United Bank Africa

Nigeria Can Achieve a lot through Quality Leadership Without Restructuring—Ebri



Former Governor of Cross River, Chief Clement Ebri, has called for quality leadership at all levels of governance for Nigeria to achieve more without going the way of restructuring.

Ebri, a former member of the defunct Constituent Assembly, Chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC), founding member and former Chairman, Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), who stated this in an interview in Port Harcourt.

He also said that political actors also required “a change of mind set’’.

According to Ebri, former Chairman, Presidential Committee to examine the1999 Constitution, those calling for restructuring should also understand that such processes cannot be achieved overnight.

He said: “Once we have the right kind of leadership in place, we can still achieve a lot without going the way of restructuring.

“In the final analysis, I must reiterate the fact that restructuring cannot be accomplished overnight. As far as I am concerned, our immediate need is quality leadership at various levels of governance.

“Those clamouring for restructuring must, however, not lose sight of the fact that our political actors also need to change their mind set and act responsibly when entrusted with power, for restructuring to be meaningful.”

He said that a fairly large segment of our society saw restructuring essentially as the devolution of power to the states in order to make them stronger and weaken the centre.

Ebri also urged those calling for devolution of powers to states to equally consider the level of responsibility of those entrusted with power to run the states.

“A situation where our electoral system is skewed in favour of the rich without considering the pedigree of those who occupy public office deserves to be re-examined.

“I hold the view that if the road to public office is paved with corruption, nothing good can come from the beneficiaries of such a tainted process.

“Besides, true restructuring must necessarily address pitfalls of the Presidential system which majority of those clamouring for restructuring seem to gloss over. I believe that in our plans for restructuring, a thorough re-consideration of the Presidential System of Government must be tabled for serious debate,” he said.

Ebri also said that although he believed that resource control is a desirable element of restructuring, “we cannot afford to be negligent about its implications for the stability of our fragile democracy’’.

“We must thoroughly analyse its security implications, particularly in the short term, of stupendously rich states living side by side with the hopelessly poor on the other.

“Can the very rich and the very poor coexist in peace? Those are critical questions that must be answered as we discuss the fate of our cherished democracy,” he said

He also expressed concern over squabbles between the Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Dr Emmanuel Kachikwu, and the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr Maikanti Baru.

“At this point in time, I am reluctant to rush to judgement on the basis of the outpourings in the public domain. I would rather wait until all the facts are out.

“For now my prayer is that both parties will realise that as key managers of the flagship of the Nigerian economy they are duty bound to pursue a quick and amicable resolution of the matter.

“Thankfully, the National Assembly has commenced investigations into the stand-off.
Hopefully, at the end of the day, new laws will be enacted to plug all the loopholes in the existing laws that may have hindered the smooth operation of the NNPC,” Ebri said.

In a related development, chief Clement Ebri, former Governor of Cross River, has enjoined the Federal Government to tackle cultism in fundamental ways including deployment of security forces and counselling methods.

Ebri also urged the National Orientation Agency and other ethics-based agencies to assist in fighting cultism menace.

“Apart from using security agencies to curb cult activities I think that a lot of counselling needs to be done at both federal and state levels.The National Orientation Agency and other ethics-based agencies should, as a matter of urgency initiate programmes aimed at weaning our youths out of this mentality.

“I also believe that the intolerably high level of youth unemployment in the country is largely responsible for this unfortunate scourge. We need to direct the energies of our teeming unemployed youth to more productive ends. What really are the benefits of belonging to cult groups?

“It is inconceivable that a sizable number of our youth believe that cult membership can guarantee employment for them,’’ he said.

He said that good character, learning and a sound mind remained the only guarantees for employment.

“Government should utilise its vast resources to get to the root of the matter in order to rid our society of this unacceptable deviant behaviour,’’ Ebri said.

He also urged government at all levels to take steps to contain the spread of monkey pox disease.

“Every step must be taken by the federal government to keep the disease at bay. I am equally delighted to learn that a number of states have taken pre-emptive measures to stem the tide.

“Nigerian Scientists should go to work immediately to identify the real causes of the disease in order to provide an effective and lasting remedy,” Ebri said.