Elder statesman and former Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Dr Christopher Kolade has described the presidency of Dr Goodluck Jonathan as one that is lacking in leadership.
Kolade stated this yesterday in Lagos while speaking as Chairman, at the 6th Christopher Kolade Symposium organised by the Nigerian Leadership Initiative (NLI).
Commenting on the theme; “Centenary Leadership: Nigeria at 100 and the next 100”, Kolade said notwithstanding the current jingles on Nigerian television stations likening President Jonathan to great world leaders like Lee Kuan Yhew, Late Nelson Mandela and late Dr Martin Luther King Jr, the attitude of the President to daily loss of innocent lives in the country did not support such claim.
He said, “Parts of leadership qualities you need to imbibe include ability to take responsibility. Apart from being responsible, you must also be able to sacrifice for others and you must be able to add value.
“In leadership, you cannot make value-added contribution until you are able to identify what is it you don’t like about this country; what is it that you can accept and what is it you cannot accept. The essence is in you. The capacity to identify what is right or wrong is not what you can borrow or buy. It is in you.
“Some nights ago, I was watching television and some people were telling us that we have never had it so good. I am in my 80s and I can tell you that Nigeria has had it much better than now.
“They even said it was not easy for Lee Kuan Yew, it was not easy for Nelson Mandela and it was not easy for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Mr President, keep doing it. Keep doing the good works because we who are with you are much more than those who are against you.
“Tell me something, is that part of Nollywood? Is that part of an entertainment? Let me cite one example. They always say I am father to all and I accept. If somebody makes me leader of a group and there is something in that group, l should be able to stand by the group.
“Let me tell you, if 59 boys are killed in Yobe State and you as a leader, the next day went to Kano State and danced in a political rally, then I say, that is not leadership. It can’t be.
“This is not about not being an Ijaw or non-Ijaw. It is not about being a South-South or not South-South. It is about leadership. It is about the fact that those who were killed were human beings.
“If some suicide bombers bombed a place and you as a leader has political rally the next day, the least you can do is to postpone the programme. Even if they are not your children, all you need to do is to sympathise.
“If it comes to a point that we don’t care about who is leading the country, then we have lost it. We know we are in deficit. What we have today are leaders who are in pursuit of personal gains and not about the future.”
Earlier in his address, the Chief Executive Officer of NLI, Yinka Oyinlola, said the idea behind organising the annual symposium is to enrich discourse on the best way to make leadership effective in Nigeria.
“The anticipated results are to enable an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of leadership in Nigeria; enable the existing leaders to draw lessons from the past; motivate the younger generation for critical thinking on leadership; and enable a constructive dialogue on the expectations of the Nigerian youth on leadership matters,” Oyinlola said.
There was no immediate reaction from the Presidency as Jonathan’s spokesman, Reuben Abati; political adviser, Rufai Alkali; and public affairs aide, Doyin Okupe neither answered phone calls nor replied text messages to their cell phones yesterday.
Daily Trust recalls that Dr Kolade was appointed the Chairman of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) by President Goodluck Jonathan in January 2012. Kolade however resigned in September 2013.