FULBRIGHT Alumni Conference in BUK: Prof. Jega Says Leadership Recruitment Process Retards Nigeria’s Progress

Leadership recruitment process has retarded Nigeria’s progress for a long time and if this trend continues, Nigerians will continue to live under the mercies of the so-called elites whose major goal is to promote ethnic chauvinism, religious bigotry and parochial interests.

This was the assertion of Professor Attahiru Jega, who was the Chairman of the 15th Annual Conference of Fulbright Alumni Association (FAAN) holding in Dangote Business School, Bayero University, Kano, from 16th to 18th April, 2019, with the theme: Economic Growth, Development and Security in Nigeria.”

Professor Attahiru Jega said the theme was apt considering the systematic challenges of economic growth, security and development faced Nigeria. He said it would provide a veritable platform for generating ideas that would address these challenges.

Prof. Jega expressed dismay, saying that no matter how bright ideas and solutions are generated they could only be addressed if the country found the solutions of endemic leadership and governance crises. He said the recruitment process of leadership in Nigeria has been handed over to those who do not have the love and interest of the country at the expense of the masses. How can we have purposeful leadership that will drive the necessary changes in Nigeria? He queried.

Professor Jega said scholars, traditional rulers, civil society organizations and other key stakeholders have daunting challenges of addressing this menace so that Nigerians would see election as a glimmer of hope and weapon that they can use to change the bad leadership and governance in the country.

Presenting a keynote address, the Vice Chancellor of Kogi State University, Anyingba, Professor M.S Abdulkadir said developing economies like Nigeria could achieve economic growth, development and even stability only in a socio-political and economic setting devoid of violence, insecurity, terrorism, ethnic cleansing and so on.

Represented by the Director of BUK Press, Professor Habu Mohammed, the keynote speaker advocated that soldiers and policemen fighting guerrilla wars against the insurgents should be properly trained and modern as well as sophisticated weaponry be provided to them.

The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, William Stuart Syminton, who was represented by the Cultural Affairs Officer of the United States Embassy in Abuja, Mr. Sterling Tilley, said Nigeria and the United States had a long standing relationship. He said through Fulbright scholars, the United States understood popular culture and languages of Nigeria.

Also speaking, the FAAN President, Professor Adogba Okpaga, said the Fulbright programme was the most profound cultural and exchange programme ever instituted by the American government. He said the Fulbright programme today had nearly 300,000 people from over 140 countries in the world with participants from both United States and other countries in the world. He explained that Fulbright Alumni Association held its first conference at the University of Ibadan in August 2000; and since then, it has been holding annual conferences.

Earlier in his address, the Vice Chancellor, Professor Muhammad Yahuza Bello, welcomed the participants to Bayero University, Kano, and said it was his fervent hope that the scholars gathered would rub minds and come up with strategic thinking to find answers to these intriguing questions: As a nation, what are the mistakes we have made? What are the opportunities we have lost? And what is that thing which we did not do well?