Former President Goodluck Jonathan has charged Nigeria’s political elite with engaging in “bread and butter politics” by utilizing cash bribes to get access to high-ranking positions in government.
On Saturday in Abuja, during his keynote presentation at the one-year memorial service for Idahosa Okunbo, Mr. Jonathan provided the advice.
According to him, the election of 2023 should be viewed as a chance to give Nigeria the kind of leadership it needs both now and in the future to claim its proper 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 leader asked Nigerians to look beyond their immediate needs.
“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 advised political leaders at all levels to make necessary sacrifices that promote patriotism, inspire devotion, and motivate citizens to do their best for their country. He claimed that every election cycle gave Nigerians ample opportunity to make decisions that will help them renew their hope, restore what was lost, and rebuild the nation.
“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 former president emphasized that excellent leadership would “give birth to legacies that would serve as a source of pride and benefit to the rest of society” in households, schools, communities, traditional institutions, and places of worship.
Regarding Nigeria’s political evolution and development issues, Mr. Jonathan stated the country and its leaders could not afford to place an excessive amount of focus on the country’s ethnic diversity.
“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.”