By Gbade Ogunwale, Jide Orintunsin, Bolaji Ogundele, Tony Akowe and Fanen Ihyongo
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has called for a new set of Nigerians committed to a country operated on high values, integrity, justice, love, among others.
Osinbajo spoke on Monday while participating virtually in the 12th Asiwaju Bola Tinubu Colloquium held in Kano.
Osinbajo, who hailed the choice of Kano as the venue for this year’s edition of the colloquium, also reminded advocates of Nigeria’s breakup of the dislocation this development would inflict on all Nigerians.
The vice-president said: “We believe that we now have an opportunity to increase the numbers of a new tribe of Nigerians; a tribe of men and women of all faiths, tribes and ethnicities committed to a country run on high values of integrity, hard work, justice, and love of country.
“A tribe of men and women who are prepared to make the sacrifices and self-constraints that are crucial to building a strong society; who are prepared to stick together, fight for equity, and justice side by side.
“A tribe consisting of professionals, businessmen, politicians, religious leaders, and all others who believe that this new Nigeria is possible and already we have built and are building the building blocks for this new Nigeria.”
He added that Nigeria’s breakup would lead to segregation, making citizens need permits before being able to visit other parts of today’s Nigeria.
While enumerating the merits in Kano hosting the colloquium, he said: “By this gesture, Governor (Abdullahi) Ganduje has helped us to tell two stories; this is the first time that the colloquium is being hosted outside Lagos and Abuja, the capital city.
“And it is befitting that Kano should be that place, this city of radical and progressive ideas and ideologies, a city whose leading political lights have been left of centre, which is the dominant tendency within our great party the APC.
“Second, it helps us to underscore the point that this country and its people are stronger and more powerful together than apart. For the purveyors of breaking up into small components/countries, perhaps they should be reminded that we would not have been able to accept Governor Ganduje’s offer to come to Kano at short notice since we would all have needed visas to come to Kano.”
House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, who spoke virtually at the colloquium, said Tinubu’s suggestions on how to tackle some national issues be “practicalised”, adding: “Today, we have listened to him and picked from what we have learned and what we have heard. I want to say let’s practicalise those things and get to our Eldorado in Nigeria.
He said the former Lagos State governor allowed himself to be used by God to change the lives of many Nigerians for good.
Gbajabiamila added that God used Tinubu to change the lives of so many people.
Ganduje: national integration low at the moment
Kano State Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has observed that national integration was very low in Nigeria at the moment.
Tasking leaders and the people to do more in promoting unity and oneness, the governor explained that the low level of national cohesion was responsible for the challenges facing the country.
Ganduje spoke while delivering an opening speech at the 12th colloquium marking the 69th birthday of the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
The event was held at the Coronation Hall of Government House, Kano, with the theme: “Our Common Bond, Our Common Wealth: The Imperative Of National Cohesion for Growth and Prosperity.”
Ganduje challenged Nigerians and the leaders to work more towards bridging the gap created by issues of tribalism, nepotism, religious intolerance and suspicion among the elite, among others.
“The colloquium offers a rare opportunity for those present to discuss the above issues and other vexing challenges affecting the unity, peace, progress and oneness of Nigeria.
“The communique expected at the end of deliberation would be of immense benefit to the development of the country,” he said.
Ganduje expressed delight and appreciation that Kano State was chosen to host the main events marking the 69th birthday and 12th colloquium of the eminent politician.
The governor commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his efforts in solving the many problems faced by the county. “But President Buhari, when left alone, cannot win this war; he needs the support of all well-meaning Nigerians,” he said.
He congratulated Tinubu as he clocked 69 years and extolled his leadership qualities while he served as governor of Lagos State.
Experts canvass constant engagement with youths to curb violent extremism
Development experts and scholars, who participated virtually at the colloquium, identified lack of communication between leaders and the led as one of the major causes of violent extremism in Nigeria and other African nations.
The Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Mohamed Yahya, said violent extremism is driven by a high prevalence of poverty, exclusion, low-level education and other factors.
These, he said, usually get to a tipping point typified by violence and abuse, stressing, however, that it takes commitment on the part of the leadership to inspire and curb the various extreme tendencies among the youth and deprived population.
“Poverty is not only when one lacks resources. It also stops people from pursuing their aspirations and realising their ambitions in life,” Yahya said.
A Professor of Leadership, Peace and Conflict at the King’s College, London, Professor Funmi Olonisakin, said sustainable peace and stability are crucial to finding a national identity in any African nation.
She cautioned that the quest for national identity must not be allowed to conflict with the regional identities of the people, even as leaders continue to create opportunity for those she described as “dispossessed” and those whose voices are not being heard.
Prof Olonisakin cautioned that bottled up grievances among the downtrodden have been given vent to through violence and extreme reactions.
Also speaking at the event, the Practice Head, Africa-Eurasia Team, Dr Amaka Anku who also contributed virtually, urged leaders to work hard towards fostering ideals that bond their people.
She also called for the raising of domestic confidence through the justice system and maintaining constant communication between the leaders and the governed.
The Executive Director of HoP Africa, Dr Nimdir Nansoh, harped on the need for discussions to start from the grassroots, with the family as the first point of contact.
She urged the Federal Government to leverage the strength of each of the component units in the country and to ensure that government policies do not have punitive effects on the people.
Dr Nansoh cited the recent ban by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin trading as a punitive one, saying that the CBN ought to have engaged the various stakeholders before deciding on the matter.
“Leadership should evolve policies that could meet the demands of the youth population by engaging them in constant communication,” Nansoh said.
Oyetola extols Tinubu’s virtues
Osun State Governor Adegboyega Oyetola, while speaking at the colloquium, described Tinubu as a man of strong political convictions who would not mind standing alone when it matters.
“We deeply appreciate him for being our strong pillar and a stabilising factor in the party’s journey to power and prominence.
“He is also a strong voice and supporter of our effort to re-engineer and revitalise our great party. I pray Allah continues to watch over him and grant him the good health, wisdom and strength to continue to render stellar service to the nation in particular and humanity in general. ”
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has said the present crop of politicians and public office holders have a lot of leadership values and wisdom to draw from Tinubu’s wealth of experience.
Speaking during the colloquium, Sanwo-Olu, who joined the event virtually from Abuja airport, applauded Tinubu’s stance on true federalism, noting that the APC National Leader had remained unshaken in his commitment to peaceful coexistence among ethnic nationalities making up the country.
Sanwo-Olu spoke on behalf of governors and APC chieftains who could not physically attend the colloquium because of bad weather. He and his colleague Governors from Ekiti (Kayode Fayemi), Osun (Gboyega Oyetola), Ogun (Dapo Abiodun) and other eminent personalities – Senators Kashim Shettima, Tokunbo Abiru, Olamilekan Solomon and Bamidele Opeyemi, among others, could not travel by air to Kano for the colloquium due to bad weather; they joined the event virtually from the Nnamdi Azikwe Airport, Abuja.
Sanwo-Olu hails ex-Lagos governor
Sanwo-Olu said: “I want to say how truly delighted I am with my brother Governors. We would have all wished that we were all in Kano with you but like you said during your speech, this is the reality of our time. This is what climate change is teaching and has taught each and every one of us but indeed we can still celebrate you and we all can still come together even in this large numbers.
“We have listened to all the great speakers today but your comments still resonate and I am sure it will resonate with all of us for a very long time. Very classic Asiwaju and you have explained to us in three to five minutes, what true federalism is. You reiterated to us what it means with peaceful coexistence among ourselves.
“You explained and you have shown us the importance of job creation for the youth and abilities for us to care for our aged. These are what you stand for. This is classic Asiwaju. We can’t but continue to thank God for your life. We can’t but continue to thank God for giving you to us at this point in time.”
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