The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said Nigeria needs leaders that will groom the young ones to take over leadership responsibilities from them as they leave office or move to other spheres of life.
Gbajabiamila noted the absence of such a transition in leadership remained a setback for the country’s growth. He stressed there was an urgent need to correct the anomaly so that the country could have a pool of young leaders to draw from at any given time.
The Speaker made this known in Abuja on Saturday at the graduation of the first 74 trainees of the Legislative Mentorship Initiative held at the National Assembly.
The 74 beneficiaries were picked from over 4,000 applications received by the selection panel, having passed through rigorous screening.
Inspired by Gbajabiamila, the LMI is an initiative aimed at “building the next generation of Nigeria’s public sector leaders,” particularly in the legislature.
The 74 participants, drawn from the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, had undergone intensive training in the last five weeks.
The Speaker said, “I have always said the lack or failure of leaders to mentor the young ones is the bane of society. That is why we introduced the LMI, a robust programme to equip our young ones for the leadership tasks ahead, for governance and for the good of our country.”
Gbajabiamila noted that the timing of the training was significant, coming at a period the world faced increasing challenges that would require people of great skills and knowledge to address, especially from among the youth.
He stated, “Distinguished fellows, you are graduating at a time of great uncertainty in the world. We are in a historical moment of great danger, and abounding opportunities brought on by technological advancements, accelerated globalisation, and the reformation of the global economic and political order.
“As I told you when you began this programme, it is clear to anybody that the old equilibrium is unsettled and the rules of the old order no longer apply. What is less clear is what happens next.
Yet, you must count yourselves fortunate because throughout recorded history, it is in times like this that men and women of talent and ability write their names in gold for all generations to witness.”
Goodwill messages came from the Chairman, LMI Selection Panel, Rep. Henry Nwawuba; Director-General, National Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies, Prof. Abubakar Suleiman; Permanent Secretary, State House, Mr. Tijjani Umar; Country Director, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Marija Peran; and the Chairman, Board of Trustees, Leadership Advancement Foundation, Dr. Ike Neliaku.