Quest for unity of the country, putting the elections behind and acting like a statesman dominated the theme of the Guest Speaker Uhuru Kenyatta, former Kenyan two-term president and other Speakers who took the podium at the transition inaugural lecture in Abuja on Saturday. The President-elect to whom the advice was being funneled was not
Quest for unity of the country, putting the elections behind and acting like a statesman dominated the theme of the Guest Speaker Uhuru Kenyatta, former Kenyan two-term president and other Speakers who took the podium at the transition inaugural lecture in Abuja on Saturday.
The President-elect to whom the advice was being funneled was not physically present but ably represented by his Vice, Senator Kashim Shettima at a high-breed event witnessed by President Muhammadu Buhari and other guests local and international.
From a Kenyan who sees himself as an African talking to his fellow African, one of the royal ways to greatness for Nigeria is for the President -elect, Senator Bola Tinubu to be a uniting force in Nigeria.
Former Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday gave the charge in Abuja during the presidential inauguration lecture ahead of Senator Tinubu’s swearing-in scheduled for Monday urged Senator Tinubu to stretch the olive branch to opponents and those who did not vote for him.
His words” You would lose nothing and gain everything by reaching out across the political, ethnic, and religious lines to those who may feel aggrieved by your victory in one way or another,” Kenyatta said. “Please, allow them to exhale and be part of your vision for a greater Nigeria.”
Although Senator Tinubu was not present at the lecture, titled: “ Deepening Democracy for Integration and Development”, Kenyatta emphasised the importance of transcending from tactical politics and adopting the role of Nigeria’s vision bearer.
Mr. Kenyatta said since elections are over, the onus lies on the President-elect to unite every Nigerian irrespective of religion, tribe, political and other affiliations.
The former president of Kenya, also encouraged Tinubu to surround himself with voices that challenge his own, and to reach out to those who may feel aggrieved in order to build a stronger nation together.
“The contest is now over and the hard work of building a prosperous and unified Nigeria now begins,” he said as a keynote speaker during the event.
“Upon assuming the office of president, you would be wise to transcend from the tactical politics of an election and assume your role as Nigeria’s vision bearer.
“This will demand a complete overhaul of the adversarial mindset that we as politicians are conditioned to embrace during the electoral process.
“As president, you must learn very quickly to lead those who love you and those who don’t with equal passion and commitment because now, you are the father of all,” he said.
While the elections may have divided the country, he urged Tinubu to see himself as the “symbol of unity” meaning he should reach out to the opposition.
He listed negative ethnicity, religious discrimination, and corruption as the three enemies of nationhood but believes the lessons from across the continent will give Tinubu the courage to overcome them.
“As your fellow African, I look forward to a Nigeria that emerges from this transition ready to flex and fight for its rightful place on the global stage with both hands,” the former Kenyan leader said.
In his remarks at the lecture, outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari noted that the inauguration lecture took participants on a journey of introspection on the imperatives of democratic governance and nation-building stressing that the various challenges that confront the socio-political fabrics of Nigeria were highlighted.
“We have learnt that democracy is not just a system of governance. It is a way of life. True democracy is when voice of people are heard. Our nations progress rest on inclusivity, unity and not leaving any citizen behind and by ensuring every citizen enjoy dividends of good governance. We must heed the lessons of this lecture and translate them into action. We must fight against corruption in all its form. We must remain united. Our diversity is our strength.
“We can overcome our differences and forge a common cause towards progress,” President Buhari said.
Bishop Mathew Kukah, Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, in his contribution said Nigerians traveling abroad should do so for the purpose of returning to develop the country.
He said the incoming administration must rise up to the challenge of uniting the country.
According to him, Nigerians traveling abroad must be given a reason to return, stressing that the incoming leadership must manage the diversity and create a habitable country.
“I will also end by saying right now that 133 million Nigerians are suffering from various levels of multi-dimensional poverty,” he said, adding that :”I have not put up the light and see the part where Muslims are living that they have light, while others are not. I have not seen the part of the country where Muslims are eating and the rest of us are not. So we must come to terms with the fact that we are not bleeding.
“We are not suffering because we are Christians or Muslims, but we are in a country that is malfunctioning. How to make that country work, for the rich, for the poor, for the aged, and for everybody is a challenge.
“I would like to just end by saying and I have made the point very clearly, in the struggle with the problems of Nigeria, I remain exceptionally optimistic.
The President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina made a case for Africa’s most populous nation
He said the nation’s private sector is greatly affected by the high cost of electricity, calling on the Nigerian authorities to fix the epileptic power.
His words:”For faster growth, Nigeria must fix decisively, the issue of power once and for all,” he stated, adding: “There is no justification for Nigeria not having enough power”.
“The abnormal have simply become normal. Nigeria’s private sector is hampered by the high cost of power. Providing electricity will make Nigerian industry more competitive, especially within the context of the African Continental Free Trade Area”, he stressed.
Speaking on the tax drive, Dr. Adesina wants the Federal Government to increase the tax generation in the country.
Essentially, he wants government to move from tax exemption to tax redemption and also ensure that multinational companies pay appropriate royalties and taxes. He also wants the Nigerian authorities to block tax leakages in revenue collection.
Noting that simply raising taxes is not enough, the AfDB boss wants the Nigerian government to provide the basic amenities to the masses.
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, highlighted the crucial need for unity and cooperation, emphasising the importance of continued collaboration within the nation.
The sultan, who reechoed his message delivered at the inauguration prayer on Friday, underscored the importance of unity, citing it as a key factor in the country’s success .
He emphasised the power of a shared sense of purpose and harmony, stressing that it can lead to collective strength and progress.
The president-elect’s address was delivered by the Vice President-elect, Senator Kashim Shettima, who used the opportunity to call on Nigerians to stand together with the incoming administration to birth a better country.
His words: “Distinguished guests, democracy is more than a system of governance; it is the very lifeblood that empowers a nation to flourish and thrive,” the president-elect said.
“We stand at the precipice of a new era, where the ideals of democracy will guide our path towards sustainable development.”
Senator Tinubu while embracing his African identity, reaffirmed his love for the continent.
He also recognised the collective efforts of Nigerians and Africans in shaping their democratic political cultures and institutions, tailored to the unique conditions and challenges faced by their societies.
The President-elect articulated the essence of democracy, emphasizing that it transcends being a mere form of government.
“Democracy, my fellow countrymen, is not only a political system; it is a way of life. It embodies a distinctive code of thought and conduct, demanding the utmost integrity and self-improvement from leaders.
“Our democracy is not an abstract ideal; it is a practical vessel that will propel our nation to new heights in every facet of our collective existence,” Senator Tinubu added.