A former governor of Ogun State, Gbenga Daniel, has expressed dismay at the quality of representation at the National Assembly, especially from the South-West zone of the country.
Daniel, who said there is a need for Nigerians to revamp the process of choosing political leaders in order to enhance quality representation and ensure good governance in the country, stated this while fielding questions from reporters shortly after declaring open the Continuous Political Education Programme organised by the Political Leadership Training Institute (POLA) in Sagamu.
He, however, called for value reorientation and conscientiousness among the people towards improving the nation’s electoral process.
The boot camp event, with the theme, “Understanding Democracy, Quality Representation and Political Management,” had in attendance about 100 participants, mostly youths and emerging leaders drawn from various disciplines.
Daniel, who is the Chancellor of POLA established in 2011 to train and mentor new leaders for the country, said there was a need to return to vibrant and quality representation experienced during the era of late Senators Abraham Adesanya, Biyi Durojaiye and Jubril Martins-Kuye in the state.
According to the former governor, party leaders must desist from skewing the electoral process in favour of moneybags against those with the requisite capacity.
“The problem that we have as you are aware is the process. These days, increasingly, the quality of representation, especially in the South West, is not okay.”
“If you look at the quality we used to have at the Senate in those days; Pa Abraham Adesanya was at the Senate, Biyi Durojaiye was at the Senate, JMK (Jubril Martins-Kuye) was at the Senate. These are people who were very sound, they know their onions and when they stand to speak, people will listen.
“So, what I’m just saying is that increasingly we have to consciously appreciate that the National Assembly is a place where a lot of things happen and for you to be able to make a difference for your people, first of all, you have to be sound, you have to be knowledgeable and you have to be well connected.
“These days, the way it goes is really something one is very unhappy with because sometimes some people just go abroad, you don’t even know how they run into their money, and they come back home, they first start spending money for leaders and before you know it, they’ve been selected to go into the House of Assembly or the House of Representatives. We need to deliberately educate our people that if you don’t put good input, you won’t have a good output. We don’t want garbage in, garbage out which is what we have seen in some of the legislatures,” he submitted.
The former governor, who reaffirmed his belief in the concept of restructuring, said it is imperative for Nigerian leaders to have the willpower to restructure the country.
“I read the documents of the APC, I think it was a committee of El-Rufai, Fayemi and Co that put that document together. Restructuring is part of the key ingredients of that document. The other party, the PDP, is not also different. So, I think what is missing now is the willpower of leaders to execute what they’ve written down,” he added.
Earlier in his opening remarks at the event, Daniel admitted that he had been inundated with calls to run for some national offices in 2023 although he pointed out that the occasion was not meant to react to the clamour.
The ex-governor, however, stated that he agreed with the reasons alluded to by his supporters.
His words: “I have read the news and watched videos from diverse groups and individuals who have been calling on me to run for some National offices in 2023; while this is neither the time nor the occasion to react to such clamour, I agree mostly with their reasons.
“The position that only those with the required capacity should be allowed to make laws and sanction policies that affect the lives of the citizens can not be overemphasised not just in Ogun state but the entire country. The National Assembly plays a vital role in our democracy and requires the best of vibrant intellectuals our nation has to offer.
“Laws made must be in tandem with the goals to create a better society for the people, one not just rooted in the ideals of good governance but forged with the mindset of the advancement of the present inventions and future innovations. But in all these, our dream of a prosperous country will amount merely to a wait for Godot if unity takes the back seat”. He stated.
Daniel also charged the citizens to play a crucial role in the polity by serving as ombudsman to checkmate elected representatives and ensure they perform optimally.
“For a society to be better, the citizens must avoid the siddon-look approach and participate in the process. They must critique, guide, educate, inform and most especially render assistance when required for collective prosperity,” Daniel concluded.