Former Ekiti State Governor Dr. Kayode Fayemi, yesterday warned Nigerians expecting immediate dividends of change under the new administration to have a rethink.
Fayemi said this at the 2015 Akintola Williams Distinguished Lecture Series in Lagos, where he was guest speaker.
According to him, long-term visioning and succession planning are essential to avoid failed leadership.
He presented a paper titled: “Leadership factors and good corporate governance: Key to national growth and development”. He warned politicians who often make “wild promises” before they are voted into office.
Fayemi said people want immediate results from their elected officials, but governments must realise that succession planning takes time.
“The electorate tend to want immediate and tangible dividends to validate their confidence in their elected governments. Politicians, especially in our clime, are prone to crude populism, often making wild promises to perform immediate miracles once they are voted into office. The result is often mutual disappointment,” the former governor said.
“Successful development planning, like succession planning, is a long-term endeavour. The economic miracle of Southeast Asian nations was built on the back of long-term planning.
“China’s emergence, which is perhaps the most talked about and analysed development story of recent time, was nurtured over the course of 30 years. These are the countries we want to emulate,” Fayemi said.
Fayemi suggested that Nigeria’s long-term plans must be protected from negative political influences, such as those exhibited by certain African leaders, who continually perpetrate themselves in power.
“We simply cannot afford to legitimise the reasons given by some of our African leaders for perpetuating themselves in power indefinitely.
“In this regard, it has to be said that Africa’s legacy of developmental under-achievement has something to do with lack of careful succession planning. What we see in Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi today in terms of the pursuit of perpetuation of power clearly attests to this.”
He also urged the public sector to place merit above issues such as ethnicity, state of origin or religion in recruitment, as “only a public service populated and led by our best and brightest can justly and efficiently provide the public goods such as education, healthcare and housing that will achieve the developmental aspirations of our people”.
Fayemi urged Nigeria to tread cautiously in the area of privatisation, as authentic economic growth is impossible without a competent public sector.
“Not everything can be privatised nor should every area of society be surrendered to the whims and caprices of market forces.”
The lecture organised in honour of the 96-year-old Mr. Akintola Williams, a renowned doyen of the accounting profession in Nigeria, was attended by former Head of Interim National Government Chief Ernest Shonekan, Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun and one- time Lagos State Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Wale Edun.