There was a torrent of praises and eulogies from prominent Nigerians and foreigners alike yesterday for Peoples Democratic Party National Chairman Bamanga Tukur as he marked his 77th birthday.
A book launch was held to commemorate the anniversary.
The launch was attended by many politicians as well as people from the business world, academia, and the diplomatic community.
The book, “The Global Villager,” was written by veteran journalist and poet Eddie Aderinokun in honour of Tukur. It is a compendium of tributes to the septuagenarian businessman cum politician.
Speaking at the event, President Goodluck Jonathan described Tukur as an “African President without a country,” saying he maintains a presence in almost all the countries of Africa due to his vast business interests.
The president recalled Tukur’s active involvement in the pro-democracy activities during the military interregnum aimed at returning the country to civil rule.
He urged biographers to write more books on Nigerians like Tukur who have contributed to national development through their hard work.
Jonathan said Tukur’s life history was one of patience and orderly rise to stardom, describing him as a “mentor to leaders” and a dutiful family man.
The president urged him to continue to guide political leaders in their bid to climb the socio-political ladder.
Former Minister of Information, Professor Jerry Gana, in his speech, tried to give an insight into Tukur’s leadership role during the formative years of the PDP, describing him as a “lion” that dared military intimidation.
Gana narrated how the PDP national chairman had shielded members of the G.34, one of the groups that formed PDP, from arrest and military intimidation.
“The G.34 ought to be G.36 because former governor of Kano State, late Abubakar Rimi, was arrested and taken to Ilorin, Sule Lamido was arrested and taken to Maidugiri and the meeting became 34 members instead of the original 36.
“As the secretary of the G.34, whenever I saw him at the meeting, I became courageous. There was a time he had to take us somewhere at Ikoyi for a meeting, because of fear of military intimidation. Whenever we saw him at the meetings, we were encouraged because we saw him as a lion,” Gana said of Tukur.
The book launch was, however, attended by only the governors of Abia, Kaduna and Bauchi states, despite the fact that many of the governors were said to be in Abuja. Most of them were represented by their deputies.
Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State apologised for the absence of his colleagues, especially the PDP governors who formed the bulk of the governors, at the event.
He described Tukur as an icon and a role model.
Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Mohammed, who spoke on behalf of the Federal Executive Council, described Tukur as a global icon and a loyal politician.
“We as ministers follow the body language of the president. We are loyal to Bamanga Tukur because he is loyal to the president,” Mohammed said.
He said the transformation agenda of the Jonathan administration was meant to ensure the removal of godfatherism from the country’s politics and leadership and enthronement of a level-playing ground for all Nigerians.
Prominent businessman Prince Arthur Eze launched the book with N10 million. He called on Tukur to support Jonathan, saying, “We need stability in this country. We don’t need war. Please, support the president to complete his terms of office. Don’t listen to anybody.”
The book was unveiled to the public by elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark.
In his response, Tukur thanked God for sparing his life. He traced the successes in his life to patience, experience, kindness and friendship and appealed to Nigerians to support democracy.
Some of those that attended the birthday book launch included Alhaji Umaru Dikko, Alhaji Isiyaku Ibrahim, Alhaji Issa Tafida Mafindi, Professor ABC Nwosu, and General Lawrence Onoja as well as members of PDP National Working Committee..
Caption: Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi
Sanusi: I’ll Leave Legacy on Monetary Reform
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, said Saturday he was committed to leave behind a legacy on monetary reform policy, saying the apex bank has been vindicated over its decision relieve some indicted bank chiefs of their jobs when he came on board in 2009.
Recalling that he was criticised for the removal of the affected bank chiefs by those who described him as bold and tough, Sanusi, who said he is determined to leave a leave a legacy that is consistently focused on monetary policy reforms, said Nigerians should understand that the crackdown on failed bank executives was not part of the reforms he intended to do; it was just a normal thing that when you steal you go to jail, as it was obtained in other parts of the world.
The CBN Governor who spoke at a public lecture organised in his honour by the Bayero University, Kano (BUK) also called on all stakeholders in the Nigerian economy to always do the right things, and to have the love of the country at heart.
He said “I’m open to criticism in order for me to harness idea and improve banking system in the country”.
Sanusi, who declined to comment on the gale of controversy trailing the planned currency restructuring said he would not say anything about the controversial introduction of N5000 note, adding that he said enough about that.
In the past three years, the bank has adopted a hybrid of market–based monetary policy and direct intervention fiscal measures in some critical sectors of the economy, all geared towards increased lending to the real sector, empowerment of small scale entrepreneurs, promotion of youth entrepreneurship, and creation of employment opportunities and alleviation of poverty.
The apex bank has also succeeded in hedging the economy against inflation pressure in the face of massive deployment of capital by the Federal Government for various projects. Its monitoring of the banking sector with various policies has also paid off in stabilising the naira against the dollars with the attendant growth in the nation’s external reserves which hit a $40 billion mark last week.
Meanwhile, former bank chiefs swept away by the purge in 2009 included Cecilia Ibru of the defunct Oceanic Bank International, Erastus Akingbola of the then Intercontinental Bank Plc, Barth Ebong of Union Bank Plc, Okey Nwosu of former Finbank Plc and Sebastian Adigwe of former Afribank.
Other bank CEOs consumed by the CBN intervention of 2009 include Ike Oraekwuotu of former Equitorial Trust Bank Limited, Francis Atuche of the bridged Bank PHB Plc and Mr. Charles Ojo of former Spring Bank Plc.
Some of them were later dragged to courts for prosecution for their roles in the contravention of CBN laws and other infringements.
Meanwhile, the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Babatunde Akiolu 1, who also spoke at the Bayero University event advised politicians to change their attitude towards election by stopping rigging for democracy to reign well in the country, adding that the era of rigging is over in the country.
“Nigerians are now in the era of how to defend their rights, adding that leaders who will emerge in that process should stop the rigging by taking serious means and the followers too to change their attitude towards the right path so that they too can be able to question bad leaders”.
“Government should create job for the teeming population of youth s in the country, adding that employment opportunities among the youth will reduce unemployment and create awareness”, he advised.
He also appealed to leaders especially state governors to emulate what Governor Babatunde Fashola is doing in Lagos State in terms of youth and infrastructural development.
THISDAY reports that the two lectures- “Royalty, Leadership and Scholarship in Kano Emirate and “Sanusi Lamido Sanusi Era, A period of Anticipatory Micro-Economic policy Changes in Nigeria,” were presented by Professor Dahiru Yahaya and Managing Director, Financial Derivatives Company Limited, Mr. Bismark Rewane, respectively.