The former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, (SGF) Senator Pius Anyim, has stated that for Nigeria to survive it present situation, that it needs the likes of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Herbert Macaulay, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. Michael Okpara, and host of others who rendered selfless services to the country.
He noted that, the leaders understood that nation building is an arduous task that calls for sacrifices, patience, tolerance, accommodation and consensus building.
The former Senate President of Nigeria, stated this in his acceptance speech on behalf of the 2020 Zik Prize award recipients held in Lagos.
He reiterated that Nigeria needs leadership approach with vision, capacity, inclusiveness and determination to transform the challenges to a success story.
Anyim, said that in the next 25 years, oil companies and oil explorations will continue to phase out leaving a depress economies that are oil dependent with consequential social and economic effects.
He charged present leaders of Nigeria, to imbibe the principle of unity in diversity, be their brothers keeper which was the spirit that guided the leaders in the past to secure a free and independent nation.
He hinted that the past leaders were guided in their actions by what was best for the citizens of Nigeria through provision of leadership that inspired their followers.
He commended organizers of the Zik’s Prize Award 2020 even as he expressed immense gratitude to the Award Selection Committee, for the honour given to them.
His said: “The revered Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, exemplified principled, committed and focused leadership. Zik was an outstanding and charismatic leader. A passionate patriot; an unapologetic nationalist; a relentless defender of justice and an ardent believer in the unity of Nigeria.
” These qualities stood Zik and his fellow nationalists out as leaders who rose to the challenges of their time, who fought with all they had, liberated us from the shackles of colonialism and laid a solid foundation for a nation with every potential to be a strong and respected voice among the comity of nations”.
” Permit me to further mention that the challenges of leadership will be much more daunting as we move towards the 2nd quarter of the 21st Century (2026 – 2050) due to the effects of the 4th industrial revolution popularly known as Industry 4.0. Therefore, the demand of leadership in the present-day Nigeria has become more daunting. For instance, our population has risen from about 45 million in 1960 to over 200 million in 2020.
“Most of that population are in the youthful bracket. Our economy has moved from the boom of the 1960s and 1970s to cycles of stunted growth and recession in the last decade. Our educational institutions have moved from the best rankings in the 1960s to mediocre positions in the 2020s. Our Naira has depreciated from 65 kobo to a dollar in the early 1980s to the present N568 to a dollar in 2021.
“Our labour market has moved from employment of choice in the 1970s to crises of underemployment and unemployment in the 2020s. In agriculture we have gone from a net exporter of food and cash crops to a nation of food insecurity and import dependence”.
“The possibilities of billions of people connected by mobile devices, with unprecedented processing power, storage capacity, and access to knowledge are unlimited. And these possibilities will be multiplied by emerging technology breakthroughs in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of things, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, material science, energy storage and quantum computing”.
“For Nigeria to survive and thrive, we must have peace at home and respect abroad. For that, we need leadership that understands the challenges, the imperatives and concomitant of the 4th Industrial Revolution. We need leaders that must connect and engage with the people especially the youth. Such leaders must place the youth at the center of every nation building effort in order to move them from the current valley of despair to the height of their potentials.
“We need leaders that can build societal consensus, repair our broken social fabrics and show deep empathy for all Nigerians that are suffering deprivation, poverty and want of any kind. Our leaders must be skilled in the science and art of good governance. They must be visionary and ready to keep pace with contemporary social, economic and technological changes. They must be pragmatic and result-driven in dealing with security, education, health and other myriad of challenges that confront our nation”.
Other awardees include, H.E Babajide Sanwo-Olu, H.E Engr. Abdullahi Sule, H.E Akinwumi Adesina, Mallam Mele Kolo Kyari, H.E Mrs Ekaette Unuoma Akpabio, Dr Bashir Y. Jamoh, Sen. Dr. Olorunnimba Mamora, Mr. U.K. Eke and Mr. Uche Orji.