Targets 3000 young emerging leaders
Says no plan to float political party
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
As Nigerians yearning for new and vibrant crop of leaders to change the narrative, #FixPolitics, Thursday, launched an unconventional institute called School of Politics, Policy and Governance, SPPG, in Abuja via webinar platform.
The launch came on the heels of a media chat with theme, ‘Preparing Nigeria’s future leaders today; developing a new generation of disruptive thinking values-based political class’ moderated by Mary Ikoku.
Those in attendance include the Convener and Chair, Fix Politics, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, Frank Nweke Jnr, Dr Amina Salihu, Prof Remi Sonaiya, and others.
The school is based in Abuja, which applications opened on January 4, 2021, and currently received from 250 applications have been received, and the closing date for applications will be on Friday, January 22, 2021, while lectures start from Monday, March 1, 2021, but applicants can visit wwwthesppg.org.
Meanwhile, the Fix Politics is granting applicants in the first cohorts an application fee waiver and a full scholarship.
In address of welcome by the Executive Director, Fix Politics, Anthony Ubani, said the SPPG is an initiative of Fix Politics. It is a strategic response to the research outcomes of Dr Oby Ezekwesili’s fellowship research at the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin, Germany.
Ubani said: “Today’s event, which affords us the opportunity to launch the unconventional School of Politics, Policy and Governance (SPPG), is a culmination of all the hardwork, selfless service and commitment of the Fix Politics Chair, members and co-chairs of the Work Study Groups and Task Teams of Fix Politics, particularly the Work Study Group 2 and the communications and Media task Team.
“The SPPG is an initiative of Fix Politics. It is a strategic response to the research outcomes of Dr. Oby Ezekwesili’s fellowship research at the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin, Germany. That seminal research which interrogated the nexus between politics and economic development in Nigeria and Africa in general, found that for a country to enjoy a functional democracy and good governance, which are vital for economic development, it must be firmly anchored on three triangular pillars of democracy, namely: An empowered and engaged electorate who know their rights and responsibilities as citizens; A values-based political class; and a reformed constitutional, electoral and political environment.”
In a presentation about the SPPG, the Acting Chief Executive Officer, SPPG, Alero Ayida-Otobo said, the SPPG has core values which include accountability, tolerance and respect, stewardship and responsibility, social justice and inclusiveness, ethical leadership-a moral compass based on integrity, honesty, and respect for the rule of law.
Ayida-Otobo also explained that the objectives of the SPPG basically focuses on four main areas; educate Nigeria new political leaders dedicated to the school’s values and capable of governing Nigeria based values Fix Politics upholds; Contributing to instill in politicians and public administrators a deep sense of moral commitment to the common good as foundation for Nigeria’s future prosperity; Strengthen the bonds between government, public administration and citizens by fostering dialogue, accountability and transparency; and create an enabling environment for an inclusive civil society where citizens are aware of their rights and obligations and emboldened to act in the public interest.
According to her the targeted output of the SPPG is to admit three ‘cohorts’ before December 2023, 3, 000 emerging leaders (with 1, 500 women and 1, 500 young people) interested in running for elective office in the first three years of SPPG operation, to reach 10, 000 political leaders through decentralized learning systems via school alumni over a decade, to design curriculum that addresses empirical socio-economic challenges in Nigeria drawn from global and national faculty; To seek to influence ethical code of Nigerian politics and governance with at least 50 per cent of graduates changing the dominant political culture over a decade; and to deliver 10 institutional partnerships on leadership development in the first three years of SPPG.
She said: “We are in dire need of transformation, raising a new class of political leaders, so this media launch for us is very important.
“What we should understand is that all we are doing is deep rooted in research findings, is not based on emotions, what we think, ideas but on the research that was done for a significant period revealed.
“One of the things fully recognized is that we have a problem of leadership across Africa; is a Nigeria, Africa, continental and global problem with what we have been witnessing over the last two weeks in America.
“What Africa nations face very similar are developmental obstacles to what we think in Nigeria.
“The research has revealed that we have three Work Study Groups, WSGS; An Empowered and Engaged Electorates; A value-based political class; and reformed constitutional and electoral environment. Each of these WSGs has co-chairs, and also focusing on a new political constitutional restructuring with the goal of electoral change.
“It has emerged in recognition of the abysmal performance of public leadership in Africa.
“Africa unfortunately continues to lag behind the other regions of the world in most objectively measurable indicators of human and economic development. We live the reality of poverty, lack, and underdevelopment.
“So the underperformance is traceable to politics, specifically the culture of leadership that continuously subverts the public good unfortunately elevating personal and parochial interest above the collective well-being of citizens.
“As such the SPPG is integral to the fulfillment of the Fix Politics mission, and what is that mission? To elevate citizens to its rightful place in our dear nation, Nigeria, and to develop a political class of servant-leaders with a different mindset, that is our goal, mission and objective.
“Core Focus; this is a certificate in public leadership because everyone who attends six months programme will get the certificate at the end of it all, and our six months programme is a curriculum of carefully selected courses.
“We spend several hours on this where we do analytical and empirical evidence. We have been able to design courses that are relevant to solving Africa’s complex development problems.
“40 per cent of our modules will be delivered by renowned role models; people you know and don’t know. They have been tried, tested and proven themselves to be competent and successful.
“60 per cent of the modules will be delivered by academic experts with deep knowledge about the complex process of political and economic governance in a globalised 21st century.”
Meanwhile, she said the school expects graduates to run for elective office and what they do in their constituencies, which will also be an assessment by the school on the impact made in its students according to the values of the school.
One of the members of the Advisory Board, Frank Nweke Jnr explained and cleared that, “This FixPolitics Initiative is not about 2023 and not about 2027, but about a major shift in public service and on how we practice our politics, it is an effort on major mindset shift of both the electorates and the political class.
“You may be familiar with the triangular figure of politics; the institutions which are the judiciary, regulators like INEC, on the left-hand corner of the triangle is the political class and on the right-hand side you have the electorates.
“We understand why these three pillars are critical we know that the electorates who constitute the largest number in the play have the most critical role to play.
“You have a situation today where you have the political class usurp the role of the regulator and role of the electorates.”