Kano State Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso has rejected a consensus arrangement by political parties in picking candidates for elections.
Kwankwaso, who noted that his party, the All Progressives Congress, was toying with the idea, said that the fact that the ruling Peoples Democratic Party had adopted it (consensus arrangement) did not make it a winning formula.
He spoke on Tuesday at the 10th anniversary celebration of the Leadership newspapers in Abuja where a former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, cautioned politicians against engaging in character assassination.
The governor, who was given an award alongside his colleagues who defected to the APC from the PDP last year, also said he would soon declare his ambition to contest the presidential election in 2015.
Kwankwaso said, “Consensus is part of the belief of the party (APC), but the fact of the matter is that we have seen in PDP, from 1999 to 2011, every election year there was primary election and primary election in my opinion strengthens a party.
“Therefore, probably that is why PDP has been winning elections. On the other hand, other parties, because of their weaknesses were not doing primaries. I believe that at the end of the day our party will come out with a candidate that would be generally accepted by the party and by extension the entire Nigeria.”
The governor explained that the awards given to seven of his colleagues by the Leadership newspapers were based on their struggle to ensure that democracy was promoted within the party and the country.
“It was a struggle to ensure that leaders at all levels that are engaged in impunity are brought to their levels; that is why we work so hard under the leadership of some of us. Five of us, you will recall, decided to leave the PDP.”
Gowon, on his part, advised politicians to focus on policies and avoid issues that would make foreigners think that Nigeria was incapable of producing credible leaders.
He said, “Politicians need to embrace prayers instead of trying to condemn themselves in such a manner that outside world would think that we are not good.
“Let all of us love Nigeria. Unless you love and accept your country as a nation, then whatever you do is not worth it and that is what I will continue to ask all Nigerians and all political parties.”
Gowon said people who had doubts about Nigeria being a nation were free to relocate to any place of their choice.
He said, “Whenever I hear that, it really makes me feel sad and I would say to such people that if Nigeria is not a nation, get out of it and go and choose a nation or live in a nation of your own.”
The Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, who delivered a lecture titled, “Rebuilding the Nation: Lessons from other Lands,” warned Nigerians against allowing the current administration at the federal level, to continue beyond 2015.
He said, “We cannot kick this can further down the road for another four years. The consequences will be grave, it will be global, and reverberating.
“Without any more doubt in my mind, the singular recommendation that I can make for ‘Rebuilding the nation and using lessons from other lands’ is that we must renew our values.
“We must act now to rebuild our nation by choosing morality, high ethics and a value system that inspires. These are the lessons from other lands, as we seek to rebuild our nation. Another instructive lesson from other lands that we compared, is that the change has come from within.”
Fashola who cited the examples of how some foreign countries achieved their greatness, noted that the lessons and reforms came from within those countries.
According to him, “Their people, especially some outstanding leaders, led a moral and ethical renaissance, which delivered social and economic justice and results.”
He said, “The question we must then ask is whether we are sufficiently dissatisfied with what we have. If we are not, no leader, no matter how well intentioned, can lead us anywhere. We must want change more than our leaders want it.
“Our actions must demonstrate our unflinching desire for it like Mama. If we want change, the elections in 2015 are a good place to start. No amount of ‘stomach infrastructure’ should be sufficient to influence our votes.
“For me, the next elections are not so much about what the opposition brings as some people have argued. I know that what the opposition does might or might not be helpful. But I think there is another view that has not been interrogated.
“If you and I are happy with what we have now, and some ambassadors say that they are, then nothing that the opposition does should change how we feel or how we choose.
“Conversely, therefore, if we are unhappy with what we have, the logical thing is to attempt to change it with our votes; and to change the next one if we do not find what we want until we find what works. That is when the people will have truly claimed power.”
The Chairman of the occasion, Mr. Sam Amuka-Pemu, attributed part of the reasons for the failure of the Nigerian nation, to the “destruction” of the civil service in 1975.
“One solid basis which strengthened the Nigeria state was the civil service despite the military interruption. The solid civil service sustained the social and economic structure of the country even despite the civil war which lasted between 1967 and 1970.
“But when the government of Yakubu Gowon was toppled, the then vibrant and solid civil service was sacked by the military and since then Nigeria has never been the same again. Public service became self-serving and lost focus.
“The development created part of the problems confronting us as a nation till today. The super permanent secretaries who were the power behind the military governments were sacked and this abuse of power affected the integrity of the once vibrant civil service and the rule of law was ignored.
“We would be finding an enduring solution to part of the problems confronting our country if we return to the era whereby the civil service is respected. The solution is to return to the era of respectability of our civil service.”