Post-2023 Elections: Nigeria will progress when the citizen is elevated and served, says Rescue Nigeria forum

The forthcoming election will only have an impact on the future of Nigeria if those elected create visible guarantees for every Nigerian person and when leadership is strong enough to create an enabling environment for citizens to thrive.

These were some of the submissions of a group of informed panelists and discussants during an online discussion by Nigerians titled: "The structure of a giant: How Nigeria must set up for success after the election".

The panelists argued that the election must produce leaders whose love of country is deep, understanding of the pillars of development is strong, and who can surround themselves with like-minded advisers.

The People’s Parliament is a forum of exchange of ideas and opinions, organised by the Initiative for Good and Informed Citizenship, better known as Rescue Nigeria movement.

The panelists were Muyiwa Kayode, CEO of USP Brand Management and author of the book "Brand Nation;" and Morin Carew, a leadership coach and charity consultant based in the United Kingdom. The moderator was Anike-ade Funke Treasure, a renowned broadcaster and journalist.

A press release jointly signed by Biodun Durojaiye and Tunde Odediran for the movement, stated that Nigeria’s growth and prestige has been stunted by a lack of vision, which relegates the people in the grand design of Nigeria’s plans.

Making this argument, Muyiwa Kayode demanded that the next set of leaders must articulate a vision that puts the people at its centre, and stipulates those guarantees the citizen can expect at various stages of life.

Besides, he called for symbolic and tangible products that can truly prove that Nigeria is the giant of Africa, adding that there is hardly any monument, edifice or product from Nigeria that is the best in Africa.

The true indicators of a giant, according to Kayode, are in the forms of real benefits and products, such as reputable brands, education, housing and other elements of social security, which would generate wealth and high standards of living that can discourage corruption and theft of public resources.

Said he: "When you articulate a vision and you don't put people at the centre, there is a problem. Because if you tell me that you want to make Nigeria a top 20 economy in 20 years, what is in it for me as a citizen? What is my role? Where would I be in those 20 years?

"If I give birth to a child today, in the first 20 years of that child, what and what and what am I expecting? What is the projection? What is the plan for that child as a citizen of Nigeria? These are the things we need to articulate in our vision. You have to put people at the centre of the vision, otherwise, it won't work."

Putting people at the centre would also make them take ownership, he further said, adding that recent incidents of people sabotaging public projects, like cutting rail lines, would not happen.

He said: "People sabotage good things because they don't feel it belongs to them... When you focus things around people and let them take ownership, if some people decide to sabotage such public property, it is other people that would stop them"

Admitting that some leaders had national visions in the past, Kayode said those initiatives, like Vision 2020, failed to achieved targeted objectives because people did not figure prominently in those plans.

On her part, Morin Carew emphasised the elected officials need to love the country and the people passionately, and act with care.

Calling for a shift in mindset, Carew said elected leaders must not think it is their turn to eat as others before them had acted and behaved, or that "I need to take care of myself first before I think of others."

She further said the nation's future leaders must have a mindset of building people up rather than tearing them down, of helping them to be self-sufficient rather than just wanting to just lord things over them.

The gathering concluded that apart from visionary and motivational leadership, individual Nigerians must play an active role as citizens, arguing that the dominant political parties thrived on the acceptance of the people.

“You don’t have to be in government to make a positive difference. Some of the best things that have happened in some countries were not done by the government. In your own way, as an individual, as a business person, you can build something that makes your country better. We can’t all be in government; if you want a better country, play your role,” Muyiwa Kayode remarked.

Also, according to Morin Carew, change can start with just one person. “Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King paid the price. It can start with an individual,” she stated while calling on Nigerians to organize.

Nigerians from home and in the diaspora who attended the conference stressed the need for citizens to take charge over their own future through community organising and focus on critical issues affecting them.

The next People’s Parliament comes up after the general elections.
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