• Speaker, Fashola, others chart path to nation’s growth
SPEAKER of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal Thursday in Lagos took a swipe at those accusing the nation’s lawmakers of earning outrageous salaries, saying their pay was reasonable given the peculiarities of their job.
Also, the speaker and Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, Thursday took turns to blame the country’s failed political leadership on irresponsive and inactive fellowship.
While Tambuwal said the “problem rests squarely on fellowship”, Fashola observed that the country could do better if leaders discharge their constitutional responsibilities, including fulfilling tax obligations.
Both leaders spoke at the Fifth Christopher Kolade Symposium series organised by the Nigeria Leadership Initiative (NLI).
The speaker, who was represented by the Minority Leader of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, said what many people have classified as lawmakers’ salaries were allowances they collect to discharge their duties effectively.
He disclosed that his job requires that he visits his constituency weekly, which puts his airfare allowance alone at N500, 000 monthly.
He said he has challenged his colleagues to make their salaries and allowances public so that Nigerians would know the exact legislative packages that have caused ripples in recent years.
Justifying legislators’ pay, the speaker said Nigerians have grown to rely heavily on the lawmakers for their personal needs unknown to them that their constitutional responsibilities are not related to such assistances.
Observing that a society gets the leadership it deserves, he noted that when people hold government accountable, they will be able to directly dictate what “the government gives them.”
Tambuwal observed that the Nigeria dream is “life more abundantly” and it could only come to fusion through a responsible followership.
He added that Nigeria’s dream has not been achieved because the masses have failed to hold government accountable. He attributed the historical woes and official corruption to the inability of the followers to hold on to their stance against all odds.
Noting that though the ultimate leader is a servant of the people, Fashola stated that the relationship between the leader and the followers demands that both play their role in line with the Constitution. The governor said a true leader must live in fear but must not allow the fear to overwhelm him because he must have the dignity to continue despite the fear as it helps to keep him focused in his task.
He also believes that having a Nigeria dream will help shape and set standards that would guide the leaders and the followers to know their rights and responsibilities.
In his contribution, Atedo Peterside, represented by the CEO of Stanbic IBTC Pensions, Mr. Demola Sogunle, said leadership was not about title or position but positively affecting and influencing lives. He said that leadership in the corporate world is about balancing short-term goals with long-term vision of the organisation.
For the Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria Leadership Initiative, Mr. Yinka Oyinlola, the need for accountability and being responsible should not be limited to the leaders, as the followers must also be accountable and responsible.
He, however, alluded to how bad system changes a good leader and how for example, a good leader changed the fate of Rwanda.