Plenary Session Theme: Democracy and National Development.
Being a Paper presented by Distinguished Senator Oluremi Tinubu, OON as keynote speaker at the University of Lagos 12th Annual Research Conference and Fair on Tuesday August 15, 2017.
I am honoured to present this paper as the keynote speaker at the 12th Annual Research Conference and Fair of this great Institution. I must commend the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Rahmon Ade Bello, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academics and Research), Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe; Members of the Governing Board, and Members of the Committee charged with organizing this conference.
The theme of this conference Governance and National Development: Issues and Implications; and the subtheme Democracy and National Development are relevant and important in the current scheme of events and the on-going conversations on the need or otherwise for restructuring. For this, I commend the organisers.
The purpose of Government is important in any discussion or attempt to analyse governance, national development, success recorded and the attendant issues and implications arising therefrom. Thus, governance in Nigeria is premised on the ‘principles of democracy and social justice’, ensuring participation of the citizenry in government, with the Nigerian Constitution stating the ‘security and welfare of the people’ as the primary duty of government.
Democracy and the first electoral system was introduced to Nigeria by the Clifford Constitution of Sir Hugh Clifford, successor to Lord Lugard, in 1922. Voting was by limited franchise and tied to income. It established a legislative council which was empowered to exercise jurisdiction over the Southern Protectorate only. Subsequent constitutions did not further the advancement of constitutionalism or democracy in Nigeria.
Having been globally accepted as the best form of governance, democracy was reintroduced and Nigeria’s current democratic dispensation came into being in 1999 after several decades of military and authoritarian rule. This new era was ushered in by a new Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 amidst hopes and expectations of good governance, stronger institutions and increased representation in government. The result has been eighteen (18) years of uninterrupted democratic governance.
Amongst the expectations of Nigerians upon the institution of democracy was development in all spheres, infrastructural development, and implementation in its entirety of chapter two (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (As amended) which provides for free education at all levels, public social safety nets, policies to ensure old age care and pensions etc.
Development is critical and is marked by the ability of a Nation to provide qualitative life for her people. The indices for measuring development and growth are, gross domestic product (GDP) and human development index (HDI) which include factors like life expectancy at birth, knowledge, command over resources needed for a decent life etc.
In spite of the accepted indices, her mammoth population, vast material and natural resources, Nigeria has defied the odds to remain a low human development Country. Only recently, Nigeria was rated 152nd of 188 Countries in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Human Index Report 2016.It is for this reason that social thinkers and political scientists continue to examine and evaluate societal norms, practices and agreed socio-political frameworks with a view to calling attention to the elements that require re-evaluation and re-appraisal in order to ensure reform of defaulting areas, perpetuation and continuity of prosperity, advancement, peace and development.
Thus, today’s Nigeria is a curious tale of two worlds co-existing, each different in nature and direction and each threatened by the other. On the one hand, Nigeria (along with few other countries in Africa) has been described as the new economic and innovation frontier, with consumer spending set to rise, the middle class expanding at very competitive rates and becoming sophisticated, college education reaching more and more of Nigeria’s youth, investment in infrastructure increasing year-on-year and, importantly, democratic ideals and practices taking roots more firmly.
On the other hand, a large section of the populace in today’s Nigeria struggles with the scourge of poverty, appalling standards of living, non-existent and decaying infrastructure, HIV and AIDS, maternal and infant mortality, terrorism, ethnic and tribal tensions and other ills symptomatic of a nation not fully at ease. The gap between our tremendous potentials as a country and our actual attainments is depressing and disheartening; for a country as endowed with human, material and natural resources as Nigeria, the level of poverty in which the vast majority of our people live is unacceptable.
The statistics of illusory growth and progress peddled by officialdom in the past have finally caught up with us and clearly do not reflect the dire reality of millions of Nigerians. The ultimate challenge therefore, is the reconciliation of these diverse but co-existing worlds in such a manner that ensures that the bright, progressive and prosperous Nigeria emerges dominant.
Indeed, it is all too easy to give in to despair and despondency at the current state of Nigeria. However, despair is a luxury we cannot afford as a country and a people at this time.
The theme of this conference calls for re-evaluation and re-appraisal of the issues and implications arising from the nexus between governance and national development in Nigeria. I believe strongly that an appraisal of the existing situation, discuss and proffering solution is important in ensuring a holistic approach to creating a system that works. Thus, it is a privilege to deliver my thoughts on this subject. In this presentation, I shall attempt from governance viewpoints, to state the issues, articulate the situation and outline the options which may be subsequently adopted as solutions that will lead to this thriving ‘Nigeria’ that I alluded to.
I make this contribution on the following bases:
- Optimism in the possibility of the success of the Nigerian experiment. This is because a Nigeria where focused, visionary, accountable and competent governance vigorously tackles corruption, insecurity and poverty while promoting peace, progress and prosperity for all is possible and attainable. It is noteworthy that since the assumption of office of the present administration, the hard work of climbing out of the hole has begun. It will no doubt be a long and challenging struggle but it is important that the work has begun.
2.Â Belief in the unique and proud political, historical and cultural heritage of Nigeria. As was noted by President Buhari and I agree, that in “recent times Nigerian leaders appear to have misread our mission. Our founding fathers, Mr. Herbert Macaulay, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Alhaji (Sir) Ahmadu Bello(the Sardauna of Sokoto), Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, Mallam Aminu Kano, Chief J.S. Tarka, Mr. Eyo Ita, Chief Denis Osadebey, Chief Ladoke Akintola and their colleagues worked to establish certain standards of governance. They might have differed in their tactics or details, but they were united in establishing a viable and progressive country. Some of their successors have behaved like spoilt children breaking everything and bringing disorder to the house.”
He also added that “we as Nigerians must remind ourselves that we are heirs to great civilizations: Shehu Othman Dan Fodio’s Caliphate, the Kanem Borno Empire, the Oyo Empire, the Benin Empire and King Jaja’s formidable domain. The blood of those great ancestors flow in our veins. What is now required is to build on these legacies, to modernize and uplift Nigeria.”
- Belief in democracy as the pathway to sustainable development. Having tried military dictatorship with its attendant instability, arbitrariness of government and erosion of personal freedoms and rights, a democratic system guaranteeing protection of persons and rights, ensuring participation of citizens and a system of checks and balances is the suitable path to the creation of the Nigeria of our dreams. “Indeed, daunting as the task may be, it is by no means insurmountable. There is now a national consensus that our chosen route to national development is democracy. To achieve our objectives, we must consciously work the democratic system.”
Indeed, Nigeria has a chequered history which is rife with the recurrent themes of ethnicity, fiscal federalism, corruption, religious bigotry, political sophistication and resource control and management. Thus, this paper discusses these themes as the fundamental issues that must be addressed to attain sustainable national development.
Ethnicity and National Development
The multiplicity of Nigeria’s ethnic population has been well documented. Several historical occurrences illustrate the linkage between ethnicity, governance and development in Nigeria, and this part of this paper examines the different theories. Thereafter, the focus is on the examination of the solutions variously proffered to resolve or manage the problem of ethnicity and its negative effect on Nigeria’s developmental goals.
It is not in dispute that the level of ethnic rivalry in Nigeria and the entrenchment of parochial consciousness as opposed to National consciousness has for a long time, made it impossible for her to produce leaders who exude impeccable and noble character, and who are qualified, knowledgeable and ready to spend themselves for the development of the nation. Nigeria’s division along ethnic lines can be traced as far back as the periods before independence. Notable amongst the resulting problems is The Nigerian Civil War of 1966 and some of the ethnic undertones that are listed as its causes. Akin to those who have refused to learn, the emphasis at each subsequent election has been on where the candidates come from rather than the ideas, ideologies, character and content of candidates.
After extensive thoughts on this issue, it is doubtful whether ethnicity in itself is the problem bedeviling Nigeria or whether Nigerians choose to abuse ethnic sentiments for their own interest and interest of unseen forces militating against our collective progress. I agree that there is nothing wrong with ethnicity. It can make and create avenues for healthy competition in economic development as exemplified in the period after independence that witnessed healthy competition when the South-West led in cocoa production; the North in the production of groundnuts, cotton and cereals; and the production of palm products and root crops dominated the economy of the South-East.
It has been said that the attachment of citizens to their ethnic groups ahead of loyalty to the country is bad for the country’s unity. It has also been posited that there will be an increase in economic and political development; and Nigeria will reclaim its rightful position in the world if citizens learn to value nationalism above ethnicity. I disagree to the extent that since ethnicity in Nigeria is based on natural affinity, it is a gift from nature and is therefore good in itself. Again, like every phenomenon, it can be gainfully employed for the wellbeing of the populace and any attempt to stamp it out will amount to an effort in futility. Indeed, there is no record of success in this regard from any country in the world.
In an attempt to explain why Nigerians exploit ethnicity for their interests, Associate Director of Engineering Leadership, Meg Handley posited that “the real reason for the violence isn’t ethnic or religious differences but the scramble for land, scarce resources and political clout. Poverty, joblessness and corrupt politics drive extremists from both sides to commit horrendous atrocities. Although the nation rakes in billions of dollars in oil revenue annually, the majority of Nigerians scrape by on less than a dollar a day.”
Therefore, in order to address ethnicity as a factor militating against national development, efforts should be geared towards maintaining a continuing honest, and open discussion of an acceptable framework for determining who gets what, when and how in Nigeria. To this end, States should be allowed to generate their funds, control their resources and determine their developmental goals. In the same vein, ethnic communities within each State should be constituted in Local Governments with sufficient powers to control resources within defined boundaries, generate funds and determine developmental pace and goals.
All these can be achieved in a federal system where the central government is powerful and rich enough to protect the Federation and represent in the Comity of Nations, but is not responsible for the basic and day-to-day affairs and issues that affect the ordinary man and are capable of inciting ethnic rivalries. Without a doubt, federalism can only adequately cater to the aspirations in a multi-ethnic society if it is practiced in its purest form as envisioned by KC Wheare. According to him, the basic tenets of a federal structure are: at least two levels of government with powers constitutionally divided among them; each level of government must be co-ordinate and independent; financial independence of each of the levels of government; existence of a Supreme Court of an independent judiciary; the inability of any level of government to unduly influence an amendment of the constitution.
Â Political and Fiscal Federalism
All policies of government must ultimately be judged by whether they deliver on the promise of the government to the people under the ‘Social Contract’. The promisor under this contract, the government, undertakes to deliver good governance, efficient and effective delivery of quality public services and the protection of life, properties and dignity to the promise, the people. These deliverables are popularly referred to as the ‘dividends of democracy’.
Along with many political scientists, I agree that for a country as diverse and large as Nigeria, only the practice of true and fiscal federalism can deliver effective administrative and political governance and the afore-mentioned deliverables.
It will be noted that I have taken the liberty to use the expression ‘true federalism’ and ‘true fiscal federalism’ above. This is because, in the peculiar case of Nigeria, while our laws and constitution expressly declare the country to be a Federal State, the practical application of most of the applicable constitutional provisions and laws effectively makes Nigeria a country governed under a quasi-unitary system of government thus necessitating and justifying the clamour for ‘true federalism’ in Nigeria.
Attempts to trace the political history of Nigeria from the period before the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern Protectorates in 1914 to the promulgation of the 1999 constitution clearly show that the different ethnic tribes were independent and relatively politically sophisticated before the advent of the colonialists. Studies have also shown that these differences accounted for the decision of the founding fathers to adopt a federal system of government that assures each federating unit of well-defined areas of exclusive influence and sufficient control over their resources.
Furthermore, it is beyond dispute that the incursion of the military into politics in 1966 upended the near-perfect fiscal arrangements agreed to by the founding fathers at independence in 1960 and subsequent constitutions have tended to perpetuate this anomaly.
Again, countless academic efforts have demonstrated that there are glaring inconsistencies in the extant arrangements regarding fiscal relations in our federal arrangement. To this end, I recommend as follows:
(a) All the functions listed in Part II of the Second Schedule to the Constitution i.e. the concurrent legislative list (antiquities and monuments, archives and public records, university, technological and Post Primary education etc.) and some of the items in the exclusive list should be exclusively vested in the States of the Federation. This will bring development closer to the people, ensure that policies formulated for the execution of these functions are those that are relevant to the local conditions of the people and significantly reduce the cost of delivery of services.
(b)Following from the recommendation above, States and Local Governments should be entitled to adequate resources to execute their functions in Part II of the Second Schedule. Thus, States should be entitled to much more than they get under the present arrangement.
(C).The principle of derivation should also be applied to Customs and Excise Duties and Value Added Taxes derived from each State and the State from where the revenue is derived should be entitled to 50% of such revenue. On a lighter note, my attempt to set this in motion through the Lagos State Economic Assistance Bill was vehemently resisted by fellow Legislators. The Bill, if passed, would have ensured that the goose that lays the golden egg is cared for.
Governance Philosophy: The Need for People-Focused and Innovative Policies
In Nigeria’s 3rd Republic, there has been a number of sordid corruption-related episodes in the States of the Federation and at the federal level that could justifiably lead to citizens’ loss of faith and confidence in the democratic process. Many citizens believe that democracy as practised in our Presidential System is lavishly expensive and over-burdening the nation’s resources.
However, one State in Nigeria has unarguably led in exemplary management of resources and people-directed policies â€“ Lagos State.
The success story of Lagos State is traceable to the ascension to office of widely travelled professionals who are experienced in the scientific and systematic approach to governance. Lagos State has benefitted this from the administration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) and Governor Akinwumi Ambode. Also remarkable is the continuity of leadership, vision and purpose which has ensured continuity of policies and projects in the State
Following from the work done by the various committees set up prior to the inauguration of the civilian administration in 1999, Lagos State adopted the ‘Ten Point Agenda’ which has served to guide the policy initiatives for the state.
The Ten Point Agenda is reproduced below:
- Roads: Aggressive road rehabilitation in all Local Government Areas, construction of new roads (4th Mainland bridge).
- Transportation: Integrated Mass Transit Programme with Road, Rail and Water Transport Services (LAMATA & LAGBUS), Traffic Management
- Power & Water Supply: Island Power Project, Alausa Power, Akute Power, Odomola and Adiyan expansion.
- Environment & Physical Planning: Beautification, community-based and integrated solid and liquid waste management
- Health: Emergency medical services, expansion of primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare services, personnel capacity building
- Education: Curriculum review, infrastructure renewal, scholarship
- Employment: Graduate Empowerment Programmes, job creation, skills acquisition
- Food security: Empowerment of farmers, support for strategic food preservation and farm settlements
- Shelter: Provision of affordable mass housing scheme, new/ satellite town developments etc.
- Revenue enhancement: Diversification of revenue sources; widening tax net; effective revenue collection mechanism; and database development.
In a publication titled The Changing Face of Lagos: From Vision to Reform and Transformation, Prof. Michael O. Filani extensively reviewed and documented the reforms in Lagos State while crediting the success of the Tinubu administration to eleven strategies identified as the catalysts for the reform process.Â In opening chapter three of that work, Prof. Filani observed as follows: â€œIndian sociologist Dr. Surendra Munshi has aptly described good governance as â€œa participative manner of governing that functions in a responsible, accountable and transparent manner based on the principles of efficiency, legitimacy and consensus for the purpose of promoting the rights of individual citizens and the public interestâ€. This description underscores â€œthe exercise of political will for ensuring the material welfare of society and sustainable development with social justice.â€
Drawing from the work of Dr. Munshi, Professor Filani then posited as follows: â€œIt is such good governance that has brought about the current transformation of Lagos. The actual catalysts of this reform process are the following:
â€¢Â Consistent political will and leadership
- Strategic visioning of development
- Knowledge-based approach to planning
- Budget reform and its linkage with activities of government institutions
- Institutional reform for efficient service delivery
- Partnership building with popular participation
- Policy, legislative, and institutional reforms
- Resource mobilisation, transparency, and accountability
- Application of information and communication technology and data in governance
- Programmatic interventions; and
- Sustainable urban planning.
As a means to achieving national development in the form of better quality of life for the people, peaceful co-existence and sustainable economic prosperity, I recommend the governing philosophy articulated above to the rest of the Nigerian Federation.
Corruption: The Recurring Vicious Decimal
Corruption is no doubt, a global phenomenon. Incidences of corruption have been severally reported in the United States of America, the United Kingdom and many other advanced nations of the world. International institutions such as the United Nations have also been tainted with corruption.
However, the case of Nigeria is notoriously egregious. While the endemic nature of corruption has never been in doubt (as studies conducted over several decades have shown), it took three recent events in the late 1990s to force the issue onto the global agenda. The first was the revelation of massive plunder of state resources under the General Sani Abacha dictatorship era; the second is the on-going global fight against money laundering connected with international terrorism; and the third is the soaring rate of poverty in many developing countries in spite of billions of dollars in overseas aid due to mismanagement and failure to account for such.
Indeed, the problem with corruption in Nigeria and Africa is well-documented. “For the most part, corruption has bedeviled Nigeria’s political scene encompassing abuses by government officials such as embezzlement and nepotism, as well as abuses linking public and private actors such as bribery, extortion, influence peddling, and fraud. As the award winning US scientist and social critic, David Brin, put it: “It is said that power corrupts, but actually it’s truer that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power.”
On the link between corruption and poverty, Prof Olu Aina noted that: “Instances of corrupt practices have been extensively reported in the local media. Others can be found in reports of dozens of official inquiries established by governments at all levels. Likewise, over the last 10-15 years Nigeria’s anti-corruption agencies- the EFCC, ICPC, NDLEA, NPF, among others- have also investigated and successfully prosecuted several corruption cases shedding further light on the nature of corruption in contemporary Nigeria. Thus Nigerians have much reason to worry about the level of corruption and its effect on their society. Yet, contrary to widespread perception, not all of these forms of corruption have contributed to the poverty situation in Nigeria. For example, petty corruption, such as the extortion of petit sums by police men may have several implications for law and order, or legitimacy of government, but is hardly linked to the material situations of the poor in Nigeria. On the other hand, many other forms of corruption, especially grand corruption involving the diversion of hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars of public funds, can perpetuate poverty in many ways.”
The question now is how can we effectively tackle this menace that has robbed us of development for so long? First, let us note that corruption is not a Nigerian problem. It is a universal human problem. Admittedly, it is a tough struggle because, even if thousands of laws are enacted to tackle corruption, the eternal question will be ‘Quis custodiet ipsos custodes’ (‘who will guard the guards’)?
In seeking a solution, let us all accept the truism that laws are limited while transparency and accountability is all-powerful. This is why I am persuaded to agree that “Corruption is the consequence of the problems we have and not the cause of our problem as a nation. The causes of desperation and vulnerability lie in the very lack of infrastructure’ and transparency. In my opinion, the success of developed nations to effectively manage corruption is dependent on the realization that the mere existence of prohibitory laws will not do. It is the entrenchment of transparency in all facets of public life that will deter corrupt practices. “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot comprehend it”.
My proposal is for the citizens of Nigeria and Africa to shift focus from rancorous arguments on whether the laws are being applied fairly or used to punish political opponents but instead to work slowly, patiently but assiduously to put in place legislations, structures, processes and practices that promote transparency in governance. Once the people have unfettered access to information, it will be difficult, if not impossible for corruption to thrive.
Concluding Thoughts: Fresh Perspectives on Leadership
Given my experiences and first-hand knowledge of the developmental challenges facing Nigeria, and considerable time spent reflecting on the areas in which the leaders and the people of Nigeria must necessarily co-operate in order to attain desired levels of development, I have come to realize that the mere identification of these areas of co-operation is not sufficient. The manner of co-operation is much more important. I am therefore pleased to share my thoughts on this significant issue with this distinguished audience.
The first is education. In the words of Ella Baker, American human rights activist, ‘Show the light and the people will find the way’. It is no wonder then that even the most developed of nations place high premium on education and on the constant review and refinement of their educational systems and curriculum. The former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, famously said, “Ask me my three main priorities for government, and I tell you: education, education, education”. Further describing the role and value of good and quality education, he is quoted to have said, “At a good school, children gain the basic tools for life and work. But they ought also to learn the joy of life: the exhilaration of music, the excitement of sport, the beauty of art, the magic of science. And they learn the value of life: what it is to be responsible citizens who give something back to their community”.
Sadly, no such premium is placed on education in Nigeria and most African countries. Granted, there are schools and universities – many of them. But what is the state of infrastructure there? What is the quality of the minds and brains produced there? How often is the curriculum revised and reviewed to reflect modern realities? How many of the citizens do not regret their inability to send their children to study in places other than Nigeria?
In his passionate and well-thought out piece titled “Failed Leadership and Jaundiced Education in Nigeria”, Nigerian theologian, teacher and poet, Father George Ehusani painted a picture of the state of education in Nigeria today. He rightly observed that “Our institutions too are a reflection of the type and quality of education that we pursue. It cannot be overstated that over the years our institutions have suffered widespread criminal neglect of infrastructure, content and administration. Once highly regarded and respected internationally, our institutions have plummeted in reputation and self-esteem. …Everywhere one turns, the decay in structures and facilities and the fall in morale are palpable. Institutional corruption began to erode discipline badly in virtually all the processes of teaching and learning. Education in such climes became a reflection of the life of the nation where the leadership at all levels dumped much needed development in preference for self-serving governance. “Our institutional and public libraries are generally antiquated, under-stocked and underutilized. And without a good reading culture, there is no incentive to attract public support for improvements in our libraries. Likewise, very few writers turn out good books, and others who strive to be authors end up filling the void with substandard works.”
I therefore propose the declaration of a state of emergency in the educational sector. I agree with the thoughts views expressed by Former President Olusegun Obasanjo at a Lecture delivered at the 2012 Graduation Ceremonies of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka that Nigeria “cannot continue to wobble along like a stalked and wounded lion, walking to its death. We have immense resources” but these will only become real assets “if we start now to work seriously and assiduously on how this large population will be the quality, united and purposeful workforce associated with such countries as Ghana, the US and South Korea. United Nations projections show that we are on course to be the fourth largest country, in population, by the turn of the next century. Without commensurate growth in educational access, quality, purpose and relevance, we will be ill-prepared to take advantage of this demographic opportunity which can easily turn catastrophic indeed, in the absence of real leadership.”
Therefore, the leadership in Nigeria must provide a conducive environment for real and quality education. We must also realise that government alone cannot provide all the solutions. The examples of developed economies where education is an engine for development shows that individuals, religious groups, communities, and businesses must contribute towards providing education that leverages development.
My second recommendation is to celebrate diversity and welcome differences. It has been rightly observed that ethnic allegiances run deep in Africa such that from South Africa to Kenya to Nigeria and to the world’s newest nation, South Sudan, tribalism and appeals to ethnic sentiments and loyalties are “used to climb the political ladder and to create wealth”.
Â The US State Department acknowledges that the most diverse nations in Africa are the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia and Chad. Nigeria had her civil war, Kenya recently experienced huge, bloody and widespread violence resulting from election disputes fuelled by ethnic sentiments and “with a population of 72 million people and more than 250 ethnic groups, the Democratic Republic of Congo has perpetually been engulfed in ethnic clashes”. Thus, William Boscom, a professor of anthropology at the University of California has been quoted as saying that while tribalism is no longer an obstacle to self-government in Africa, it “is still an obstacle to national unity”.
Thus, there must be an acknowledgement of our differences but with a view to putting in place structures and institutions that will accommodate and protect the interests and values of the co-existing ethnic nationalities. Post-war Rwanda seems to be leading the way in this regard and it has been said that “if Africa can mimic what President Paul Kagame has done for Rwanda in appreciating tribal disparities, then our democracy and economy will be among the best in the world.”
In conclusion, African leaders must reevaluate their concept of leadership. Real Leadership, as Dean Williams of the Harvard Kennedy School has explained is “not about having convictions and imposing them on the group. Nor is it about amassing followers and showing the way forward.” He further opines that it involves “mobilizing people to confront their predicament and solve their most pressing problems. The focus is not on getting people to follow but on getting people to face reality and think and act responsibly, thereby enabling their organizations and communities to address their toughest challenges and make meaningful progress.”
Today, more than ever before, Nigeria needs real leadership in all spheres of our corporate existence. However, this need is particularly pressing in the education sector where skills, attitudes, and performance abilities are acquired. No development is possible without these. And talk of transformation will only be sloganeering. Leadership by example reinforces Real Leadership.”
The journey to national development has been a tough and herculean one for us and the opening verse of William Ernest Henley’s poem, Invictus, seems to apply so well:
“Out of the night that covers me
Black as the Pit from pole to pole
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.”
However, the Nigerian soul is unconquered. But Nigeria must seize the moment and build her own future. Nigeria must have as her watchword, William Ernest Henley’s closing verse:
“It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.”
Thank you for your kind attention.
Senator Oluremi Tinubu, OON.