By Lanre Oloyede
Despite the barrage of challenges bedeviling Nigeria, there is still hope of a brighter future for the country if the right measures are taken, Dr. Femi Lanre-Oke has said.
Nigeria marked her 63rd independence anniversary on October 1st but many analysts are of the opinion that the country has little or nothing to show for it.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with our correspondent on the State of the Nation, Dr. Lanre-Oke, who is a clergy and leadership development expert, noted that Nigeria after 63 years of independence has fallen short of expectations of many in terms of economic development and empowerment of her citizens.
This he attributed to years of failed leadership and neglect of values of honesty and patriotism.
“When you look at a man of 60 years of age, there are certain expectations you have of that man. Looking at where Nigeria is compared to a man of that age, we cannot say we are where we are supposed to be but the truth is that we are not loosing hope,” Dr. Lanre-Oke stated.
The Lead Pastor of Jesus Praise Evangelical Ministry International, JPEMI, lamented that Nigeria lacked proof of independence as the country still depends largely on foreign importation and borrowing to run her economy.
“Even though the nation is celebrating 63 years of independence but there are no proofs of independence because we are not actually independent. We still live in heavy indebtedness. Some might say there are other nations that are also indebted but that’s not a good standard to compare with.
“At 63, we can’t boast of many indigenous companies. The Ajaokuta steel company is there not functioning; we are still relying on the Chinese for our rail system. We still need the Chinese to come and build our international airports, we need the Chinese to come and build our rail system. We can’t even say these are the things we can do by ourselves. For our oil, we still need to export them to refine. We can’t say our refineries are working.
“We have produced engineers for 63 years, but to fix our refineries we need to bring foreigners and experts to come and fix them. That’s not glorious. At 63, we still have our senators and leaders going abroad for medical treatment. I can’t imagine the president of America going to India to treat himself. At 63, we don’t have standard hospitals that our leaders can even boast of. The children of the wealthy prefer to go school abroad because they value the standard of education there compared to what is here. It’s worrisome. But then, all hope is still not lost. We still believe there’s a future,” he averred.
However, despite these challenges, the highly revered man of God is of the opinion that God is mindful of Nigeria as the country is still very much in His plan; and as such, help is on the way.
“I believe God has not forgotten Nigeria. I believe God is mindful of a nation like Nigeria. The fact that we are this way and we are even seeing it and complaining about it means that God is willing to change it. It is one thing for that problem to exist and you don’t even know that the problem exists.
Speaking on the way forward, Dr Lanre-Oke urged Nigerian leaders to espouse the virtues of honesty and patriotism in the discharge of their responsibilities by placing competence and merit above other considerations in their appointments of people into positions.
He alluded that when people who are incompetent are appointed into positions for the sake of compensation for their roles in the election, such people will underperform and the nation will be the worst for it.
“Our leaders need to be honest with themselves because if the truth is that we really want to bring a change then we must come out of this leadership of self-centeredness, that is; when I’m there I just want to empower myself and my people.
“When we look at leadership from the angle of competence and not compensation, we will do better. When we put right people in right positions and not just compensating people for their role in election, things will work. If we are using the destiny of a nation to compensate people because they stood by you during elections, we won’t get anywhere,” he said.