Clamour For Restructuring, Sign Of Failed Institution – Gov Ahmed

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•Saraki seeks courage, selflessness from Nigerian leaders

From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja

Governor of Kwara State, Abdulfatah Ahmed, has attributed clamour for restructuring to failure of institutions in the country and warned that people must get justice, trust the police and other government agencies. 

Speaking at the fifth anniversary lecture series in honour of late Senator Abubakar Olusola Saraki, organised by the Northern Union, in Abuja, yesterday, Ahmed noted that those demanding restructuring are those with genuine desire to look for ways of re-distribution of goods and services and those looking for political space, which do not have the interest of the people at heart.

In attendance at the event were former Borno State governor, Mohammed Goni, former Niger State governor, Muazu Babangida Aliyu, former Kano state governor, Ibrahim Shekarau, former Anambra state governor, Chief Jim Nwobodo, former Benue state governor, Senator George Akume, former Bauchi Atate governor, Isa Yuguda, former deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu, former minister of Agriculture, Sani Zango Daura and former president of the Court of Appeal, Justice Mamman Nasir.

Others were Chief of Staff to the Senate President, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, Senators Tijani Kaura, and Suleiman Nazif, former minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mohammed Abba Gana. Second Republic Senate President, Dr. Joseph Wayas.

Concluding the assemblage of dignitaries at the event are Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan, Senators Sahabi Abdullahi, Lane Tejuosho, Dino Melaye, Rufai Ibrahim, former Kebbi state governor, Adamu Aliero, Grace Bent, former Zamfara State governor, Mamuda Shinkafi and Senior Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters, Ita Enang.

In his keynote address, Governor Abdulfatah spoke of the late Saraki’s wealth of experiences, and that “some of us have been able to undergo political tutelage to develop a political career. We are happy that he has passed on and still lives on because he stood for certain values and certain virtue one of which forms the theme of today’s activity which is national unity and the future of Nigeria.”

In his remarks, Saraki thanked thanking the organisers and urged the Nigerian leaders to emulate his late father’s quality as a courageous leader who fought for the interest of the masses.

In his words: “With great humility and honour, I want to say that it is a great joy to see all our fathers here, who are colleagues and friends of my father.

“Those of us that know the Northern Union will believe that, to him, the union was so important. He believed in it strongly.

“For us who grew up under him, I will say that one of the things we learnt from him was that his life was about giving. He had no limit to what you call giving.

“Given that he was not just materialistic, given his kindness, given affection and style, some of us who were around him believe that with all humility ,no politician is  above him in giving out everything. He gave everything, in the interest of helping people. I think that that is a message all of us must continue to learn…”

“We must cultivate the ability to give to people and to serve with everything we have. Sometimes when you do that regardless of whether you are a good politician, sometime good politicians are a bit tactful how they do it.

“Oloye saw it like that. Some 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.

“He 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.

“He 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. 

“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.

“One 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 believed in. It is that courage that we all need today. We 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 of what Nigeria can achieve.

“As we remember and honour him today, the only thing we can all to do is to continue to uphold the unity of this country based on the foundation of what is good for Nigeria must come first and if we do that I am confident that we will leave a great country. I want to use this opportunity to some of you who stood solidly behind me during my trial times.”“Politics should be about the people and not about the politician because we have seen the table turning. But as we have seen today, politics is about the politician and not about the people. There is no doubt that Nigeria require more than anytime  before to strengthen its unity.

“As a people, we have not been able to put together out best capacity, rather we have allowed the concept of ethnic and religious differences to take charge of our affairs. We have forgotten that ethnic and religious differences and social cultural differences are merely environmental differences.

“We all stand out as one species of man before God almighty. Those differences should not be the basis for determining delivery of goods and services. What should be the basis for delivery of goods and services is creating a platform of equity and justice.

“As a country today, we can see that there is a lot of clamour for restructuring, a lot of clamour for reforms and some even went to the extent of talking about secession. They are issues that required to be pondered on very seriously because there are a reflection of peoples’ loss of faith in the system that is expected to give them succour.

“When you loss faith in a platform that is supposed to give you succour, you will begin to seek refuge in cocoons  such as ethnic, religious and socio cultural backgrounds. This tells us clearly that the time has come for us to look at our differences and recognize that as strength.

“It is clear that all we have seen in the demand for restructuring falls in two ways. The first one is that it is genuine desire to look for ways of redistribution of goods and services. The second one is led by those who are looking for political space and those looking for political space do not have the interest of the people at heart.

“Let us put that at the back of our minds. But one thing comes out clearly and that is the fact that there is the need to restructure the country in such a way and manner that institutions must be strengthened. It is not leadership that drives good governance, but strong institutions.

“We must strengthen our institutions where there is justice, equity and platforms for people to express themselves and do things the way they feel freely and even practice their religion and association. That is the kind of Nigeria we must look and fight for because poverty has no ethnic or religious background. Our differences are not in our ethnic or religious background, but in our financial capacity.

“The difference between the upper class, the middle class and the lower class is where our differences are. We must recognize it as such and fight in such a way and manner that majority of Nigerians must move to the middle class. It has nothing to do with ethnocentric differences. The days of hiding behind ethnic cleavages more are gone. We must recognize our differences which should be our strength.

“What determine the success of any country is the size of the country. Nigeria is a critical mass, it is huge market and and huge potential. We must use it well. We must recognize this and use it positively. That is what Saraki stood for and that is what he has always fought to see Nigeria be.

“Those who went through his tutelage will always ensure that. That is why we have been able to drive good governance in Kwara and we will continue to do that. Yes, there are differences because people will continue to  come up with one thing or the other. One 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. Nigeria has the potential, we can do it. But one thing is clear, it cannot happen by magic, but by urgency.

“Urgency to reform our institution. 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. Until 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. It is a failed state. So, we must recognize that our strength in diversity is in strengthening  our institutions because that is where our solution lies. May God help us all,” he noted.

Speaking at the event, Saraki thanked thanking the organisers and urged the Nigerian leaders to emulate his late father’s quality as a courageous leader who fought for the interest of the masses.

In his words: “With great humility and honour, I want to say that it is a great joy to see all our fathers here who are colleagues and friends of my father. I am happy to see you in good health and very active. They say that in life, it is not what you do or say that matters but this show of singular love and affection. It is really appreciated.

“Those of us that know Northern Union will believe that to him the union was so important. He believed in it strongly. For us who grew up under him, I will say that one of the things we learnt from him was that his life was about giving. He had no limit to what you call giving.

“Given that he is not just materialistic, given his kindness, given affection and style, some of us who had been around him will believe that with all humility no politician is  above him in giving out everything. He gave everything in the interest of helping people. I think that that is a message all of us must continue to learn.

“We must cultivate the ability to give to people and to serve with everything we have. Sometimes when you do that regardless of whether you are a good politician, sometime good politicians are a bit tactful how they do it.

“Oloye saw it like that. Some 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.

“He 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.

“He 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. 

“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.

“One 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 believed in. It is that courage that we all need today. We 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 of what Nigeria can achieve.

“As we remember and honour him today, the only thing we can all to do is to continue to uphold the unity of this country based on the foundation of what is good for Nigeria must come first and if we do that I am confident that we will leave a great country. I want to use this opportunity to some of you who stood solidly behind me during my trial times.”

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