Eminent personalities, notable politicians and scholars on Saturday agreed on the need for Nigeria to move away from building strong individuals to building strong institutions as a means of achieving sustainable national development.
The personalities who spoke at the maiden Abiola Ajimobi Roundtable organized as part of the activities marking the 69th birthday of the Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi in Ibadan, included a former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (rtd.), National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Stuart Symington and wife of the governor, Dr (Mrs) Florence Ajimobi.
Others were former Interim National Chairman of APC, Chief Bisi Akande, former Governor of Osun State, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, Senator Majority Leader, Senator Ahmed Lawan, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi and an industrialist, Chief Kola Daisi.
Speaking on the theme: “The Imperatives of Building Institutions for Lasting Legacies”, they all affirmed that while strong individuals were necessary for visionary leadership, it was only strong institutions that could enhance proactive leadership, good governance, effectiveness of the rule of law and inclusiveness of the citizenry.
Touching on the theme of the discourse, Gowon identified the civil service as one of the key institutions that any government must strengthen, noting that “protecting the integrity, confidentiality and impartiality of civil servants would enable them give political leaders the right advices.
For Tinubu, while institutions are important, a leader cannot be deemed to have succeeded, no matter how much he has achieved infrastructural renewal and other areas of development until he developed people who could succeed him and nurture the institution that he had built.
He said: “We have seen infrastructural renewal across the state; we have seen demolitions, emotions, expressions, reforms of traditional institutions. You have proved that you don’t lack courage but you can be successful as a leader not only in terms of bricks and mortals but how many other leaders you have developed who can succeed you and build on your legacies; otherwise, as you leave, the empire crumbles; the institutions you have built will go into ruins.”
Tinubu declared Ajimobi as a leader who demonstrated the rare combination of thinking and doing, adding that he had exhibited the quality of a good leader who had the courage of not only taking actions but being ready to face the consequences of his actions.
While agreeing on the need to build strong institutions, Akande however warned against what he called the growing institution of bullies who, he said, derived satisfaction in benefitting from the public purse without providing the commensurate value.
He noted “regardless of your profession, if you take money for the job you have not done, you are a third. In other countries, when people go on strike, they do not take salary for the period. All you leaders who allow people to steal from public purse should henceforth watch it.
In his own submission, Aregbesola recalled that one of the reasons why a former US President, Barack Obama shunned Nigeria and chose to visit Ghana during his visit to Africa was due to the lack of will by our leaders at the time to support the growth of institutions.
“During that visit, Obama observed that African leaders should look at building institutions and not individuals. And for me also, even though we need strong, thoughtful, resilient, idealistic and iconic people to look up to as pace setters, but Africa can only be great if we shift our focus to building institutions which will outlive these individuals,” he said.
The US ambassador, who address the gathering the gathering via an amplified telephone call from Abuja, said it was time for the people of Oyo State, Nigeria, development partners and business associates to shift attention from sustainable development to profitable development because without profit, development cannot be sustained.
He further noted that oil and land were not the important asset of the country but the people of Nigeria themselves, adding that “how the people of Nigeria, working together to transform and strengthen institutions from inside out is the only way for creating trust that will ensure development, trust for people to take their hard earned capital and their very lives and invest in the country because they will be welcomed and well treated”
According to the envoy, institutions don’t have memories and reputations, it is the leaders that drive them.
In his own submission, the Senate Leader said strong institutions were created and nurtured by strong men; leaders of vision and integrity who were focused, noting that after Tinubu had created strong institutions in Lagos State, he made sure that strong and competent leaders succeeded him to make the institutions sustainable.
“We also have such a leader in Governor Ajimobi. He came with a vision; he had courage and competence; he believes in probity and that is why Oyo State has had a smooth primary; the governor is more interested in people who can sustain his institutional reforms and other legacies and not in his own personal preferences,” he said.
Speaking about the governor, Oba Adeyemi noted “Ajimobi is the 20th governor that I have worked with. I have worked intimately as a son and as governor. If you are brilliant, truthful and hardworking, he will work with you. He runs an inclusive government but you can only get something from him if you key into his vision of RTR, meaning reformation, transformation and repositioning”.
During the panel discussion that was moderated by Prof. I. A. Adeyemi, the discussants including Prof. Tunji Olaopa, a retired federal permanent secretary and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Prof. (Mrs.) Oluyemisi Bamgbose, also harped on the need for building institutions that would ensure sustainable development.
While expressing gratitude to the guests, Governor Ajimobi noted that “all developments are sustained by visions, intellectualism, principle and the courage we need to implement what we have envisoned; we started this roundtable because we believe no social or physical development can be achieved without intellectual and human capital development.
The governor added “no leader is successful until he has chosen a worthy successor; all actions that I have taken were guided by God and the determination to make a difference. When we came, we saw broken bricks but we are leaving Oyo State with marbles.”
Over 200 Kidnap Victims Regain Freedom In Zamfara – Police
The Commissioner of Police in Zamfara, Mr Usman Nagogo says over 200 victims of kidnap have been received from their abductors in the last three weeks in the state.
Nagogo made this known at a news conference in Gusau on Monday.
The police chief said the bandits willingly returned and handover the victims to him as the leader of a peace and reconciliation initiative recently set up by Governor Bello Matawalle.
He explained: “Since the beginning of the peace and reconciliation initiative team assignment about three weeks ago now, we have received over 200 kidnap victims from Fulanis and Yansakai.
“We have sat with all the warring factions and they have understood that peace is the most important aspect of growth and development which is why they willingly return the victims,
“and await the promise made by the governor to re-establish grazing reserves, build hospitals and veterinary clinics, provide good drinking water and other amenities at Fulani settlements.
“At the moment, all the factions go to the markets that were closed due to the armed bandit activities while farmers go to the farms without any hindrance or threats,”.
The commissioner of police who urged residents to continue to pray for the success of the peace process and sustenance of peace in the state, cautioned politicians against politicising the effort so as to allow security agencies carry out their operations without diversion.
Some of the rescued victims told newsmen at the police command that they were tied like animals and without any shelter against rain or sun.
Some of the victims spent more than seven months in the hands of their abductors.
After their rescue, the victims were camped at the Government House, Gusau, where they received medical and psycho-social support services before they were reunited with their families.
Corps Member Serving With Channels TV Dies In Shiite, Police Clash
Unfortunately, a member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) serving with Channels Television, Precious Owolabi, is dead.
The 23-year-old died of a gunshot wound he sustained while covering the clash between the police and the Shiite protesters on Monday in Abuja.
The management and staff of Channels Television are greatly saddened by the untimely and unfortunate death of such a promising journalist.
They pray that God will grant his family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss, and avail his soul eternal rest.
Obasanjo not a democrat – Presidency
The Presidency has insinuated that former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, was not a democrat, following his latest letter to President Muhammadu Buhari on the state of the nation.
Obasanjo, in his latest letter had cautioned Buhari on the need for drastic action to tackle insecurity if the nation must remain a united one.
The former president also called for a gathering of various ethnic groups in the country to deliberate on how to live peacefully with one another.
Reacting, the senior special assistant to President Buhari on media and publicity, Garba Shehu said those aggrieved with the present structure of the nation should approach the National Assembly.
Featuring on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, he said: “To call for a national conference when there is a sitting Parliament in place, whoever is making that call is not a democrat.”
Shehu also insisted that the government in which he serves, was on top of the security situation in the country.
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