A member of the South-South Development Think-Tank, Professor Itse Sagay (SAN), has called on Nigerians to de-emphasise political leadership based on zoning and tribal sentiments.
Sagay said leadership based on zoning arrangement had continued to draw the country backward through years of misrule and looting of Nigerians’ commonwealth, maintaining that such a situation was inimical to national development.
Speaking on Tuesday at the inauguration of the body in Port Harcourt, Sagay, described such arrangement as a function of political immaturity.
Sagay, who spoke through his message of solidarity to other members of the South-South Development Think-Tank, urged the group to distance itself from the current calls for political leadership based on zoning.
“Zonal turn-by-turn misrule is a function of political backwardness and immaturity. No developed democracy is based on tribal rights to misrule, misgovern, plunder and under-develop. Let us be different. Let us introduce political maturity and civilisation to Nigeria,” Sagay said.
The renowned lawyer pointed out that based on empirical evidence, it was futile to anchor the search for political leadership on zonal or ethnic origins of potential leaders.
On the controversy surrounding the call for local government autonomy, Sagay enjoined the National Assembly to work out modalities in the constitution amendment process to empower states to create local government areas they could directly fund.
According to him, local government and true federalism were incompatible and should not feature in the Nigerian Constitution.
He said, “Local government autonomy and federalism are incompatible. Local governments must not feature in any new constitution. States should create and fund at hundred percent their local governments.”
He also expressed the need for the group to agree on factors that would always represent the interest of the Niger Delta people.
He said, “We must then canvass the acceptance of these factors or programmes nationally. Only then should we look for a leader, who has character, integrity, discipline, high principles, intellect and courage; who also espouses principles and programmes, in conformity with the interest of the Niger Delta as defined by us.”