Ezekwesili, CSOs plan new coalition to restructure Nigeria’s leadership
A coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) under the umbrella, Summit of the Alternatives (SOTA), said on Monday that it was working on a political coalition to restructure Nigeria’s leadership ahead of 2019.
Oby Ezekwesili, one of the members of the group, and convener, Red Card Movement, made this known at a news conference on the SOTA summit in Abuja.
Mrs Ezekwesili said that the move became imperative because since 1999, several political parties had exhibited a distinct lack of ideology, thereby merely using politics as a platform to seek electoral offices that translated to personal wealth.
She said the group would partner with the other 66 political parties besides Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) to change the leadership narrative in the country.
“Nigeria’s political system and her leadership have not delivered optimal service for the people in spite of the scale of monetary, natural and human resources abundant within.
“Bereft of vision, the same class comprising generations of a decadent political elite, has undermined the quality of Nigeria’s political leadership in both military and democratic governments.
“The SOTA is in response to the security, political and socio-economic crisis that currently plague Nigeria; the Red Card Movement and other CSOs are partnering to host a gathering termed “Summit of the Alternatives.’’
Mrs Ezekwesili said that Nigeria was in a precarious situation and needed a sense of urgency to take action, considering the citizens demand for quality leadership.
She said if Nigerians did not immediately fix the leadership crisis that its democracy had continued to suffer, citizens should have absolutely no basis to expect anything different from previous elections.
She said the missing link to Nigeria’s development had always been the quality of leadership.
“So, we decided that rather than citizens waiting for the usual cyclical pattern of the candidature of poorly prepared people to govern the country at all levels of elected offices in the 2019, we, as citizens, will work together to define a pathway where the electorate, especially, will begin to think of the quality of candidates that they will be prepared to vote for.
“They will also begin early in the game to send a clear signal to our political class that we no longer want incompetent people, people without credibility or charter to rule us.’’
Mrs Ezekwesili said that citizens now wanted the political system to pay attention to important attributes in identifying quality leadership as achieved in places like Singapore.
She said Singapore started its developmental journey about the same time with Nigeria but had now left Nigeria so far behind, adding that what accounted for it was the quality of leadership.
Also speaking, Nya-Etok Ezekiel, one of the conveners, said that the motive was to fix the leadership crisis of Nigeria’s political space and to arrest governance failure.
Mr Ezekiel listed the group’s leadership criteria as character, competence and capacity, adding that these values would not be negotiated.
He said the crucial meeting would begin to address the transformation of Nigeria’s political leadership through the deliberations of patriotic Nigerians who believed in and sought brighter future.
The coalition comprised of Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Enough is Enough, Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA)-Africa, among others.