For the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the progressive movement to survive in Nigeria, there must be a deliberate and effective system of leadership recruitment to identify and prepare people, especially the youth, to occupy important offices of the party and government, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said.
Gbajabiamila said this was the practice all over the world, especially in countries where democracy had developed over the years.
Speaking at the 2021 Progressives Youth Conference of the APC in Abuja on Monday, Gbajabiamila said the party needed to identify competent people both at home and in the Diaspora and bring them on board to be “effective champions of progressivism in the country and in government.”
The speaker also said translating good manifestos into policies by political parties remained the foundation for achievements.
“Political party manifestos are a statement of vision and vision is the foundation of all achievements. For a nation such as ours to succeed, we must first define a common vision that will inspire us, bring us together, and provide the focus that allows us to persevere through the inevitable difficult times”, Gbajabiamila said.
He noted further, “Political parties exist to mobilise public support to form a government and to superintend over the affairs of the state. To be successful in this regard, political parties must reflect in their membership, the broad spectrum of the society it seeks to govern.
“As is the case with all other contractual documents, the commitments contained in the party manifesto are the basis upon which the party’s record in government will be measured and its leaders will be assessed both in real-time and in the judgment of history. As it has been throughout history, so also will it be for us in the All Progressives Congress (APC) as we too will answer for what we have done with our time in government.
“I believe that much has been accomplished despite the fact of the many obstacles that have stood in our way. Yet, there is still much left to do in the two years we have left to complete our assignment.
“For the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the progressive movement to survive in Nigeria, we must commit ourselves to a deliberate and effective system of leadership recruitment to identify and prepare people – young people especially, to occupy the important offices of party and government.
“We need to identify people from the professional ranks and the private sector, from here at home and in the diaspora. We need to bring them into the fold and prepare them to become effective champions of progressivism in the country and in government.
“As we recruit and train, we must also make sure that we elevate those who have been with us the longest, who fully embrace the principles of progressivism, who understand the vision of the progressive manifesto and who by their actions and antecedents have proven that they have the capacity to translate our manifesto into policies and practices for the good of our country and all our people.
Gbajabiamila also said the most important factor that determined whether a political party in government would succeed in implementing its manifesto would be the process by which the party arrived at the manifesto in the first instance.
“If the manifesto of the party is merely a compendium of promises put together for electoral purposes without any consideration of the personnel and resources required to achieve them, then it is unlikely to succeed.
“However, when as it should be, the manifesto is a statement of carefully thought-out principles, it becomes a guideline for governance, a reference for policy-making and a motivational text to which the members of the government will return, time and again, to draw inspiration and reinforce clarity of purpose.”
The Speaker noted that the second most important consideration for successfully implementing political party manifestos was the character and ability of the men and women to be chosen from amongst the ranks of the party’s membership to take up office in government and drive the implementation of the manifestos.
“Character speaks to questions of integrity and loyalty. Loyalty to country, and the foundational principles of the party. Whereas ability speaks to competence and the capacity of the individual to practise statecraft in a way that translates principles into action, and action into achievement.
“In politics and governance, personnel is policy. Personnel is also identity. The men and women we choose to fly the party’s flag in elections, the people we appoint as heads of departments, and as political and policy aides; the people we select to manage the affairs of our party from the wards through to the national headquarters all together make up the face of the party”, he added.
The Speaker congratulated the APC youth wing for organizing the conference, which he said was a good avenue for nation-building.