Delta State Governor, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, has said Nigeria is in dire need of good leadership that will entrench the desired unity, sustainable growth and development currently lacking in the country.
Okowa stated this in Asaba on Monday at the 2021 Sam Epelle Memorial Gold Paper Lecture organized by the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR).
He said the theme of the lecture, “Reinventing Nigeria’s Unity for Global Relevance In the 21st Century: Issues of Identity, Governance and Stability”, was apt as it aimed at making the country better and more relevant in global affairs in the years ahead.
The Governor noted that the nation lacked a true national leader with a clear determination and focus to unify the country.
He pointed out that leadership was pivotal to the desired social change, insisting that “it is the leader that charts and navigates the way for the flock to follow and it is the leader of’s action, inaction and body language that dictates the tune for the dance steps of the public’’.
Okowa said inefficient leadership was the major challenge retarding the growth and sustainable development of Nigeria, stressing that having a unifying person would have been one big leap, because it would take care of the most central challenges of the country.
The Governor stated that the endowments and resources of the country could hardly be properly harnessed and put to full economic use without unity.
Unity, he maintained, was at the heart of progress, sustainable development and wealth, adding that unity would help Nigerian to harness untapped resources, create a place called home for the young generation, put Nigeria on global stage for good reasons and inspire a spirit of greatness.
“Nigeria needs unity today and always. We can become a better nation if we work together.
“From all indications, bad governance, ethno-religious conflicts and lack of faith in the electoral process, are major causes of disunity in the country.
“The sad reality is that we seem to derive more comfort, protection and security from our ethnic identity.
“The concept of one Nigeria, therefore, is still just a theory. Another factor responsible for our current disunity is the lack of political will to devise a Constitution that supports true federalism,” he said.
He called on the federal and state governments to pay more attention to the engagement of youths as, according to him, “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop”.
Earlier, the President and Chairman of NIPR’s Governing Council, Mallam Mukhtar Sirajo, thanked the Governor for hosting the Institute’s annual lecture in Asaba.
While justifying the investiture of Okowa as Patron of the Institute, Sirajo lauded him for the massive dividends of democracy he had bequeathed to the people of Delta in the last six years.
Chairman of the Delta Chapter of the Institute, Chief Patrick Ukah, said the lecture was instituted over a decade ago in honour of Late Dr. Sam Epelle, the founding father of the Institute and had become a unique platform to drive conversation and set agenda for resolving critical societal issues.
Ukah, who is the Secretary to the Delta State Government, said the objective of the lecture was to encourage good virtues, citizenship and to ignite a sense of patriotism and optimism among the rising generation of leaders.
In his remarks, the Chairman on the occasion and a Fellow of the Institute, Elder Emmanuel Ogidi, said as Public Relations practitioners, members of the Institute were expected to profer solutions to societal problems that would help to rebuild the nation.
Business mogul and Chairman of United Nigeria Airlines, Chief Obiora Okonkwo, delivered the annual lecture at the ceremony attended by Chief Judge of Delta, Justice Theresa Diai; President of the State Customary Court of Appeal, Justice Patience Elumeze; Ovie of Agbon Kingdom, Ogurimerime Ukori I, among others.
The highlight of the event was the investiture of Governor Okowa as a Patron of the NIPR.