Anambra State Governor-Elect, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, has expressed worry that many drug barons now find in politics a safe haven.
He said: “as the noose tightens globally on other rentier/criminal enterprises such as drug trafficking or internet scamming, many of the barons flocked into politics as the next easy alternative.
“Politics has become big business. Appointment or election into public office is seen largely as an opportunity to ‘eat’ rather than a call to selfless service.”
Soludo, who was speaking at the 2021 Pioneer Class Graduation Ceremony of the School of Politics, Policy and Governance (SPPG) in Abuja on Saturday, called for a new liberation movement in Africa and Nigeria, that would promote the selfless service of political leaders.
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He said that the liberation struggle for an independent Africa was driven by a nationalist ideology anchored by a developmental state.
According to him, “there is almost a sense of nostalgia, recalling the mission and accomplishments of our founding fathers, especially as we contemplate the world without oil.
“Much of the existing social order is founded on competition for, and distribution of rents, oil and the easy money that came with it destroyed the social fabric and the elite created new institutions and political structures to maximise their gains.”
Soludo added that a classic feature of the political environment is that corruption has become part of the “culture”, with little incentive for honesty.
He said that honesty has been scorned as wickedness, foolishness or mere pretence, saying that those who dare to be different have a steep price to pay.
He therefore charged the graduands, as they launch out, to be ready to show honesty and their knowledge to have a new Nigeria, to create the change that would lead to having a new Nigeria.
“Fixing politics requires talents and skills. But these won’t be enough. It won’t happen by lone wolves working in silos.
“It requires new developmental organisations – organisations/teams of believers, driven by defined ideology, purpose and character.
“Let’s be clear about one point: Nigeria does not lack well educated/skilled and widely-travelled stock of human capital to drive its development.
“A key missing link is purpose-driven cohesion and organisation for transformation of the homeland,” he added.
In her remarks, Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili, Founder of SPPG, lamented the way politics in Africa is being run, saying it had distorted the society.
Ezekwesili charged the graduands to embrace leadership skills that would transform the society. “Leaders take the pain so that others can enjoy.
“The society must be contested for and you should pioneer the space for that leadership,” she said.
She said that the school would be replicated in other six African countries as a way of liberating Africa out of extractive colonialism.