The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has warned new lawmakers to choose leadership answerable to them and their constituents, and not to godfathers who live only for themselves.
Speaking in Abuja on Tuesday at a conference organized by the #NotTooYoungToRun movement, for new lawmakers, Dogara charged them to shun the arrogance of power.
He said the National Assembly had always charted its leadership course because the lawmakers were aware that external interests would never guarantee the convergence needed to legislate for the people, and hold the executive arm accountable.
He urged the incoming lawmakers to be prepared to stand for the truth regardless of the consequences, adding that Nigeria has abundant, qualified youths who have the capacity to serve with distinction.
The Speaker, however, regretted that Nigerian politics and leadership model had been hijacked by godfathers since 1999, thereby turning the people into sycophants that serve the interests of the ruling class.
He therefore encouraged the elected lawmakers to stand up against the bondage of godfatherism if they were determined to make a difference for the good of the electorate who voted them.
He further reminded them that true greatness comes while serving others and not when serving godfathers, especially “as Nigerian electorates are increasingly more sophisticated and aware of the power of the ballot than in the past.”
The Speaker equally alluded to his home state of Bauchi, where he said the incumbent governor was humbled by the same people whose votes he had arrogantly declared insignificant.
“Unfortunately, the leadership model we have practiced so far produces sycophants expected to serve their political godfathers, and not the people.
“We need leaders who will lead us to build a nation and serve others, not godfathers who demand that we worship and serve them rather than the people.
”In your new calling, you must shun the arrogance of power, and stay connected to the people who elected you. If you don’t, you will ultimately pay at the polls.
“My home state of Bauchi is one such place where the people taught an incumbent that arrogance of power is fatal, as ‘insignificant votes’ ended his desire to return to office,” the Speaker cautioned the elected lawmakers.