I would like to describe that speech as perhaps one of the best of the Jonathan Presidency for its depth and import, its delivery and its’ potential to impact the course of our history as a nation.
That speech was profound in several respects but its most important element for me was the opportunity that it affords us to confront our problems as a people as captured here: “We cannot continue to fold our arms and assume that things will straighten themselves in due course, instead of taking practical steps to overcome impediments on our path to true nationhood, rapid development and national prosperity.”
Indeed, Nigeria cannot develop by accident. No nation has and can develop by accident. The old and new civilisations which we aspire to be like were not built by accident. They were not built by mediocre. They were not built by kleptomaniacs. They were not built by ethnic and religious irredentists. They were built by visionaries who were disciplined. They were built through a conscious and dedicated effort anchored on deep commitment to the welfare and well-being of their people and their place in the world. These nations have continued to make progress for the same considerations today.
My country cannot be different. This conference affords Nigeria opportunity for a renaissance. In this second decade of Nigeria’s 2nd century, we can have a new beginning. But, first we must mobilise a national consensus on a national development philosophy. It is such a philosophy that will underpin our economic policies and development. We must be clear what we want as a people? What is our national ethos? What are our irreducible national development priorities, irrespective of party or government? What is our place in the world today? And where do we want to be in the future following a clear time line.
It is such a clear development philosophy anchored on the importance of leadership as distinct from political authority that will guide the role and place of both leaders and followers as they evolve in our polity. It is this philosophy that will help or enable our leaders understand the spiritual burden they bear as leaders and the cosmic responsibility imposed on them to cater to the 167million people created by the Almighty God in a country called Nigeria, situated on the west coast of the continent of Africa.
Let us check and see that all through human history, the greatest progress in different countries have been achieved under the guidance of leaders who have a deep sense of personal awareness about their reason for being, a keen sense of foresight and great personal discipline and appreciation of the transient nature of human existence. These leaders endowed as they were understood nature’s law of karma. There are consequences for every action or inaction!
Even though I have come here on the platform of the organised private sector I have chosen not to dwell on issues of either macro or micro economic policy for the simple reason that these policies however well thought out can only be implemented in an atmosphere of peace and security.