By Professor Dupe Olatunbosun
I am delighted to be in this magnificent hall among all you who are gathered here because you care about the progress and future of our country, Nigeria. I thank the organizers of this event for the honour and the privilege extended to me. I feel greatly humbled. My Topic is: IN SEARCH OF A LEADER. Any serious discerning observer would know that for a long time, indeed for a very long time, there has been and still exists in Nigeria a search for a leader. Disciplined leadership is crucial to a Nation’s future and prosperity.
Good Leadership is the difference between a Nation’s poverty and prosperity. It is the reason one country is successful and another country is failing. It is the reason why such countries as Dubai, Singapore, Macau, Malaysia and others that are not endowed enjoy prosperity, while the one that is greatly endowed like our country, Nigeria lives in poverty and misery. Those who succeed are usually driven by a mission. They prepare for leadership. Great Leaders set the purpose, define it clearly and make sure that the goal is achieved by mobilizing people positively.
Nigeria needs such a disciplined leader with grit, courage, mission and total commitment to stated goals and objectives and who will impact positively on the lives of the people.
The dominant issues that will impact positively and bring economic empowerment, prosperity and life more abundant to all Nigerians include infrastructural development, education policy, diversification plans, job creation, agriculture, security, and fight against corruption.
Another important key National issue is restructuring. Nigeria needs courageous leader who genuinely and sincerely understands what restructuring Nigeria really means. For those who have been opposing restructuring out of ignorance, greed and selfish interest, please, allow me to state here and now that restructuring Nigeria means true Federalism. It means each state will have its own prison service, can create its own Local Governments, can build its own Airports, Seaports, and Railways.
In addition, in the economics domain, solid minerals, oil and gas that had been the exclusive preserve of the Federal Government since Independence can now be brought into the concurrent list. The states can now create employment and develop at their own pace.
Restructuring will liberate everybody and open up the political space. Restructuring Nigeria does not mean dismemberment or break-up of the country. Decentralization or restructuring is not an invitation to the breakup of Nigeria. National unity should not continue to be confused with unitarism and concentration of power and resources at the federal level. Nigeria is just too big to be managed by centralization and without devolution of powers and resources to sub-national authorities such as the GEO-political federating units. The imperative of restructuring Nigeria is about justice, equity, fairness and economic development. There is a strong correlation between political structure and economic development. Restructuring is a genuine call for true federalism. True federalism will put an end to hegemonic agenda and ethnic bulldozing.
Restructuring Nigeria using the existing GEO-polical zones as federating units will certainly unleash the great potentials of our country. Restructuring will enable every federating unit to increase its fiscal resources for development. Nigeria must change from the beggarly states, living on handouts from the federation accounts and return to the only viable system of production, where the federating units are creative, self-reliant and self-sustaining economic centres. Restructuring is the right and inevitable step for Nigeria to take to satisfy the legitimate yearnings of ethnic nationalities for self-actualization and end an unjust system that denies all nationalities of control over their resources and allows the least productive to legally take the lion share of revenues.
Our nation is in search of a courageous and determined leader who is educated and knows the value of education for him to focus attention on the key national issues that I have listed above. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, the time is long overdue for we Nigerians to lay more emphasis on the quality of those we elect to executive and legislative offices and to whom we entrust policy and key national issues. Nigeria is a country of great men and women, each making his/her own mark in various sectors of our existence. Unfortunately, we have often failed to elect capable and quality men and women to lead us.
Good leadership, that vital ingredient that drives nations and people to achievement beyond their dreams, has been our country’s soft underbelly for decades. Over-recycled, jades politicians bereft of new ideas, exhausted army generals feigning democratic credentials and skilful manipulators of compromised electoral processes, continue to straddle a rapidly disappearing nation, Nigeria. All those noble ideals and values which our Founding Fathers labored so hard to Foster and which they diligently and assiduously gathered by the rake, unfortunately, each day, we seek to throw away by the shovel.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, as a Nigerian and also as a senior citizen, I have been privileged to witness the coming and the going of many Government administrations, both at the state and at the federal levels, both military and civilian over the years. With utmost humility and profound gratitude to God, I believe I am both literate and numerate and very well placed to state categorically and most unequivocally that His Excellency, DR. Olusegun Mimiko is a fit and proper person to aspire to lead this nation.
I was born and bred in Ondo State where our special Guest of honour at this event was Governor for eight(8) years. His Excellency, DR. Olusegun Mimiko performed creditably, satisfactorily and eloquently much more than any of his predecessors in office, be it military or civilian. His verifiable laudable achievements all over Ondo State attest to his competence, due diligence, acute sense of fairness and propriety, affinity for worthy causes, as well as his very prudent and judicious management of available financial resources. As one travels through the length and breadth of Ondo State, one can see that DR. Olusegun Mimiko has successfully carried out Re-Structuring, Re-Construction, Restoration And Transformation in Ondo State to the admiration of the citizens as well as the visitors to the state.
It is my considered view that DR. Olusegun Mimiko’s political maturity and political astuteness which he deployed intelligently to achieve progress, unity and togetherness among all our people in Ondo state, should be used to bring greater social and economic development to the entire country to surpass his monumental achievemets in Ondo state for the well being of all Nigerians.
In addition to His Excellent leadership in Ondo State, as Honourable Minister of Housing, DR. Olusegun Mimiko performed creditably, unfoiled, unsoiled and unblemished. He is a man of honour and very high level of personal integrity who can be trusted to keep his campaign promises. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, this fine gentleman has been very objective, realistic and consistent. I firmly believe DR. Mimiko has deep understanding of our Nation’s problems. He is completely detribalized. He believes very much in true federalism and in the unity of Nigeria. He is someone who will have the political will and strong determination to fight corruption totally regardless of whose ox is gored.
I also firmly believe that DR. Olusegun Mimiko has the relevant experience and tremendous goodwill and abundance support of the people to bring the much needed process of social inclusion of youths, including participation in decision-making as well as access to quality education, health care basic services and promote the role of youths as active contributors to society. Such process will certainly give the youths the opportunities to reach their potentials and goals as Nigeria’s future leaders.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, Nigeria has been very fortunate not to have natural disasters such as earthquake, tornado, fire, flood, e.t.c, e.t.c, what we have in Nigeria is leadership disaster. This time around, many capable individuals have offered to lead this country. His Excellency DR. Olusegun Mimiko, our special Guest of honour at this event, is a fine gentleman, a colussus who is building bridges of hope and prosperity across the six GEO-political zones of Nigeria. He is a transformer and indeed a mobilizer. He is a born leader, an outstanding achiever who has also succeeded as an entrepreneur in private medical practice. He is a patriotic statesman with a mission and a great source of inspiration to all and sundry. I firmly and strong believe that DR. Olusegun Mimiko is a leader who can properly and adequately handle the challenges of propelling Nigeria out of its present social, economic, moral, GEO-political crisis and restore hope prosperity, peace, liberty and freedom to all Nigerians.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, please let all of us give him our support. I thank you.
Being the text of a speech delivered on Tuesday, October 30, 2018 at JOGOR CENTER, Ibadan at His Excellency, DR. OLUSEGUN MIMIKO’s townhall meeting, ‘A Conversation With Mimiko’ hosted by Friend of Mimiko.
(PROFESSOR Dupe Olatunbosun, B.Sc. (LOND.), Ph.D. (Michigan State, USA), OON, AOM, IOM, HON. Doctor of Letters, Cambridge, England is a Professor of Agricultural Economics and Group chairman of Funduk industries limited and Funduk pharmaceutical industries limited.)