Diri Tasks Nigeria’s Political Class on Selfless Leadership

Olusegun Samuel in Yenagoa

Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, has urged the political class in the country, including himself, to appreciate the temporal nature of leadership by making necessary sacrifices to better the lot of the people while in office.

Governor Diri made the call at a state banquet organised for the Muslim Ummah in the state as part of this year’s Eid-al-Adha celebrations in the Government House, Yenagoa.

Represented by his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, Diri said the banquet was put together by his administration in the spirit of sacrifice and love which the Islamic festival symbolizes.

Governor Diri identified lack of selfless and sacrificial leaders both at the national and sub-national levels as a major stumbling block to the development of the country.

According to him, ‘Nigeria is where it is today because truly selfless and patriotic leaders who are ready to serve the people, rather than being served are in acute short supply.”

He, however, called on Nigerians, leaders and followers alike, to imbibe the virtues of sacrifice and obedience to God and their government, to foster a united, peaceful and progressive society.

Governor Diri, who reminded Muslim faithful all over the country to emulate Prophet Ibrahim, who was ready to sacrifice everything to Allah, urged them to sustain their prayers for the peace, stability and prosperity of Bayelsa State and Nigeria in general.

According to him,  “This feast stands on two pillars. The first pillar is sacrifice, while the second one stands on obedience.

“Prophet Ibrahim was obedient to Allah even to the point of sacrificing his son in order to be blessed. So the lesson for us is to be willing to make sacrifice for society to become a better place.

“If you go to Bauchi State and see the House of the late Tafawa Balewa, you will agree with me that he served selflessly; the same is the story of the Saudauna of Sokoto and our own Chief Melford Okilo, who was the first civilian governor of old Rivers State from Ogbia here.

“They were all sacrificial leaders who served the people of this country well. But today everybody wants to be served. Everybody that finds him or herself in leadership wants to amass wealth to the detriment of the people.

“Leaders who sacrifice in Nigeria are no longer there. The leaders we have today want to be served. That is why Nigeria is where it is today. If we really want this country to become better, then we all have to change and learn how to make little sacrifices to one another.”

In his welcome address, the immediate past Special Adviser to the Governor on Religious Matters, Rev. Godspower Asingba, commended the Muslim ummah in Bayelsa State for supporting the policies and programmes of the Governor Diri-led administration.

Asingba wished them happy Eid -Al Adha celebration, otherwise known as Sallah, which he noted was a major religious festival in the yearly Islamic calendar, and urged the Muslim community to continually promote religious harmony in the state.

In this address, the Vice Chairman of the Bayelsa State Council for Islamic Affairs, Malam Usman Ali Galadanchi, expressed the council’s gratitude to the present administration for giving the Muslim Ummah in the state a sense of belonging by always identifying with them during their major religious festival.

On the significance of the Eid-al-Adha, Malam Galadanchi, explained it serves as a reminder for Muslims to emulate Prophet Ibrahim’s devotion and willingness to obey and sacrifice to Allah by faith.

No fewer than 200 Muslim Ummah, including the Chief Imam of Bayelsa State, Zakaria Alaowei; Secretary of the state Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Yakubu Boleigha; Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Bayelsa State Chapter, Very Rev. Father Joseph Opelema, Chaplain, King of Glory Chapel, Government House, Abraham Yallah, among others, attended the state banquet.

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