The biggest problem is leadership. Unfortunately the Constitution, the birthing of Nigeria, the method of managing Nigeria, have already created a problem. Nigeria is like a package being delivered by DHL, but that package was damaged on delivery because so many tribes and people who have practically no cultural, traditional, spiritual, social similarity were amalgamated. They have been trying their best since 1914, but the challenge is there and enormous. They have not been able to create a system that evolves good leaders. Nigeria is suffering from leadership. In mineral resources, we are one of the wealthiest in the world; we are the second largest deposit of natural gas, we have the seventh largest deposit of petroleum. In human resources, Nigeria is one of the wealthiest in the world; the number of graduates in Nigeria is unbelievable. Nigerians have overwhelmed university system in Ghana, Britain, and they have the passion to read. Go to the rest of Africa, most Blacks don’t want to read. But here, young people are eager; they are fired up. We need leaders who have certain qualities. Two things are needed: credible, capable (leaders). Many of the people we have seen, some may seem credible in our society but they don’t seem to have the capability. Some who seem to have capability have credibility problem. So we are facing a dilemma. The day we find leaders who combine credibility with capability then we are on our way to succeeding as a country.
What do you think should be the agenda for Jonathan?
All men will be remembered either for the problem they caused or the ones they solved. It is my opinion that he should be a man of awesome leadership who has his heads in the clouds and his feet on ground – his heads in the clouds to be able to see greater dreams; his feet on the ground to be able to fulfil those dreams. Of all the needs confronting Nigeria, if I were Jonathan, I would focus two major things, one of which is energy. By energy, I mean electricity. If you solve the power problem, foreign direct investment will come in and Nigerians will be able to function. The amount of money wasted on diesel would be cut down. Power needs to be resolved and let him bring in major players. Let him tell them: I only have 14 months and I want to bequeath this nation energy. I have travelled widely. Even within Africa, there is no power cut. In Ghana, if there will be any, they will announce it, you could be there weeks and the light will not blink. Solving the power problem will create what in leadership principle is called the corridor principle. If you want to go through a corridor, once you open the first major door, other doors will begin to open. If the power problem is solved, industries will reopen, factories will start to work, prices will go down, other problems will be resolved, and more people will be hired. People are already hearing all over the world that Nigeria is one of the best places to invest, so you will be able to attract them. The second major area is security. The nation is insecure; people are just so afraid; armed robbers have a field day, and they kill at random. You can’t drive on Nigerian motorway during the day, not even at night, without being afraid that there will be armed robbers on the way.
Let me use an acronym LEAP for the kind of leadership that Jonathan should give us in 14 months. LEAP: L for leading. Let him not be afraid that some cabal, some oligarchy, may want to derail his government. Let him lead with confidence. The E stands for either equipping or empowering. Nigerians need to be empowered. The A stands for aligning. We are a nation of diverse opinions, visions and dreams; so he should not allow one geo-political location make noise and say they are the only ones. He should not be ashamed to help Niger Delta because he comes from there; the need is awesome. He should not be afraid to help the North because although a good number of people from the North have been in power but the educational level there is very poor. He should not be afraid to get involved in Yoruba land because that Obasanjo was once the President does not mean that he really helped Yoruba land. He should not be afraid to help the (South) East. We know great entrepreneurs come from the East; industrialists, people who can dream, people who can replicate technology. Then the P is for perseverance. He should know that leadership is tough, he should persevere and keep his focus, and he will do well.
What should Nigeria do to encourage Blacks in the Diaspora to think home?
Number one, solve the energy problem; number two, solve the security problem, number three create an enabling environment. Do you know that if you want to register a company in the United Kingdom, it takes five minutes online? In the United States, if you walk into a business office, you do it in seven minutes. If you want to register a company in Nigeria, there are 14 processes; each one of them horrendous. So create an enabling environment, a secured society. It is a complete contradiction, an anachronism, that a society like London and other great cities of the world that are so bereft of spirituality are more secured than our own where all of us are in church and mosque everyday.
You could not have said it better Pastor Ashimolowo. See Nigerian's Problem Is Leadership, for the interview in its entirety.