The Speaker of Akwa Ibom House of Assembly, Mr Onofiok Luke, has called for the prosecution of community leaders and government officials who divert public funds through fraudulent companies.
Luke made the call while delivering a lecture on Wednesday, at the second public lecture of Ritman University, Ikot Ekpene, on “Good Governance: A Panacea to Community Development’’.
He said that community development effort must be devoid of white elephant projects to showcase massive buildings and attract praises, but sincere initiative and effort toward addressing the actual need of the people.
He decried that community leaders in the Niger Delta have failed in their little way to be accountable to the grassroots and engage in cases of brazen thievery.
The speaker pointed out that most leaders in the country and indeed Africa have failed in their responsibilities, adding that leadership was a social contract.
“It is also a fact that most leaders have failed their respective communities. Leaders have abandoned the oath of office and put their selfish interest above the communal interest.
`Some of these leaders are not altruistic but deploy the common wealth for their selfish gains”.
“The need for attitudinal re-orientation cannot be over emphasised. Altruism shall be the guiding principle if our leaders must deliver the dividend of good governance to the people who elected them. We must return to the team spirit,” Luke said.
“I charge our elders to partner with the youths both locally and internationally to deliver on the benefit of good governance. We are far from calling our elders to quit leadership but to give ample opportunities to the youth in leadership. The community and society at large can benefit from the combination of the experience of the elders and the energy of the youths to foster sustainable development”.
The speaker stressed the need for leaders to think more of building an efficient and empowered community rather than building personal empires from the common wealth.
He said that government must be seen to be participatory, transparent, accountable, equitable and respect for the rule of law.
He said that leaders whether those voted or appointed into leadership positions must have genuine desire to serve the people than overbearing quest for personal aggrandizement.
The speaker recommended that priority must be placed on provision of basic social amenities to make quality of life meaningful in communities across Africa.
Akwa Ibom Speaker also challenged religious leaders, family heads and leaders of various units of communities to preach and act towards unity and not division, and to avoid taking undue advantage of the vulnerable populace through deceit and false prophesies.
He stressed the need for academic institutions to be fair and disciplined, even as he expected students to work hard in their academic pursuits.
“Those who seek public offices should do so not for the grandeur of the office but for the genuine reason to discharge beneficial services to the populace. I agree too that greater part of the problem of leadership in Nigeria is the followership. There is therefore a need for education.”
Besides, the speaker challenged the youths to rise above ethnic bigotry, vagaries of the past and positioned themselves for good leadership.
The Vice Chancellor, Ritman University, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State, Prof. Celestine Ntuen, said that youths hold the ace in developing the communities and the nation at large.
Ntuen said that youths were the most potent and most viable among the resource that the country was blessed with.
He lamented some greedy politicians who drained the nation dry were able to succeed with their nefarious act because youths complicit with them.