Former Minister of Education, Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili alongside other members of Fix Politics Study Group have urged the first set of cohorts in the school to imbibe the spirit of servant-leadership and statesmanship.
The students recently commenced a seven-month course that would revolutionise their thinking and propel them for nation-building.
The course is part of the group’s agenda to fix politics in Nigeria and Africa, according to a statement by its spokesperson, Mr. Ozioma Ubabukoh.
Welcoming the pioneer participants, the Chief Executive Officer of the School of Politics, Policy, and Guidance (SPPG), Mrs. Alero Ayida-Otobo, congratulated the students and described the event as the unveiling of nation builders.
“Today is the first day of a journey that is going to take you to unusual places. Some are going to be painful and others exciting. But I want you to keep the end in mind,” she said.
Ayida-Otobo noted that through the programme, students would be given the necessary tools to understand the political landscape, economy, and resource management, among others.
“Africa needs the individuals that would pay the price to fix politics,” the SPPG CEO added.
Ezekwesili, who emphasised the significance of SPPG called the students’ attention to the understanding of leadership as service for the common good.
She said: “To that extent, we must say to you that you are on a journey of self-discovery. You are on a journey where you are to be the one to evaluate your readiness as well as negotiate your values because the greatest tragedy of the African leadership failure is willingness to negotiate values.
“If after being with us, there is nothing that proves you are different from the leadership that brought us to the lowest rock of development, then we will not have done anything meaningful. My joy is that even before you started, we felt the air of what you exude: the readiness to go for it,” Ezekwezili added.
For Prof. Remi Sonaiya, the pioneer students must take a deeper reflection to query the reason they applied to join the movement for the birth of a new governance system in Africa.
Sonaiya, who was KOWA party’s presidential candidate in the 2015 general election, added, “I hope you have come with a mind open enough to allow a fundamental disruption to overweigh your thinking. I trust that you are here because you believe politics is service and that the pursuit of a common goal is the noble goal for politics.”
Speaking on SPPG’s theoretical and practical courses, Frank Nweke urged the students to pay greater attention to values and ethics during their stay in the school.
“At no time in our history has our nation’s contemporary need for national and sub-national leadership been as dire and as urgent as it is today. SPPG has, therefore, been conceptualised as a sustainable approach and module to identify, recruit, train, deploy and monitor citizens into and within public leadership positions,” Nweke stated.
In welcoming the students, the SPPG Head of Faculty, Dr. Amina Salihu, said, “Distinguished pioneer cohorts, welcome to a journey of a lifetime, where you will become the seed of a critical successor generation. The power of possibility begins with you!
“You are with us in our mission to create a successor generation that will run for elective offices and will help to collectively shape a new 21st-century political culture as a class of public leaders with the right character, competence, and capacity to prioritise the public good over private benefits. Be bold, be optimistic, and be involved. That is the way to change the world!”
One of the pioneer students, Elizabeth Onuoha, said, “I believe that what we are to learn will allow us to birth the Nigeria of our dreams.”