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No leader prepared for power like Awolowo, Azikiwe, says Ray Ekpu

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Veteran journalist, Ray Ekpu, says out of Nigeria’s top leaders, only the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Nnamdi Azikiwe were fully prepared to lead the country.

Ekpu said all presidents that ruled the country from 1999 till date did not show demonstrable evidence of being fully prepared for leadership, stressing that lack of preparation and “organised cabalism” were the bane of good governance in the country.

He spoke in Lagos on Monday during a public discourse organised by Africa Future.

Africa Future’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Tosin Ajayi, also spoke on the topic, “The master drive: The only thing that connects you with all with everything” where he addressed the reasons why underdevelopment had been persisting in Nigeria and on the Africa continent.

Ekpu, whose speech was titled, “State of the nation,” said the country was wallowing in poverty and underdevelopment because leaders were picked, not on merit, but by certain godfathers desperate for power.”

He also bemoaned the falling standard of education in the country and lamented that Nigerian universities were “producing idiots” unlike in the past when they were the pride of Africa.

Ekpu said, “I attribute Nigeria’s leadership failure to two main factors – lack of adequate preparation for high office. In the Nigerian case, the pathetic lack of preparation for high office has been most evident. Except for Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and Chief Obafemi Awolowo, there has hardly been any demonstrable evidence that our past leaders did burn the midnight oil unceasingly.

“In the case of Shehu Shagari who had political experience at the grassroots but a limited breadth of vision, education and erudition, he had opted to be a senator. President Shagari told the late Dele Giwa in an interview that he had told his ministers to stop stealing but they would not listen. Can you imagine that?  Of those who were ready for the job–Azikiwe and Awolowo– none of them got the job of Prime Minister or President. They were both at the periphery of substantive power.”

In his lecture, Ajayi blamed most of the country’s problems on selfishness, emphasising that the only way to achieve self-actualisation and fulfilment was to abandon self-centredness.

The doctor said the country’s inability to provide solutions to the nation’s problems was caused by the “very small capability to listen, see and learn. We seem to learn only by rote.”

Ajayi noted that it was unfortunate that the country’s social inheritance modelled only on the survival of the “own-self”  had become “generational.”

He said, “If you don’t forget about yourself, you cannot achieve self-actualisation on earth. Submission of self is the precondition to intellectual activities of our minds and self-actualisation. In other words, forget about yourself and you can be self-actualised.”

Punch

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