Don’t be dogged followers, challenge your leaders, Lumumba charges Nigerians

Nigerian leaders

By Tunde Opalana

Nigerian leaders have been told to note that leadership is not just occupation of offices but about honour and privilege to serve.

Likewise, followers were charged to rise up in rejection of unresponsive leadership.

Talking on the theme “Speaking the truth to power”, was the guest lecturer, Prof. Patrick Lumumba, former chairman of Kenyan anti- corruption agency and international public analyst who said this at the 10th Memorial lecture in honour of former Senate Leader, late Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki, in Abuja on Monday.

He bemoaned leadership deficit as a major problem of governance in African nations, stressing that leadership question has been a begging question since independence, adding that this has been responsible for the reason why most African countries have not been at peace.

He said leaders are to accept they are to serve and not to be served bur a sensitive leadership must have an informed and enlightened followership.

“I’m suggesting to us that true and sustainable leadership also required that you have a followership that is in light of followership that calls you to account, a followership that is going to make demands of you.

“A followership which knows that when you say you are going to deliver heaven on earth, they know that that is merely an advertisement, that you are incapable of delivering heaven on earth.

“A followership that knows that when you are promising to do things within 100 days, which ordinarily can only be done in five years, they know that you’re alive, a followership that is capable of discerning that when you speak things, there are many variables, and it is the duty of leadership to ensure that such leadership is indeed created.”

He went further to say that followership have the right to challenge irresponsible leadership saying history are demonstrated that men are indeed capable of rising up against bad leadership.

He cited the words of the American Declaration of Independence.

“They had enlightened men we hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are born equal that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among those are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

“And it’s for this reason that governments are instituted among men, and that when those governments fail to perform it is the duty of those people to rise and to remove such. I am submitting to us that we in the continent of Africa, you have the honor and privilege of a sudden you worked and served under the tutelage of a lawyer, ” he added.

Lumumba therefore asked Nigerian politicians to emulate the late Dr. Olusola Saraki.

He said: “Today, let us take a solemn vow that we are not simply here to memorialize him. We are not simply here to remember what he did. We are not simply here to repeat the things that he did that we are here to imbibe the spirit of the message we have come here to have a little Saraki in us.

“So that Saraki the good qualities, Saraki the philanthropist, Saraki the businessman, so that when we go home, so that when in the month of February, Nigeria will be electing its leaders.”

President Muhammadu Buhari eulogized the former Senate Leader as one of the greatest Nigerian politicians.

Buhari who was represented by the governor of Borno State, Prof. Babagana Zulum said: “Saraki was a Nigerian stateman who participated in the evolution of the Nigerian political development by serving as a Senate Leader and a presidential aspirant of the then APP which was one of the parties that formed APC.

“He was one of them that earned the respect of many Nigerians and in particular President Muhammadu Buhari who has been always showing enormous regard for him, equally our presidential candidate Ahmed Bola Tinubu and many others have in many occasions appreciated his contributions to our polity.

“My colleague governors and I have appreciated the contributions of the late Saraki. May Allah forgive and admit him in Jannatul Firdaus.”

The Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Mohamad Abubakar Sa’ad III who was the chairman of the occasion charged Nigerians leaders to be honest, transparent and accountable.

As politicians campaign nationwide, the royal father asked them to “campaign honestly, campaign like a gentleman and convince people to vote for you and when you do get the votes, discharge your responsibility to the best of your knowledge.”

The Sultan said the topic chosen by the organizers is so apt, and important because Nigerians are into political activities and are looking for leaders to steer the ship of state to an excellent destination.

“We are interested in what happens in our country and this is very serious period with politics dominating the space and we are talking about leadership and followership by a distinguish African.

“We must look at who a leader should be, what leadership should not be, what we should do as followers to ensure we have a good leader.

“If you have good leaders, you will have good followership, if you have bad followership, you will have bad leadership,” he said.

Abubakar praised the guest lecturer for been so blunt in telling the powers that be, what should be done as regards leadership.

“For leaders we want to urge you to always uphold the truth, be honest, be transparent and be accountable because Almighty Allah will ask you. I pray our politicians so many of them are here will listen Lumumba is going to say and take some away and go and use in your campaigns,” he charged.

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In his welcome address, scion of Saraki dynasty and former Senate President, Dr. Olusola Saraki said the lecture was put together by the family to create a national platform to address one of the issues that late Saraki was passionate about as a way of re-awakening national consciousness.

Speaking about his father, he said: ” Oloye truly represented all the political parties and all the various diversities of this great country. He was Mr. Nigeria. He was a bridge across Nigeria who also strived to build bridges across the national divides at all times. He will be happy that we have all gathered as Nigerians to celebrate a Nigerian Statesman.

“His wide contacts have made it possible that in our family we have members of all the big parties, from PDP to APC and others. Oloye was a man of many parts and his followers are in all the different political parties that exist in our country today. That is the more reason why we have decided to ensure this remembrance lecture is devoid of partisanship. It is simply about our country, Nigeria.”

Like Saraki said, the dignitaries from different political parties and corporate world gathered in honour the late politician.

Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, former Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, former Senate President, Anyim Pius Anyim, governors of Sokoto, Akwa Ibom, Kebbi, Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri, Udom Emmanuel, Atiku Bagudu, Femi Fani- Kayode, Senator Dino Melaye, Senator Bath Nnaji, Senator Binta Mashi Garba, Senator Mathew Urhogide and Prof. Olorunnimbe Mamora, among others.

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Ihesiulo Grace

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