You're accidental presidents, Na’Abba hits Buhari, OBJ, Jonathan

Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ghali Umar Na’Abba has blamed Nigeria’s woes on leaders who he claimed got into office unprepared.

According to him, former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umar Yar’Adua, Goodluck Jonathan and other former political office holders within the last 18 years were accidental leaders.

The development, he said, has brought about trial and error in governance and also kept the nation in political, economic and social doldrums.

“Circumstances at hand or situations on ground have, to a large extent, over the years determined who and who were elected into office in Nigeria as presidents since 1999 as against the level of preparedness on the part of the leaders in terms of clear vision and programmes,” he said.

Na’abba who stated this in Abuja during the 2016/2017 matriculation and fellowship endowment ceremony of the National Institute for Legislative Studies (NILS), said rather than prepared and vision-driven leadership, as in most other democracies of the world, Nigeria had been governed by persons who had the rein of leadership on a platter.

Na’Abba, while also expressing regret that a few politicians have hijacked leadership recruitment process in the country, called for “regular tutorials” for political leaders at all levels and for more Nigerians to participate in politics with a view to opening up the political space.

“I believe that not just the legislature, every arm of government that is serving the purpose of governance must invest in exposing democracy to the people. It is a sad commentary on our political life that today, recruitment into leadership has been subverted by a few politicians because they deny Nigerians opportunity to contest elections and achieve their aspirations through the systematic appropriation of political parties to themselves.

“These politicians have stopped the growth of democracy. And it is true that unless democracy is allowed to grow, we cannot achieve the desired political growth, we cannot achieve the desired economic growth and we can also not achieve the desired social growth. And that is why we are still in political, economic and social doldrums. We have been having successive accidental leaders since 1999.

“It is time for us to begin to understand that the more participation Nigerians enjoy in politics, the more political development we attain. And consequently, economic and social development.

“We have been advocating that tutorials must be taking place on a continuous basis for stakeholders in democracy from the local governments to the states. What is sad today is that most of those who hold positions at the executive level of our political parties cannot distinguish the duties, functions and distinction between and among our political institutions. So, with this lack of knowledge, it is almost impossible for them to understand the kind of people that should serve at various levels.”

The Presidency, however, replied, saying Buhari should not be included in the list of accidental presidents.

In response to Daily Sun’s enquiry, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina said after running for the same plum office four times before winning, he could not be classified as accidental. “If a man runs for an office four times before he wins, is that accidental?”

Also reacting, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Shehu Garba, said Nigerians voted for Buhari because they were sick and tired of leaders who lied to them, stole their money and stashed it away abroad. 

“The Speaker must define for you what accidental president means. You cannot be president by accident when you bid for the job three times,and God Almighty answers and says, “yes” to you on the fourth count. This is the road President Buhari took. 

“In 2015, Nigerians did not vote by accident, either. Having become sick and tired of leaders who lied to them and removed money from the treasury and stashed away abroad, they voted for Muhammadu Buhari with a clear mandate to secure and stabilise the country, fight corruption and restructure the economy. This is what the president has been busy doing.”

But Several attempts to contact the media aide to former president Olusegun Obasanjo, Kehinde Akinyemi, to comment on Na’Abba’s statement, failed as his mobile phone was switched off. Also, a short message to him was not replied as at the time of filing this report.
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