By SOLOMON NDA-ISAIAH
The former governor of Niger state, Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, P.h.D has said that without a conducive atmosphere, free of rancour, violence, ballot snatching, intimidation of voters and vote buying and all other attendant vices that could mar and make the results of the elections unacceptable, development would continue to elude us the nation.
He stated this in his address presented at the 9th Annual Leadership and Good Governance Lecture and Awards of Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation
with the theme: Credible 2023 General Elections As Panacea To Search For Quality Leadership.
He said even though the lecture was coming late as a result of the Ramadan fasting period, but the theme was chosen at a time Nigeria was preparing for February/ March 2023q General Elections.
According to him, the theme would bring to the fore, the importance of having a credible, free and fair elections where Nigerians would have felt they have been given a level playing field in order to usher in leaders that will be acceptable to the generality of the populace.
The Talban Minna, Sardaunan Hausa, said, “If we do not produce credible and honest leaders, we shall lose the ground already gained through the democratic process while Nigerians may lose confidence in the system and the country.
“Indeed, we were further encouraged by the desire of President Muhammadu Buhari to leave a legacy of free and fair elections, while the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) created further confidence in its claim to use technology, Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and INEC RESULT VIEWING PORTAL (IReV) which many Nigerians believed were either not used or used in default.
Aliyu said to consolidate on the gains of democracy that has been established in order to provide a conducive atmosphere for social and economic development to take place, the security of the environment and stability of policies influence Foreign Direct Investments which most developing economies depend upon of which Nigeria is no exception.
“This also guided our choice of speaker in the person of Professor Patrick L.O Lumumba, a lover of Africa and the black man, an excellent scholar, outspoken, honest, frank and erudite speaker who calls a spade a spade. Although the timing of the lecture has changed, the issues to be raised have not changed and might help us in our post elections analysis.
” Sir Ahmadu Bello, Sardaunan Sokoto, was the first and last premier of Northern Nigeria, a great grandson of Sheikh Usman Danfodio, the jihadist who inspired the creation and unity of Northern Region, which later became the 19 Northern States and FCT. I was the chairman of Northern Governors Forum 2007-2015.”
According to the former governor of Niger state, the forum deemed it necessary not only to honour the late premier to bring out the values that guided this leadership substance and style for learning but the inculcation by our future generations.
“The generation including Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, and Nnamdi Azikiwe of blessed memory, led when character, discipline and humility were the hallmark of governance and administration.
“The First Republic produced leaders that had a sense and honesty of purpose, with the genuine love for and of the people guided by the principle of service to the people. They were motivated by the fear of ALLAH SWT (God) that they would one day account for their actions and deeds in the hereafter.
“In the words of Sir Ahmadu Bello, KBE and I quote “—in any case, there is nothing mysterious in leading people. The only qualities that would be leader of the people needs are hardwork, credible integrity, selflessness, honesty, firmness of purpose, wisdom, accessibility and fear of God.” These values are probably in deficit these days.
Creation and building of nationhood are deliberate venture that reflect in good governance, honest and sensitive leadership that is transparent, corrupt free and communicative.
“In Nigeria today, everything is top secret –including the sickness of our leaders. Is it not possible to create and build a nation amongst disparate tribes, multi-ethnic groups, different and often divisive religions, region, and state? It is possible if we get the people to have confidence in the Institutions, leaders, governments and the whole system.
This should be our assignment not only in Nigeria but also in Africa. We must create an environment to have credible elections that can further entrench democracy in our country. When we get it right in Nigeria, many Africa countries shall get it right.
“I wish to make a vow to achieve National Unity which will lead Nigeria to achieve sustainable democracy, dialogue and tolerance must be encouraged by the various tiers of Governments. We must recognize that abject poverty and mass unemployment can be catalyst for violence, so we must create gainful employment and introduce institutionalized social welfare to those who might need it.”
He commended the Nasarawa Stae Government for its partnership with the Foundation, saying, “the foundation and Nasarawa State have always been partners in progress as shown by the intervention that the foundation extended to Nasarawa States amongst which are award of scholarship to indigent students to various universities. I must inform the first two hundred students that graduated from the scheme, 48% had first class.”