Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, has said what the country needs to resolve challenges of statehood afflicting it are leaders with the courage to do what is right and to stand firm on it.
He said beyond the clamour for restructuring and reform of the country, there is the need to first do things that will promote unity and oneness among the people.
Saraki, who spoke yesterday in Abuja at the annual lecture instituted in memory of his late father, Olusola Saraki said the problem with Nigeria is that her leaders knows what is right but most often fails to stand up to do the right thing for this country.
Commenting on the topic of the Lecture titled: â€˜National Unity and the Future of Nigeria,â€™ Saraki said he stands by his position espoused during a recent meeting of the Southern Senatorsâ€™ Forum in Calabar on the need to place priority on the countryâ€™s unity.
The subject matter today, about unity and like I said in Calabar last week, before we talk about restructuring, we must first talk about the unity of this country. To do that, we must not be afraid to do the right thing. We all know what the right thing are most times but we are never ready to stand and do the right thing for this country?â€ he said.
Saraki also spoke on the life and times of his late father as well as his style of politics which he noted was based more on his belief in consensus , compromise rather than do or die posture.
He explained that as a grassroots politician, his late father was not lacking in the milk of kindness and the requisite courage to do what is in the interest of the majority of the people.
â€œOne thing Oloye had was courage and those of you that have worked with him will know that he has the courage to do whatever he believes in. It is that courage that we all need today.
â€œWe need the courage to do what is right for this country. We need the courage to put Nigeria first not our state or religion but the courage to put the country first. So long as we continue to discuss this issue, we will continue to talk about the potential of Nigeria not the reality that Nigeria can achieve.
â€œSome go into politics as a business where you go with 10 and get 100. But he went into politics with everything and there was no way it would have been rewarding to him politically for what he did to Nigerian politics because he gave everything. This is surely one lesson we should all learn.
â€œHe also believed in consensus and that is what we learnt in Kwara State. He believed that it was not a do or die for any position. In doing that he contributed to the unity of this country by providing for the under privileged and for the masses.
â€œHe was always there trying to ensure that everybody benefited. He will always consult and we learnt that from him because he will consult up to the councilorship in elections,â€ he said.
Also speaking at the ceremony, the Kwara State governor, Abdulfatai Ahmed, said the best approach to resolving issues agitating the minds of Nigerians is to strength existing institutions and ensure that its all inclusive.
He said the clamour for restructuring is as a result of failed institutions, adding that people must get justice and must trust the police and other government agencies.
According to the governor, he have been able to drive good governance in Kwara and will continue to do that.
â€œOne thing comes out clearly and that is the fact that a system that is inclusive, and carry majority of the people along will naturally be a sustainable process. That is why we have always sought to put things in place not only at the subnational level, but we must seek to ensure that this is put in place in Nigeria.
â€œNigeria has the potential, we can do it. But one thing is clear, it cannot happen by magic, but by sense of urgency to reform our institutions. Failure of institutions is what we are seeing, clamour for restructuring and all others is as a result of failed institutions. People must get justice, people must trust the police and other government agencies.
â€œUntil all these are done, if we continue to divide into ethnic nationalities and languages, we will never make a difference. Somalia has no working institution despite having one language, one people, one religion, yet it is a failed state. So, we must recognise that our strength in diversity is in strengthening our institutions because that is where our solution lies,â€ he said.
Former Niger State governor, Alhaji Muazu Babangida, described late Saraki as a humanist who made his mark in politics and national development.
In the same vein, former Minister of Police Affairs, Yakubu Laman, described Olusola Saraki as a believer in â€œfunctional democracyâ€ who tried to build bridges across the political divides.
Similarly, elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakassi who recounted how the late Sarakiâ€™s exploits in politics, describing him as a true Nigerian both by circumstance of his birth, believe and deeds.
The lecture attracted many dignitaries including, former governors of Borno State governor, Mohammed Goni, Niger State, Muazu Babangida Aliyu, Kano State, Ibrahim Shekarau, Anambra State, Chief Jim Nwobodo, Benue State, Senator George Akure, Bauchi State , Isa Yuguda, former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu, former Minister of Agriculture, Sani Zango Daura, former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Mamman Nasir, former Minister of Aviation, Tony Graham. Chief of Staff to the Senate President, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, Senator Tijani Kaura, Senator Suleiman Nazifi, former FCT minister, Abba Gana.
Second republic Senate President, Dr. Joseph Wayas, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, Senate Leader, Senator Ahmed Lawan, Senator Sahabi Abdullahi, Senator Lane Tejuosho, Senator Dino Melaye, Senator Rufai Ibrahim, former Kebbi State governor, Senator Adamu Aliero, Senator Grace Bent, former Zamfara State governor, Mamuda Shinkafi, Senior Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang.