Shina Peller, lawmaker representing Iseyin/Itesiwaju/Iwajowa/Kajola federal constituency at the house of representatives, says for Nigeria to move forward, the nation must stop “strengthening an individual ahead of institutions”.
Peller spoke on Saturday at the launch of ‘The Law is an Ass: A Collection of Fictional Short Stories’ — a book by Niran Adedokun, a public relations practitioner, lawyer and writer.
The lawmaker said the country is “suffering from many structural defects”.
“We must have the opportunity to strengthen institutions other than working on strengthening the individual because when you look at what is happening in Nigeria today, you’ll see that we are suffering from many structural defects, ” he said.
“There are two basic areas we need to focus on, which is the human character. That’s the challenge between leaders and followers; how do we identify our leaders?”
While speaking on the topic: ‘Reforming Nigeria: The People or the Structure’, Muiz Banire, chairman of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), said Nigeria is “heading nowhere” unless government institutions are protected from external control.
“This is the problem; we continue to build strong individuals as against strong institutions. Not until we start having strong institutions, we’re heading nowhere. Look at what happened during the last days of the Trump administration in America; he tried all means to attack, in my view, the various institutions, but the institutions restricted him successfully, ” he said.
“Institutions are born out of the rule of law, and that’s the only thing you have your allegiance to, but it’s the converse in Nigeria because we do not have strong institutions. Even the structures are so weak that what happens within them is dictated externally from people outside the agencies.
“That’s the major problem we are having today, and not until we are able to insulate all those different structures away from external influences, then we are heading nowhere.”
On her part, Hadiza Bala-Usman, former managing director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), said it requires “a little bit of a crazy someone” to move Nigeria forward, and it can be done with the right leadership.
“I believe that we can get it right, but it requires people with competence and capacity being in government and driving the forces that are needed. It needs courage and conviction,” she said.
“I believe 2023 we will have a situation where everybody literally bears their father’s name. We have a dynamic within the polity where the narrative around ‘this person is from my area and will do this for me’ has been thrown out of the window.”