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Former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mrs Farida Waziri has urged Nigerians to cultivate the habit of encouraging their leaders, rather than the prevalent culture of demonizing them.
Waziri made the plea yesterday in a statement personally signed by her. Obviously reacting to recent reactions to President Muhammadu Buhari’s vacation abroad, Mrs Waziri said great nations adore their leaders and not talk ill of them especially the good ones. “The world over, great nations; whether the US, UK, China, Germany or France and more, they don’t talk ill of their leaders, instead, they encourage them and build them as exemplary national figures. As wife of Nigeria’s Ambassador to Turkey in 2004-2008, I arrived at Atatürk Airport Istanbul, my escort informed me proudly that the airport is named after the father of modern Turkey. Downtown Istanbul main street was also adorned with portraits of the man, Atatürk. This, to me,) is one clear way to encourage and build our national figures and leaders. Let the good ones serve as good examples of good leadership and the bad ones as such”, she stated.
While explaining her Turkish experience to buttress her point, the former EFCC boss said “during an event, there was a general discussion on various leaders from different countries i.e. Ghandi (India), Mandela (South Africa) Nyerere (Tanzania), Kenyatta (Kenya). Now a lady asked me what was the name of the Atatürk of Nigeria and for the first time I realized that Nigerians do not appreciate their leaders but would rather bad mouth them.”
According to her, “I was taken aback by the question and tried to run through my mind the names of our leaders. Now, this is the question, why do we want our leaders dead or spread rumours that they are dead? Starting from Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe to many others. For late President Umaru Yar’adua, it took the wittiness and ingenuity of former President Obasanjo to halt the rumour mill by placing a call publicly to the late president. Now our president is on vacation and seizing the opportunity to undergo medical check-up and instead of wishing him well, Nigerians are busy spreading rumour about his death.
“Speaking positively about our leaders and country will no doubt have a positive impact on our collective image around the world. Agreed, there is much suffering in the land but this should not change us from being the good people that we have always been , by wishing our leaders dead. Let us have a rethink. We can’t afford to cut our noses to spite our faces. We must not lose our humanity even in the face of hardship and recession, because it is our collective effort to build this nation.”