Daily Trust (Abuja)

24 January 2013

Nigeria: Hon. Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal - 'Leaders Think the People Owe Them'

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Nigeria's leadership crisis is created by the leaders' insensitivity towards the yearnings and aspirations of the electorate, Speaker of the House of Representatives Aminu Waziri Tambuwal said in Abuja yesterday. He spoke at the 10th Trust Annual Dialogue with the theme 'Nation building: Challenges and realities' held at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel.

The speaker, who was the special guest of honour at the event, said "since we are talking about the reality of nation building, we must agree that more often than not we leaders behave as if the people owed us rather than the other way round." He said "once we get power, we become selfish and arrogant and forget that we are servants of the people and not masters of the universe. This is the fundamental cause of our leadership crisis."

Tambuwal also said "although we see daily proof that power is transient, it has not tempered our predisposition to misuse the opportunity when afforded us; and to squander the public's goodwill on the altar of greed." He added that "The challenges of nation building in a place like Nigeria are many and sometimes messy. The diversity of culture and character, the difference in religion and tradition, the clear gap in values and orientation, and the dubious legacy of our colonial history make the prospect appear daunting."

He said "there is nothing special about the nature of our federation or the conflicts that it has engendered. Practically every nation formed by people from diverse backgrounds and inclination must contend with similar conflicts. It is the ability to constantly see beyond these differences to the bonds that hold us together that is the key to our success."

The speaker said there is always going to be conflict "but that is not necessarily such a bad thing in itself. Some democrats believe that conflicts are the catalysts in a democracy, often leading to a more perfect union. The search for solution, the constant interface between people who face mutual challenges, more often than not, lead to closer understanding of not just the problems, but of one another."

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