*CSP GARBA, NGOZI OKONJO IWEALA, OLUMIDE AKPATA AND THE NIGERIAN YOUTHS: FOUR PERSONALITIES WHO INSPIRED THE NATION THIS YEAR*
It was Ralph Nader who stated and rightly so that there can be no daily democracy without daily citizenship. In other words, democracy can only thrive and be deepened when the citizens of a State are alive to their responsibilities. The recent events in the country this year have changed my perception and my thoughts about leadership. Citizenship in Nigeria in the previous years has been marked with apathy and tepidness. The laissez-faire attitude is largely because of the distrust Nigerian citizens nurse against the Nigerian State. But it is that way because the people do not understand the enormity of the power they wield. This lukewarm attitude of our people had worried me to no end and deep in my thoughts; I have prayed and hoped for the rise of the Nigerian spirit.
Recent events have shown that the people recognize and know their true leaders, regardless of ethnic and religious leanings and are ready to mobilize support for such exemplary characters. Few leaders that caught my attention most recently are…
*MR OLUMIDE AKPATA* is another great leader who I admire and who I have observed closely this year. During the recently concluded NBA election, he showed his uncommon organizational skills with the way and manner he galvanized the young Lawyers, speaking to the issues that affect them. His message resonated with them because it spoke to the core of their worries regarding the prestigious profession. And so they stood with and by him and mobilized greatly on his behalf. The end result was his winning the election by a landslide.
*DR. NGOZI OKONJO IWEALA* the joy which has continued to trail her nomination as a candidate for the top job of WTO is mind-blowing and exceptional. Nobody has enjoyed this kind of support across the board in Nigeria. As an observer, I have tried to decipher the stuff she is made of that made it possible for her to garner the enormous support from all and sundry. The answer is competence and sacrifice. In her bid to lift Nigeria from her economic struggles, entrench a culture of transparency, build strong institutions and set her on the path of sustained prosperity, people who were averse to change and were afraid of the cut off of their corrupt enrichment decided to fight her dirty. They deployed every weapon in their arsenal to the extent of kidnapping her aged mother, subjecting her to the worst psychological trauma. Yet *NOI* remained unbowed and never abdicated the responsibility to rescue the Nigerian economy from morass. Regardless of what happens with the job of WTO, my take is that she has won in the hearts of her people and that is the greatest victory.
And so it was with great surprise and relish that I watched how the #ENDSARS movement grew. Young people all over the country came out to say enough. The coordination was top notch. The peaceful nature of the protests gladdens the heart. They drove the narrative themselves, using the power of social media.
Even though the protests were largely about police brutality, it was by extension, an expression of frustration on the failures and the disappointments of the Nigerian system. From the hills of Enugu to the creeks of Niger Delta and streets of Lagos and Abuja, the message was the same. People marched under the sun and in the rain. The unity of purpose and the determination of these young folks show that a united Nigeria without ethnic fault lines is possible.
Hope is the oil of tomorrow, and these four personalities show that for Nigeria, it is still morning yet on creation day. With hard work, competence, integrity, patriotism and eschewing of tribalism on the path of the leaders and the led, this country can rise up, reclaim our tomorrow and live out the true meaning of the words in our national anthem -great lofty heights attain, to build a nation where peace and justice shall reign.
Dr. Godwin Maduka (Okosisi Orumba) is the founder of Las Vegas Pain Institute, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States.
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