Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said that the pursuit of the common good requires a collective condemnation and exposure of corruption and corrupt practices, which he termed cancer to the country.
This is as he said only leaders inspired by a higher purpose other than their profit could bring about national transformation.
Osinbajo spoke on Friday in Abuja at the 1st Annual General Assembly of Catholics in Politics and Catholic Business Leaders themed ‘The Advancement of the Common Good towards Justice, Unity, Structure and Development of Nigeria.’
Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, disclosed this in a statement he signed late Friday titled ‘Only leaders inspired by higher purpose, not personal profit, can bring about national transformation-Osinbajo.’
The Vice President who described corruption as a “cancer” noted that “the 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 that the pursuit of the common good must “involve a relentless pursuit of integrity and transparency of public officers, we must think through the systems that will reduce human discretion in public-facing institutions. So we must, as a collective, condemn and call out corruption and corrupt practises.”
Osinbajo also encouraged Nigerians not to despair, despite some of the challenges, but to have hope and belief in the promise of a great nation while urging that Nigerians must be willing to pay the price to achieve national greatness by actively pursuing the common good of all, regardless of tribal and religious differences.
He also posited that transformational leadership, particularly in a multi-ethnic and multi-faceted country like Nigeria, is needed across all levels of government and spheres of society. Its primary focus is the pursuit of the common good to ensure fairness, justice, unity and development in a nation.
Highlighting why transformational leadership is critical to national life, the Vice President noted that it would spur positive changes across all sectors and spheres of society. He added that as a leadership model, transformational leadership operates by serving and uplifting others because it is servant leadership.
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,” he said.
Osinbajo affirmed that, contrary to opinion in some quarters, the country will not fall because it is being built and needs yet many more people to commit to building the sort of nation that Nigerians 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,” he added.
In attendance were the Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong; Deputy Governors of Osun State, Gboyega Alabi; Akwa Ibom State, Moses Ekpo; Edo State; Philip Shaibu; Prof. Nora Daduut; and Catholic Archbishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah, who was represented by Raymond Aina.