Eminent Nigerians yesterday called for a united front for the country to come out of its current security, economic and political challenges.
They spoke at the 2020 LEADERSHIP Conference and Awards ceremony held at the International Conference Centre (ICC), Abuja.
Among those, who proffered solutions to the country’s festering problems, especially insecurity were bVice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), the Sultan of Sokoto, HRH Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, state governors, national and international business leaders.
Osinbajo blamed insecurity in the country on the elite.
The vice president, who was the guest speaker, accused the country’s elite of masterminding the prevailing insecurity in variuos parts of the nation.
The theme of the LEADERSHIP Conference and Awards ceremony was “National and Regional Insecurity: The Role of Political And Non-Political Actors In Stabilisation And Consensus Building.”
The vice president said the activities of the elite which promote ethnicity and regionalism were fuelling insecurity in the country.
He said the elite’s criticisms of the activities of government without consideration was escalating insurrection and insurgency.
Osinbajo, who joined other Nigerians to honour the founder of LEADERSHIP Media Group Ltd, Mr Sam Nda-Isaiah, who died on December 11, 2020, said insecurity in every part of the country would be addressed if the elite and other Nigerians returned to a consensus.
He said the major cause of insecurity in Nigeria was human, adding that the elite had been irresponsible when it came to addressing the scourge.
Osinbajo said, “Some of the elite can’t come to consensus when it comes to tackling insecurity,” adding that most of the elite who are promoting ethnic agenda, depend on dubious activities in playing regional and ethnic cards.
“The elite use that to acquire more for themselves,” Osinbajo said, adding, “The chief weakness we have is the human one. Our political, economic and religious elite are socially irresponsible either by selfish interest or lack of self-awareness and unable to build the social and political consensus upon which a just and orderly society can start.
“And because the government must form some consensus, the elite paint them dubious. They promote tribal and religious faultlines for legitimacy.
“And I don’t speak of ethnic or religious marginalisation…. I speak of the division between the have not, the have no hope and the have who seem to have it all.
“So, the attacks received on law and order are themselves symptomatic and they are driven by emerging critics of the fabric of order itself.
“These critics are manifesting as insurrection and insurgency along various aspects of our identity,” Osinbajo said.
The vice president who cautioned young Nigerians agitating for break up of the country, warned that secession would only lead Nigeria to extinction.
“We must be prepared to tell our constituency the truth, even if it means hurting our political fortunes or our popularity.
“We must be able to say it to our young men and women who for example say that secession is the only way out. We must be able to say to them that that is a way of extinction, not development,” Osinbajo declared.
In his remarks, the Sultan of Sokoto, HRH Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, who was the chairman of the occasion, said God did not make a mistake bringing Nigerians together and so the citizens must accept other religious faiths.
He said on occasion of this nature, it was important for citizens to look at issues that really bind them together, and the little ones that separate them because many Nigerians had become close to one another.
The eminent monarch said, “One wonders if we are to go our one million ways, how do we survive, but God Almighty can never make a mistake, so whatever He has done, that is His will and it must be obeyed. So bringing us together as Nigerians is not a mistake and that is what God wants.
“So, we have to accept our religious beliefs as good Christians, as good Muslims, as bad Christians, as bad Muslims, we all know we are from one source, one creator,” he said.
He stressed the need for Nigerians to close ranks and help one another in the face of challenges.
He recalled that he alongside John Cardinal Onaiyekan were recognised by the LEADERSHIP Media Group in 2012 for their works in making Nigerians realise that religion is an individual race.
He said, “Since we started, we have not stopped working together trying to bring everybody together to make Nigerians realise that religion is between you and Almighty God.
“You don’t worship God for me because when you die and go to Almighty Allah, He will not call me to answer your queries. Religion is an individual problem.”
The Sultan said those trying to fan the embers of hatred through religion would not succeed.
“Those trying to fan the embers of hatred, division and whatever through religion will definitely fail because we’ll not succumb to their atrocities, we’ll not give in and will continue to work for the betterment of our great country Nigeria.
“We must rise up together as one people to face this challenge of insecurity, no one person can do it alone.”
He said the issue of insecurity must not be left to the commander-in-chief, chief of defence staff, service chiefs and heads of security agencies.
“We must rise up to see the issue of insecurity as our own personal problem, we can all and we must contribute to the challenges of insecurity in this country and if we do that in the next couple of days, weeks, months, years we’ll be sleeping with eyes closed,” he said.
AfDB Special Funds Coming For Nigeria, Others – Akinwumi
President of African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has advised the federal government to look beyond military approach and recognise economic investment as a panacea to address the insecurity in the country.
Akinwumi who spoke on the topic, “African Economic Response to Insecurity, Stability and Consensus Building” while receiving the LEADERSHIP Person of the Year 2020 Award in Abuja yesterday said Nigeria must recognise the strong link between security, investment, growth, development and resolve to work in harmony and managing diversity for strength.
He said the bank is developing security index investment bonds to help countries and regional economic communities to mobilize resources to tackle these challenges.
According to him, the security index investment funds will raise funds on the global capital markets to support countries to upgrade their security architecture, rebuild damaged infrastructure in conflict affected areas, rebuild social infrastructure, especially schools, hospitals, water and sanitation and protect especially zones where there are strategic investments.
Akinwumi added that the bank had provided $250 million to Nigeria in support of the North East Reconstruction and Development through the inclusive basic services delivery project to help in restoring lost livelihoods and building resilience for conflict.
On climate change he said the bank will mobilize $25 billion in climate finance in support of African countries by 2025 and work with partners on the Africa adaptation acceleration program to mobilise an additional $12.5 billion in support of Africa.
On COVID-19 vaccination, Akinwumi stressed that Africa must be self-sufficient and not continue to outsource the health of its people to the benevolence of the global supply chains.
He stressed that the world needs focused, visionary, and resilient leadership to steer the ships of nations, states and economies to bolster confidence and to ensure stability and inspire hope in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic as much havoc in Africa.
He disclosed that the bank will be providing $3 billion in support of building local pharmaceutical industries in Africa and support Africa to strengthen and build world class quality healthcare infrastructure, including in Nigeria.
He noted that the bank also launched a $3 billion to fight COVID-19 and a social bond on the global capital markets.
He also said “the African Development Bank has launched the high five strategy to drive faster development of the continent and power, industrialised, integrate and improve the quality of life of the people of Africa. In five short years, the program has impacted the lives of 335 million people”.
“We are working to finance the development and construction of the Lagos Abidjan highway together with ECOWAS, which will be a landmark investment that will accelerate the economic integration of West Africa,” he added.
He said that the bank had commenced work to build the world’s largest solar zone in Africa with a 20 billion US dollar initiative aimed to provide electricity access via the solar for 250 million people across 11 countries of the South, including northern Nigeria.
According to him “the bank is boosting African countries’ efforts to also transform their agricultural sector. Since the African Development Bank launched its field Africa strategy in 2015, over 74 million people have benefited from access to improve agricultural technologies. As an example, our flagship program called technologies for African agricultural transformation has provided 11 million farmers in Africa across 29 countries, including Nigeria, with new climate resilient agricultural technologies”.
Akinwumi also added that the bank and its partners have designed the first phase of special agro industrial processing zones in Nigeria which will help to transform agriculture, revive rural economies, boost food and agribusiness investments and turn many rural areas from zones of economic misery to zones of economic prosperity.
He said that the bank has also mobilized $520 million together with its partners in support of Nigeria to further help Nigeria to diversify its economy and boost jobs.
” To further help Nigeria, the African Development Bank is preparing for the consideration of our board of directors, a US$500 million programme to be co-financed by the AfDB and several partners for expanding digital infrastructure to help make Nigeria a global powerhouse in the digital economy, this will boost innovativeness, especially in the financial technology, and e- commerce space, and the creative industry where new and successful ventures have been launched with excellence in Nigeria,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu, AbdulRazaq, Wike, Buni, Obaseki, Others Laud Awards, Want Nda-Isaiah’s Legacies Sustained
Governor of Kwara State, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, who bagged the award for governor of the year, commended the management of LEADERSHIP for the recognition, saying it will inspire him to do more.
He said, “This award came as a shock because sometimes you do a lot of work and you see some kind of criticism on social media.
“But when you see people appreciating your effort it inspires you to do more,” he said.
Similarly, Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, said that the Governor of the Year Award conferred to him by LEADERSHIP, will spur him and his cabinet to a “greater momentum” in order to make Rivers the destination of choice in Nigeria.
The deputy governor of the state Ipalibo Banigo, who received the award on behalf of the governor, thanked LEADERSHIP for recognising the moderate efforts the Wike-led administration is making to transform the state.
She said “We are extremely humbled that the moderate efforts were have made in transforming our state from the pitiable one that we saw in 2015 when we came on board, have been recognised by LEADERSHIP, and we are even more humbled that this is the second time LEADERSHIP is giving our governor this prestigious award.
“We came in knowing that we need to build a state that is united, secure and prosperous with boundless opportunities for people to realise their potential.”
She added that the administration has never rested on its oars in building the new Rivers Vision designed to enhance the livelihood of the people based on a responsive governance guided by the fear of God.
“We have put developmental footprints in all the 23 local government areas of Rivers State and we are committed to the promise we have made to our people to continue to give them dividends of democracy.”
Also speaking after receiving the award of the Politician Of The Year, Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, lauded LEADERSHIP for the honor, stressing that it is a motivation and opportunity to do more to rebuild the state.