A former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof Attahiru Jega, has declared that Nigeria was in dire need of competent and assertive leaders.
The former INEC boss said the country does not necessarily need a strong leaders, adding that an incompetent leader who is strong will end up destroying institutions.
He made these points at the 58th Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association in Abuja on Monday.
According to him, “What we require most are the competence and capacity of leaders to take decisions and be assertive in ensuring that those decisions are actually implemented.
“So, we have to be very careful in thinking that a strong leader can really help.
“Just like a weak leader can wreck an institution, a strong leader, who has just that power and courage, but lacks the capacity, ability and competence to lead, can also wreck strong institutions
“Competence of leadership is a very important variable in bringing about the stable political transition, good governance and deepening of democracy.”
Jega further warned that politicians must stop treating elections as a do-or-die affair.
He recalled that a former president once said elections must be do-or-die, an incident he described as most unfortunate.
The former INEC boss added, “We must emphasise professionalism, impartiality and non-partisanship. This is because quite too often, you have good and strong institutions, but once partisanship is introduced and partiality become the norm, as many public institutions in this country, then those institutions would not be able to deliver effectively on their mandates.
“From my experience, I am convinced that electoral integrity is key to stable political transition and to ensuring that there is a framework for good governance and societal development.
“Electoral integrity is not just about the integrity of the election management body. It is also the integrity with which the key stakeholders engage with the electoral process.”