August 27, (THEWILL) – Governors of the 36 states in Nigeria on Friday converged on Kigali, the Rwandan capital, as the inaugural session of the Executive Leadership Retreat, a strategic collaboration between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) kicked off in earnest.
The retreat is an orientation cum refresher programme of a sort for the governors, especially the newly-elected ones and first timers, on the essentials of leadership and good governance.
The timing of the programme by the UNDP and NGF is also good. While some of the governors are just starting out as ‘freshers’ and ‘rookies’ in their various states, others are kicking-off their second terms, following their re-election in the last general election.
President Bola Tinubu had earlier met with the governors in Abuja immediately after his inauguration on May 29. The choice of Kigali for the Executive Leadership Retreat is not only deliberate but also strategic, since Rwanda has become a model state for good governance across the globe as its President, Paul Kagame, is, arguably, Africa’s poster boy for pragmatic leadership and good governance. The transformation of Rwanda in every aspect of life under the leadership and direction of President Kagame, despite the country’s unenviable past history, has been acclaimed globally.
We commend the UNDP and NGF for this initiative. We believe that the exposure and experience from the retreat would be helpful to the governors in facing the enormous challenges before them in their various states, especially now that Nigeria as a country is undergoing one of the most trying times in its chequered political history, with majority of the people facing intense economic and social hardship.
We are quite excited at the Kigali option for this retreat as Nigerian leaders had always turned such programmes into another jamboree with Dubai, in most cases, as the preferred destination of choice, until recently, to enable them launder stolen funds with their cronies and acolytes in tow at the expense of the tax payers in their states.
The lacklustre leadership across all strata in the various states of the country, as well as the mis-governance that was experienced over the years could be attributed to the unpreparedness of most of our so-called leaders for the challenges and expectations of the positions they aspire to occupy. From the local level through the states and to the Federal Government, the leadership that has been foisted on the Nigerian people in the recent past has been very disappointing.
The corruption and rot being experienced in the country are the results of the faulty leadership preparation and selection process whereby positions are given to the highest bidders instead of the most appropriate and well-suited candidates. It is therefore not surprising to find the so-called leaders scheming on methods to loot their states dry immediately they get to office.
We therefore urge the governors to open their eyes wide and learn from what made Rwanda great within such a short period after the deadly war that tore the country into shreds. The recovery of Rwanda and its ability to stand tall in the comity of nations should be exciting and interesting to our governors and they should resolve to translate and replicate the good developments in Rwanda back at home upon their return.
It is however sad that Nigerian leaders travel abroad very often and see how things work out there but fail to try the methods back at home upon their return. Leadership should therefore not be foisted on the people but must be earned through a careful selection process which must include adequate preparation over time, proper grooming and solid mentoring for potential leaders.
Only a few of the present crop of leaders in the country now can in fact deliver on their mandate and the promises made to their people as most of them not only lack the essential qualities of good leadership but emerge through a faulty process that cannot produce the type of leadership required to move Nigeria to the next level.
The Kigali experience should therefore be a turning point for our governors to do the needful to move the country forward as the experience would have been wasted if they return to Nigeria and continue doing business as usual.