored on the humility before the followership and an exemplary ethical compass.
He added that followership that succeeds in nurturing and throwing up quality leadership is one that is engaged in public affairs with an overriding spirit of what is best for all.
The Chief of Staff urged leaders to enlarge the circle that unites the country and use its natural resources to make it great.(NAN)