By Uche John Madu
The name rings a bell to those that understand selfless service. It also rings a bell to those who understand that leadership is about taking care of those in your charge, making the goals clear, rolling your sleeves up, and doing whatever it takes to help people win.
The general elections have come and gone, and the country is set for a new course in formulating and implementing sound policies and programmes that would address the challenges confronting the country. This would not happen by a stroke of luck but rather efforts towards ensuring that round pegs are in round roles to ensure that governance runs smoothly, especially in the sensitive legislative arm of government.
Interestingly, the leadership of the National Assembly has yet to elicit the attention it deserves because Nigerians see it as a party affair. This does not seem right. In every democratic nation, fundamental principles form the foundation of good governance. In virtually all democratic systems, there are three basic arms of government, namely the legislature, executive and judiciary. The primary role of the legislature is to make laws, the executive implements or executes such laws and the judiciary interprets the laws.
The state of the legislature has been identified as the strongest predictor of the survival of every democratic development. Legislature serves as an essential constituent for any democratic government and a significant factor in its sustenance. It has been widely acknowledged that an effective legislature is essential to democracy, the rule of law, human rights, and economic and social development. The legislature plays an important role in the life of a nation to bring about good governance.
In light of the above, we must admit that the need to get it right with the choice of leaders for the 10th National Assembly is of great importance and why competence, experience and credibility should be placed above ethnic or religious considerations. These considerations are in the country’s best interest and not the interest of political parties. This much we must admit if indeed we are desirous of making any meaningful impact in the lives of the people in the incoming administration.
As at the last count, the number of those aspiring for the speakership position in the Federal House of Representatives has reached an alarming number. There are those whose aspiration is premised on regional sentiments, ethnic sentiments and also religious sentiments. And it makes a caricature of the whole process.
I belong to the school of thought that leadership should be about competence and experience, not ethnic or religious considerations. This has been a trend that yielded little in terms of delivering on the mandate over the years. Should we then continue in a trend that has not served its purpose?
We must come to terms with our reality, especially with regard to the leadership of the 10th National Assembly. Those advocating for ethnic and religious considerations are not in tune with the enormity of the task. Do we need such now? The answer is no. We need leaders with a national outlook, armed with the requisite experience and strength of character, to lead in a manner that would unite and bring about meaningful development at this critical point of our existence.
This reality is gradually gaining traction in our political life, which is a good omen. As a development expert, I have taken time to scrutinize the credentials of all aspirants that have indicated an interest in the speakership position and came to the conclusion that amongst the lot, Hon Aminu Sani Jaji fits the bill perfectly.
My conclusion is hinged on his antecedent and commitment to sustaining democracy and good governance over the years. Hon Aminu Sani Jaji, the former House of Representatives Committee on Intelligence and Internal Security chairman, is familiar with leadership. He is such a passionate leader who has, on several occasions demonstrated his grasp of issues related to the national question of sustainable growth and development.
He is different from your regular politician who grandstands to curry favour from the electorates. He is a brave heart whose contributions to the sustenance of democracy in Nigeria have been applauded in several forums. He has braved the odds to speak out on crucial national issues regardless of the vested interest phenomenon.
He has built bridges across the divide, reinforcing his cosmopolitan nature and desire to see a strong ad united Nigeria. Make no mistakes; he is not a saint. You could accuse him of several things, but one can’t be his passion for standing on the side of truth and the people.
I am privileged to have interacted with him on several occasions. And one thing stands out; he is a dispassionate individual who speaks power to the truth. Highly detribalized and passionate about good governance. This much can be seen in his contributions on the floor of the green chambers that have elicited tremendous respect from colleagues and stakeholders in the Nigerian project.
That he has signified interest in the speakership position should give well-meaning Nigerians a cause for celebration because he would bring to bear his years of experience as a sound legislator in leading the hallowed green chambers of the National Assembly. Therefore, the APC leadership should heed the counsel of ceding the speakership position to competence and experience.
This is not the time for ethnic and religious experiments. The country is on the brink, and our watchword should be nothing short of the best. As mentioned earlier, Hon Aminu Sani Jaji rings a bell to those who understand selfless service by clarifying the goals and then rolling your sleeves up and doing whatever it takes to help people win. And with Hon Aminu Sani Jaji as speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, the people will win.
Madu is a public affairs analyst based in Lagos