Excerpt from Frank Nweke II’s foreword at the NES 16 in 2010
This important development has however not assuaged our concerns about the dismal human development indicators for Nigeria at this historic milestone: Poverty and Unemployment; Infant and Maternal mortality remain high. Corruption is endemic and socio-economic infrastructure, a challenge. The polity is unstable and the future uncertain. Ineffectual leadership, corruption and weak institutions have constrained economic development, impeded foreign direct investment and economic prosperity for our people.
All across Nigeria there is a sense of foreboding, a chorus of voices demanding change, accountability and the most basic needs of life: water, healthcare, education, security, electricity, roads and jobs. Fifty years through different systems of government and several development strategies, a consensus has emerged on the need to unravel this development dilemma through critical interrogation of the nexus between politics and economy with a view to identifying issues which have constrained the creativity needed to superintend Nigeria towards the realisation of her manifest destiny, as a strong, prosperous and competitive nation.
Nigeria is at a moment of great challenge and great opportunity. The first half of the new millennium can become a period of renaissance for Nigeria if citizens choose the path of social accountability synonymous with good followership by demanding the entrenchment of new politics to bring forth a new generation of politicians who have the intellect and civility required for public office, respect the public trust and have an unambiguous commitment to the well being of the Nigerian people. This cannot happen by accident. It can only be achieved if we imbibe the social consciousness required to appreciate leadership and followership as shared responsibility….and make the sacrifices that our situation demands. The new civilisations in South East Asia were achieved not by mediocrity but under purposeful leadership which inspired their people to change and to achieve…..to be the best. Nigeria can be the best….but every citizen, business and political leaders, media and civil society must rise to this challenge of visionary leadership……. Quite clearly economic policies are not enough.
“The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of Leadership…The Nigerian problem is simply the inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility of personal example which is the hallmark of true leadership……it is the duty of enlightened citizens to lead the way in their discovery and to create an atmosphere conducive to theiremergence”…Chinua Achebe