Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo says only leaders who do not pursue personal profit can bring about national transformation.
According to a statement by Laolu Akande, spokesperson to the vice-president, Osinbajo said this on Friday at the first annual general assembly of the ‘Catholics in Politics and Catholic Business Leaders’.
Speaking on the theme, ‘The Advancement of the Common Good towards Justice, Unity, Structure and Development of Nigeria’, he said transformational leadership, particularly in a multi-ethnic and multi-faceted country like Nigeria, is needed as its primary focus is the pursuit of the common good to ensure fairness, justice, unity and development.
“History teaches us that everywhere there has been a national transformation, it has been brought about by public-spirited men and women of goodwill who, inspired by their belief in a higher purpose other than their own profit, have entered the public square to champion the common good,” he said.
“Building credible institutions of justice, the rule of law and orderly society are crucial expressions of the pursuit of the common good.
“The purpose of power is service, not domination; it is to uplift and empower others rather than to control or oppress. This is a model of leadership that is inseparable from our conception of the common good.
“Transformational leadership is, therefore, the pursuit of the common good. But the pursuit of the common good itself is not as easy as it sounds. This is especially so where the wounds and enmities of ethnic and religious conflicts are deep.
“The common type of leadership will seek the path of relevance and popularity within their own ethnic or religious camps by seeking only the good of their own. The servant-leader will serve his people by emphasising the letter and spirit of the gospel, that even our worst enemies were still made in the image of God
“And the pursuit of the common good is the pursuit of the good of those who hate us and have hurt us even in the recent past.
“Transformational leadership means that we do not mourn and condemn the killing of those who belong to our own tribe or faith alone, or seek justice for ours alone, because all men are equal before God, and that the pain and anguish of a mother’s loss of a child, is not different from one faith or tongue to the other.”
The vice-president also described corruption as a “cancer”, noting that “cancer in governments anywhere is corruption”.
“When public officials (be they high or low in the executive, legislature or judiciary) are toll gates for the extortion of the populace while seeking government dispensations, the common good, happy and prosperous lives for the people, is impossible,” he added.
Osinbajo used the opportunity to encourage Nigerians not to despair despite the challenges facing the nation.
“Our greatest adversary in our task of national renewal is a feeling of hopelessness – a sense of futility that seems almost overwhelming. However, we cannot afford to even indulge in such despondency and despair. There is hope and there is much work to be done,” he added.
“Contrary to opinion in some quarters, this house will not fall. It is being built and needs yet many more people to commit to building the sort of nation that we want.
“The throes and pangs of birth must not be interpreted as the pains of impending death. We are, by the grace of God, more than able to overcome our present difficulties and we will overcome them.”