Dr Cosmos Ilechukwu, the Convener, The Change We Need Nigeria Initiative, has described the dominance of money politics in the country’s political system as ‘’a lamentable political misfortune.”
Ilechukwu, who is the General Overseer of Charismatic Renewal Ministries, made the remark, on Friday, at the 9th Annual Independent Lecture Series of the group titled: “The Nigeria of Our Dream’’ in Abuja.
According to him, deep in the heart of every Nigerian is a dream of a country where every one will feel happy to call home.
He said it is however disheartening that “the political elite, who in the main are Machiavellians, seem to have succeeded in foisting on the consciousness of an average Nigerian, the falsity that he who has the power and money has the say.”
“This explains the dominance of money-politics in Nigeria; a lamentable political misfortune, that has made it impossible for the best minds we have to lead the country,” he said.
He said history had proved time and time again that a nation’s great leaders are its great scholars.
“In an age of knowledge economy, we must resolve as a nation to draft our intellectual giants for national leadership,” he said.
He said the Nigeria everyone dream-of had continue to elude Nigerians over the years as a result of deliberate ploy by some leaders who have exploited our obvious differences for selfish political and economic ends.
He identified poverty as another problem that had hampered the emergence of the Nigeria of our dream.
According to him, an impoverished populace can hardly think of anything beyond their daily survival.
He gave eight key elements that could help achieve the Nigeria that everyone dream about, which include “common citizenship, governance based on the rule of law, a productive Nigeria, meritocracy, education and youth development, among others.”
Chief Sylvester Onoja, the Chairman of the occasion, said the only factor that could bring the desired change is education.
The former Commissioner of Education in Kogi lamented that Nigeria has the least amount budgeted for education in sub-Sahara Africa.
“The only way to progress is to produce people who have the intellectual capacity to lead as education illuminates and makes you the citizen of the world. We cannot progress when our educational system is not working,” he stated.
Dr Otive Igbuzor, a public affairs commentator, on his part, said emphasis must be made not only on education but also on political education because many people initiate change without going through the steps and process of change.
“Strategies of change include unfreezing, moving and refreezing. By unfreezing, I mean to break away from the old ways of doing things.
“Moving is to get change champions to implement the change and refreezing is to reinforce and support the new ways of doing things,” he explained.
Danny McCain, a Professor of Biblical Theology, University of Jos, said the country could achieve its dream by creating realistic plans that would enable it to see immediate small successes.
According to the American-born lecturer, we must recognise that long-term changes require long-term commitment.
“We must understand that this must be a joint project that involves not just one ethnic group or one religion but all the citizens and residents of Nigeria,” he said.