Welcome Address Delivered by Engr. Ferdinand Azi @ Political Forum G50 Talkshow & 5th Anniversary Celebrations Of The Forum Held on 2nd November 2019@ Sheraton Hotel Ikeja.
Theme : “Blueprint for Sustainable Economic Development”
Distinguished Political Forum G50 Members,
The Lead Moderator, Dr Olisa Agbakogba (SAN),
Distinguished Members of the Press,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I welcome all of you to today’s event to mark the 5th anniversary celebrations of this great platform.
We thank God for the success recorded so far by the Forum despite all hurdles and adversities. Some of you may ask, why Political Forum G50 ?
Political Forum G50 was created out of passion for quality leadership and good governance in our beloved country, Nigeria. This forum was created with just 50 people, immediately I returned to Nigeria, after my MSc Programme on Health & Safety at University of Birmingham, United Kingdom. The objective was to promote good governance in Nigeria. As at today, we have grown in leaps and bounds with over 30, 000 professionals as members with membership strength across all the continents in the world.
You will agree with me that the gap between the rich and the poor is so wide in Nigeria unlike the United Kingdom. Our collective voices could bridge the gap through continual sensitization and public awareness.
Many believed that Nigeria’s only problem is POOR LEADERSHIP AND BAD GOVERNANCE. I am of the opinion that Nigeria’s problem is not just poor leadership and bad governance, but failure of the masses in telling our leaders how we should be governed.
Political Forum G50 is not a Political Party, it is a platform to discuss critical national issues of leadership and good governance in Nigeria and possibly proffer solutions on the way forward.
Our core OBJECTIVE is to promote good governance in Nigeria while OUR MISSION is to achieve good governance in all the three tiers of government.
1.1 The CORE VALUES of Political Forum G50 are :
Our mission is to ensure that these core values reflect in our voting pattern as being practised in the Western world.
It may interest you that we carefully picked this year’s theme; “Blueprint For Sustainable Economic Development” to capture the current mood of the nation.
Checking from the dictionary, blueprint means a detailed outline or plan of action. This is similar in architectural design during building of houses that we live inside. Hence, the foundation would determine how far the building will last. My favourite scripture in the bible is Psalms 11 : 3 which says; “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do” ?
From this analysis, it is explicitly clear that the foundations in our country are wrong and not only in Nigeria but Africa as a continent.
But with emerging trends of Leadership and awareness, we can change the order; however, it must take the willingness of all Nigerians including the Leaders and Lawmakers. These are the areas of concerns :
1.12 Faulty Constitution : Nigerian constitution is considered as the weakest in the world. It is tantamount to having a dog in the house that can’t bark. Our Lawmakers have a great task to deploy a holistic approach and overhaul the constitution which was handed over to us by the military leadership.
1.13 Judiciary Reforms : Faulty constitution gave rise to weak judiciary system. The Presidency has a great role to play here. Every bottlenecks in our judiciary system should be expunged and replaced with working operating modules.
1.131 Immunity Clause : Immunity clause is the greatest enemy of democracy. It is the same as giving a license to a Governor to steal as much as he can while in power. Every Politician in Nigeria takes delight to visit USA or UK but never sat down to think or ask how Nigeria can be transformed. We borrowed a leaf from US system of government which is Federalism and yet no one is under Immunity in US including the President. This implies that the lawmakers imported garbage into the constitution.
1.132 Electoral Act : The electoral act itself is good but full of bumps and potholes. Many Nigerians have lost confidence in the electoral system because they believe that their votes won’t count. The appointment of Independent National Electoral Commission’s Chairman (INEC) should be subjugated to the National Assembly or Judiciary if they truly want to make it independent.
1.133 Way Forward : Recently, the Supreme Court has upheld the elections of President Buhari to run for the 2nd tenure. This implies that he is no more coming out in 2023. The implementation of the enumerated issues above should start from now to avoid what happened in 2019 general elections as condemned by EU observers. Recall that Nigerian government assured EU Observers that they will implement all their recommendations.
2.1 Sustainability is one of the leadership problems in Nigeria. Our politicians don’t uphold good values/virtues.
I could remember in 2010 when I invited my family for Calabar Carnivals shortly when Chief Donald Duke handed over the baton to His Excellency, Liyel Imoke, the then Governor of Cross River State.
We drove the entire city of Calabar town; my wife asked one question; “is there no potholes in Calabar”? I responded that you can only get potholes at Northern Cross River.
But in 2019, the potholes are visible and living with us in all the nooks and crannies of the city. What went wrong ? The Governors that took over from Chief Donald Duke could not sustain the tempo.
Similarly, in year 2000; when I moved to Alimosho Local Government, Lagos State, you can drive the entire area without observing a single porthole. But in 2019; the potholes are glaring, almost everywhere in Alimosho LGA.
This implied that there was serious leadership degradation over years. Despite, the population and resources in Lagos State, the Governors couldn’t sustain the trends in sustainable economic development.
2.2 Introduction of Operating Templates – PDCA
I was doing my MSC programme in 2013 when this operating module was introduced in United Kingdom. They spent three months to lecture us on how it works.
2.21 Plan, Identify problem and develop plan for improvement. Identifying problems and developing plans for improvement is very important in sustainable economic development. In USA, this is the sole responsibility of Governors; they send proposals and don’t handle cash.
In Nigeria, every Governor is interested in monthly allocation. Most of them abandoned their duty posts and core responsibilities in pursuit of allocation and stay in Abuja for months despite pressing needs.
In United Kingdom, Local Authorities handle most activities because every Lawmaker hails from a Local Authority. Hence, no need for constituency projects.
2.22 Do, Implement Plan – This entails job execution. Pursuit of Excellence is the keyword here.
2.23 Study/Check, Assess Plan; is it working ? – Monitoring and Supervision is very paramount in this module. When there is no effective monitoring and supervision; all the efforts would come back to square zero. Queries, Memos, Fines, Penalties are obtainable from this stage. For sustainable economic development, there must be effective monitoring and supervision in place.
2.24 Act, Institutionalize improvement, Continue Cycle – The largest room in the world is the room for improvement. This centres on developing and improving the standard. Every loophole is blocked immediately. Every failure must be sanctioned. This module wasn’t design to fail but if it fails, someone must pay dearly for it. It could be jail or fines.
In United Kingdom; every contract to repair or construct roads must include at least 5-10 years maintenance contracts.
Politicians send their children to US or UK, but we can do better if we apply sustainability in the system.
Finally, all hands must be on deck to achieve this great feat in our dear country .
I am using this opportunity to appreciate all the G50 Forum Administrators for their relentless efforts in keeping with the objectives of this laudable project.
We will equally appreciate our esteemed members who have been active and tracking our perceptions of a better Nigeria .
We must commend our friends and well-wishers, who graced this historical landmark event.
Everyone here and those listening from afar, and those who contributed in one way or the other, we are grateful.
This event wouldn’t have been colourful without the Lead Moderator, Dr Olisa Agbakogba SAN and moderators who have been overwhelmingly positive towards a better Nigeria.
We are also very much grateful and honoured to have such distinguished personalities and speakers. We all are part of the success story
Long live Political Forum G50
LONG LIVE, FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA.
Engr Ferdinand Azi
Convener – Political Forum G50