Valentine Ozigbo, a Nigerian business mogul and corporate titan, has declared the recent #EndSARS protest and the widespread violence that followed as “a manifestation of a failure of leadership”.
During an interview on Tuesday, October 27, 2020, the ‘Money Line’ show on African Independent Television, AIT, Ozigbo x-rayed the recent #EndSARS protest, the aftermath, and the effects of the violence that trailed the clampdown on the protests on the economy.
In the enlightening episode with host, Nancy Illoh, the respected business leader congratulated the Nigerian youth for taking responsibility for their destinies and commended them for the coordination and cooperation during the protests.
“The ingenuity and amorphousness of the protests as something I have never seen before,” Ozigbo, who is the immediate past President and Group CEO of Transcorp Plc, said.” We could not identify who the leader was but it well organized. The initial 5-point agenda was well thought through and spelt out,” he said.
Ozigbo, who is nicknamed “King of the Youths” for his many young development programme, lamented the unfortunate events that trailed the announcement of curfew by the Lagos State governor and the subsequent clampdown on protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate on Tuesday, October 20, 2020.
He enthused that it was imperative for the older generation to introspectively ask themselves stark questions about the reality on ground.
“Have we actually done well as a country? We have for so long celebrated mediocrity and nepotism. We have neglected accountability. Look at where we were even before the COVID-19 pandemic struck,” Mr Ozigbo queried.
The founder of the Valentine Chineto Ozigbo Foundation further praised the youth for their resilience, as they have had to “almost had to fend for themselves”. He pointed to the entertainment and technology sectors of the economy and how the youths have positively driven those sectors to international proportions with little or no support from the government.
Speaking on the effects of recent events on the economy, the seasoned banker with an intimidating resume that includes 17 years of banking practice said this was one of those moments when serious governments at all level should go back to the drawing board and take learnings.
While regretting the financial and mental cost of the recent spree of vandalism on public and private businesses, he charged the youths to embark on a reorientation process to sensitize others ahead of the 2023 General Elections and most importantly “arm themselves with their voters card”.
“If the current wave of awareness can be strategically sustained, it is my hope that we can take it to a level where it will dovetail into our political terrain,” he said.
Ozigbo, who is a leading governorship aspirant on Anambra State encouraged the youth to speak up and define both the kind of leaders they want and what is expected of the leaders. He added that the right leadership can only be a reality when competence is entrenched across board.
On possible solutions to Nigeria’s ineffective police system, Ozigbo fingered poor funding as the primary cause of the issue with the Nigeria Police Force.
He also echoed the thoughts of many experts who have called for state policing. In Ozigbo’s opinion, state policing could signal the birth of true police reforms and even bring about competition among police forces in different states.