Nigerian political leaders practise ‘bread and butter’ politics: Jonathan
Former President Goodluck Jonathan has accused Nigeria’s political leaders of practising “bread and butter” politics, using financial inducements to buy their way into public offices.
Mr Jonathan gave the advice while delivering a keynote address at the one-year memorial in honour of Idahosa Okunbo in Abuja on Saturday.
He said 2023 should be seen as an avenue to elect the kind of leadership Nigeria deserves now and in the future to assume its rightful place among nations.
“Ahead of the 2023 elections, we are getting ready to be wooed and wowed at campaign grounds by various politicians seeking different offices. But these thoughts are beyond 2023,” Mr Jonathan noted. “It is about Nigeria and the kind of leadership it deserves now and in the future to ensure that our country assumes its rightful place among the comity of nations. My charge to Nigerians is to be circumspect in the exercise of their voting rights.”
The former president urged Nigerians to think beyond immediate gratification.
“We must shift away from the politics of bread and butter and ensure that we do not elect leaders that will buy our conscience today and mortgage the future of our children and grandchildren,” Mr Jonathan told his compatriots. “We should endeavour to elect only those that will leave legacies of unity, peace and development.”
Mr Jonathan said every election cycle provided Nigerians with the ample opportunity to take decisions that will help them renew their hope, restore what was lost and rebuild the country and advised political leaders at all levels to make necessary sacrifices that promote patriotism, inspire devotion and spur citizens to do their best for their country.
“Those who also lead at various capacities in politics and business, be they councillors, council chairpersons, governors, lawmakers at both state and national levels as well as boardroom gurus, should be bothered about the value of their leadership style,” he stressed.
He added, “Will you be remembered as a deceitful leader, an ethnic bigot, religious fanatic or a nation builder that would leave lasting legacies for the people.”
The ex-president further stressed that good leadership at homes, schools, communities, traditional institutions, and worship places would “give birth to legacies that would serve as a source of pride and benefit to the rest of society.”
On Nigeria’s political evolution and development challenges, Mr Jonathan said the nation and its leaders could not afford to lay undue emphasis on its ethno-sectional colouration.
“Nations grow on the back of lasting legacies left by successive leaders. Our founding fathers may have offered their best efforts and made their own mistakes in service to their country and allegiance to cultural identities, especially on the issue bordering on the unity of Nigeria,” Mr Jonathan explained. “But we should be able to ask ourselves as current political leaders, what lasting legacies are we leaving for our children and grandchildren.”
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