A former Abia State governor, Orji Kalu, has described the ongoing National Conference in Abuja as a home to old men who do not have the strength to decide the future of the nation.
Speaking at the Centenary Lecture organised by the Oyo State branch of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Kalu, who delivered a lecture titled, â€˜Nigeria: A Nation in Quest of Credible Leadershipâ€™, said Nigeria would not move forward unless the first generation leaders withdrew gradually from politics.
He said, â€œThe present crop of leaders seems to be failing the nation and the people are becoming increasingly doubtful if indeed we have leaders. To worsen matters, the first generation leaders are still mostly the ones calling the shots. If you go through the National Conference delegatesâ€™ list, you will be amazed by the number of men in their 80s still trying to determine the type of future that is suitable for the millennium generation. What fresh ideas can these sleepy old men offer on the way forward? There can be no credible leadership until these men begin to gradually withdraw and allow the younger generation to take charge.â€
Kalu also said that for the opposition movement and criticism of government to be effective, the media had a huge role to play.
â€œIt is the media that has the constitutional responsibility to create such robust interface between the opposition and the governing party. The opposition that will guarantee credible leadership cannot be strong and effective if we do not have an equally credible media,â€ said The Sun Newspaper publisher.
Ahead of the 2015 general elections, Kalu expressed concern over the quality of candidates vying for elective positions, adding that Nigeria must have credible leadership to be a great nation.
He praised the likes of the late Chief Obafemi Awoowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe and other nationalists for their contributions to nationhood.
â€œIn the circumstance, we need to start shopping for credible leadership ahead of the 2015 elections. This is the time to start the search as part of our collective civic duty,â€ said Kalu, who also give credit to President Goodluck Jonathan for his vision for Nigeria.â€
Commenting on the reign of impunity and corruption in governance, the former presidential aspirant said he was saddened to see that many lawmakers in the country were people with fraudulent characters who even defended their action in public.
â€œThose at the National Assembly are fraudulent people who enrich themselves fraudulently. There is corruption in the land so much that thieves are no longer ashamed of their act. People pay journalists in order to discredit innocent Nigerians and some even hire assassin to kill. Our nation must change for it to be classified a great country,â€ he said.
Meanwhile, a social critic, Olola Kasum, has appealed to President Jonathan to devote more time to governance and delivery of dividends of democracy to Nigerians.
In a statement in Ilorin on Thursday, Kasum, who is the President, Afonja Descendantsâ€™ Union, appealed to Jonathan and an unnamed major political party in the country to amicably resolve their differences.
He stated that diplomacy rather than litigation should be employed to resolve differences. He noted that much resources were being spent on litigations.