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June 12: Ozigbo calls for sweeping changes to leadership recruitment process

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Valentine Ozigbo, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) aspirant ahead of the November 6, 2021 governorship election in Anambra State, has congratulated the millions of Nigerians worldwide as the country marks its 21st Democracy Day.

In a Democracy Day statement issued from his campaign office in Awka on Saturday, June 12, 2021, Mr Ozigbo said Nigeria is currently going through a period of uncertainty and turbulence. He called for urgent intervention to save the country’s democracy and set her back on the path to peace.

He lamented the many tragedies of the country’s history and “inexcusable missed opportunities” and called for a review of the leadership recruitment process.

“Nigeria is a country that tells a story of enormous promise and unimaginable tragedy all at once. While we can boast of numerous bright spots, the most being our tremendous human talent and capital, we also have tales of inexcusable missed opportunities.

“It is a settled fact that a significant part of the dysfunction in Nigeria is a direct consequence of failed leadership.

“Since everything rises and falls on leadership, as John Maxwell preaches, it is, therefore, crucial that we look into the leadership recruitment process. The system of government matters just as much as the process through which our leaders emerge,” Ozigbo submitted.

The respected business leader weighed in the burning national conversation on the flaws of the 1999 Constitution and the need for the country to review the document. He said this was a perfect time for the country to reset its destiny by creating a brand new constitution that is inclusive and dynamic.

“The military regime led by General Abubakar created Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution, the legal instrument upon which our current democracy is based. Clearly an imperfect document, our constitution has come under intense scrutiny in the past few years,” Ozigbo said.

“I believe it is now a perfect time for all Nigerian patriots to come together and create an authentic constitution ‘for the people, by the people, and of the people.”

“While our National Assembly has begun the process of a constitutional amendment, we cannot ignore the agitations from influential quarters across the country demanding a brand new constitution.

“One of the pitfalls we must avoid in charting a new path for Nigeria is to be so hasty in doing away with what no longer serves us without giving careful thought to its replacement.

“Unfortunately, romanticising about our past is a national habit we have acquired, and at times, it has led us down the wrong path.

“I do not believe that the 1999 constitution, a modification of a 1963 document approved for Nigeria by the British colonial masters, will adequately meet the needs of the 21st Century. We have to be surgical in our approach.

“We have to consider the evolution of our country. We must realise that the Nigeria of 1960 is not the same country of 2021. A lot of water has passed under the bridge.

“We have experienced a civil war and some of the most brutal military regimes, ethnic cleansing, and genocidal episodes. Our fault lines have been watered by decades of injustice, marginalisation, extremism, corruption, and intolerance.

“Our focus as a country should be to create a more just and inclusive society that works for all Nigerians. We must do away with the system that leaves too many of us excluded and disenfranchised.

“We must expand the political space to include more women and youth participation. We must create a society where the fundamental human rights of all Nigerians are guaranteed and enforced without favour,” he said.

Ozigbo, an award-winning global CEO, expressed hope for a better future for Nigeria, but he gave the conditions for peace.

“It is my firm belief that Nigeria sits on the edge of history. On one side is a total collapse and on the other side is a brand new country filled with hope and promise,” he said.

“I believe that peace is possible. But, we must first restore justice, equity, and fairness. After all, these are the fundamental promise of democracy,” Ozigbo ended.

Valentine Ozigb is one of the most recognisable philanthropists in Nigeria who is the founder of the eponymously named Valentine Chineto Ozigbo (VCO) Foundation, a non-profit charity that focuses on youth development, leadership and entrepreneurial advancement, and women empowerment.

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