The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, says Nigeria needs leaders with the capacity to manage rapid domestic and global changes to achieve prosperity, peace, and security.
Mr Gbajabiamila said this at the Legislative Mentorship Initiative (LMI) workshop titled “Building the Next Generation of Nigeria’s Public Sector Leaders” on Monday in Abuja.
The workshop was organised for 74 young Nigerians, including Persons with Disabilities, selected across the 36 states of the Federation and the FCT.
“Whatever happens, Nigeria desperately needs leaders with the capacity and character to manage change,” Mr Gbajabiamila said.
He added, “The consequences of the changes happening in our world today will depend on how we respond, the decisions we make, and the ideas we choose to invest in.”
The speaker said the quality of decision-making in politics and governance, which would define the country’s course, was dependent on the capacity of leaders to adapt to the rapid changes.
“These are exciting times. In Nigeria and across the world, we are experiencing rapid and relentless changes across every facet of our lives. Some of these changes are technological; others are economical and political.
“The quality of our decision-making in politics and governance will define the course of our country. Whether we achieve progress, prosperity, peace, and security for all our people depend entirely on the capacity and competence of our political leadership,” he said.
Mr Gbajabiamila said LMI aimed to identify and train the next generation of public sector leaders, particularly in the legislature.
He said youths would not change anything if they did not understand and participate in the political and governance process, saying the aim was to involve more young people and direct their energies into national development.
The speaker said they bore no allegiance to politics and politicians, and their judgement of governing systems was determined by whether the systems and or politicians met their expectations.
“For these young people, Nigeria has been a democracy for all or most of their lives. As more of them come of age, they are questioning the systems and structures of politics of governance and challenging flaws and limitations as they see them.
“They are not as inclined as generations before them to excuse the failures of democracy because the alternative of military rule is worse. And they will not accept incremental progress when radical reform is necessary and possible.
“This is a good thing. It is also a dangerous thing. Nations are redefined and re-rejuvenated by the deliberate effort to reconsider the underpinnings of nationhood and remove deep-rooted assumptions and practices irreconcilable with the desired future,” he said.
The British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Gill Atkinson, commended the youth LMI, saying that young people were the country’s future and would make a difference.
Earlier, the director-general of LMI, Dapo Oyewole, said that the participants were selected from 4000 applicants.