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African leaders lack courage, character – Oyedepo

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Founder, Living Faith Church Worldwide, Bishop David Oyedepo, has berated African leaders, saying that they lack character, capacity and courage, three virtues he said they must have to move the black continent out of the woods.

Oyedepo, who delivered a keynote address during Covenant University’s 20th inaugural lecture at the university premises on Thursday, also noted that unlike their western counterparts, African leaders do not build institutions that would outlive them.

The lecture delivered by Jonathan Aremu, a professor of International Economics Relations at CU, was themed: ‘Sequencing and negotiating Nigeria’s regional and international trade agreements.’

The fiery cleric was making allusion to Aremu’s lecture where he (Aremu) bemoaned Nigeria’s indifference and lack of will power in drafting effective trade policies and negotiations with bodies such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Environmental Protection Agency (EFA) and African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), among others.

The development, Aremu argued, has left the nation unable to articulate her interest among the aforementioned bodies.

Oyedepo, however, blamed the situation on Nigerian government’s lack of foresight and its inability to identify opportunities that would benefit the led.

He said: “It is unfortunate that many of our leaders are intellectually bankrupt.

When confronted with some of these beautiful initiatives, it is very shameful that they often don’t know the meaning. And if they don’t know the meaning, how will they go about implementation?”

I have often said it that our leaders lack three Cs-capacity, courage and character.

Where is the capacity when you are bereft of intellect required of a leader? Where is the courage when you don’t have the political will to follow through with policies that will improve governance? And where is the character when all they are thinking is how to win election as many times as possible while ignoring developmental initiatives?”

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Oyedepo said the leadership should take a cue from an institution like Harvard University which has outlived the founder for centuries.

If Harvard were to be in Nigeria, it would have been in ruins in less than two decades, the cleric noted.

Nonetheless, Oyedepo said not only leaders are culpable, noting that the led are as much guilty for looking the other way for too long.

This, according to him, is the reason the Covenant University platform was conceived to point out the ills in governance while also recommending solutions to them.

Earlier in his lecture, Aremu lamented that Nigeria has not been forthcoming with effective trade policies and negotiations.

He said: “Trade negotiations remain one of the most complex, challenging, and sometimes controversial issues in contemporary trade policy.

This is more serious for Nigeria which has no current trade policy. The administrative burden of handling and negotiating trade policy is a serious concern.

Even as at now, the country still faces technical constraints on the negotiations of multiple agreements that will serve her trade interest.

Confronted with generally weak negotiating, regulatory and implementation capacities, the country is handicapped in her ability to engage meaningfully in all these negotiations.”

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