as Arewa House celebrates Golden Jubilee
Restructuring’s a unique nation-building opportunity -El-Rufa’i
Sardauna always wanted a united North-Sultan
Nigeria can have a more perfect union-Fayemi
By Ibrahim HassanWuyo
Dignitaries from across Nigeria converged on Kaduna for the 50th Anniversary of the Arewa House on Saturday,where they discussed on issues that could further unite the country and avoid acts capable of causing instability.
Guest Speaker on the occasion and Governor of Ekiti State,Dr.Kayode Fayemi,said that avenues and platforms such as the event was an opportunity ” to interrogate the issues to determine where we are on our journey to greatness, our historical missteps, our achievements and most importantly, the imperatives towards a “more perfect union.”
Former Vice President ,Namadi Sambo who was chairman of the occasion,cautioned Nigerian youth against acts that could draw the country backward.
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The Sultan of Sokoto,Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar recalled that the late Sardauna Ahmadu Bello had always wanted the North to be united and urged political leaders to build on that foundation devoid of tribal or religious differences.
Governor Nasiru El-Rufai of Governor of Kaduna State, said the event marked the 50th anniversary of the founding of Arewa House and paid tribute to the vision of the six governors of the northern states who decided in 1970 to establish the centre that has gone on to become a research centre of international repute.
“They chose to honour the memory and service of the only Premier of the Northern Region, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Sardauna of Sokoto, by locating this centre on the grounds of his official residence. Out of the ashes of the tragic events of 1966, our illustrious predecessors have built a centre that continues to make significant contributions to nation- building and peaceful coexistence,” he said.
According to the governor, “the astuteness of Arewa House is demonstrated again in its choice of commemorative events for its 50th Anniversary. The theme of today’s lecture Unfinished Greatness: Towards a More Perfect Union in Nigeria speaks to an urgent national issue. I have no doubt that the guest lecturer, my brother, His Excellency, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, the Governor of Ekiti State, will do great justice to this important topic. It is a matter that is surely on the mind of every patriot, more so in these challenging times.”
He however,admitted that he was passionate about what constitutional framework will best enable the promise of Nigeria to manifest.
“I had the privilege of chairing the APC Committee on True Federalism with membership across the political and demographic spectrum to lay out our party’s roadmap for our nation’s greatness. In its report, that committee defined the values that, in its opinion, promote and connote True Federalism and proposed a clear roadmap for implementing the recommendations.”
“As its report show, the APC Committee on True Federalism produced clear recommendations to strengthen federalism and achieve national cohesion and healthy subnational competition.
The committee also made efforts to accelerate the implementation of its recommendations by producing draft bills that incorporate the recommendations either as proposed amendments to our Constitution or our national laws.”
” It is a matter for regret that for some reasons, the consequential action by the APC leadership to adopt and implement the report has not happened since it was submitted in January 2018. The urgency of our challenges dictates that we should move fast with a sense of purpose to remove the structural bottlenecks that hobble our country. There is very little time left to secure and begin to implement the necessary constitutional amendments. While the report of our committee was well-received, some people complained that it was coming too close to the 2019 elections, that for a report submitted in January 2018.
The point here is that our electioneering calendar presents only a narrow window for significant and consequential action to reform the political and structural framework to enable the rapid, peaceful and inclusive development of our country,” he said.
The governor recalled the main recommendations their committee made and expressed that he was “firmly convinced that restructuring our current constitutional and statutory framework on the lines proposed by our committee is a unique nation-building opportunity.”
” I am not aware of any significant constituency that is against the idea that states should exercise consequential powers, assume more responsibilities and control resources to enable them deliver better outcomes for those they govern.
This will empower State Governments to cease passing the buck to the President and the Federal Government when most of the problems our citizens face daily as a nation are, and can be solved by improved and focused governance at the states’ levels! It is time to make this sort of well-defined restructuring work, for the benefit of the peoples of this country,” he said.
“We therefore have no excuse not to seize this moment and do the heavy lifting for our country and our people. It is in our hands to make the structures, laws and constitutional arrangements in our country conducive to modern governance that will ensure our nation thrives in the 21 st century.
We must move from a century of being ‘a nation of great potentials’ to summoning a determined national effort to achieving near-developed country status. Singapore, South Korea and China did it in a generation. Rwanda, Botswana and Ethiopia in Africa are well on the way. Why can’t we do the same? Our progress is in our hands,” he said.
In his presentation entitled ‘unfinished greatness…Towards a more Perfect Union in Nigeria’ ,Dr. Kayode Fayemi,Governor, Ekiti State and Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum,
said the Arewa House was founded with clear and deliberate intentions. “One to immortalise the legacies of the great political leader and premier of the defunct Northern Nigeria, Sir Ahmadu Bello. Two, to serve as a bastion of the collective memory of the people of Northern Nigeria in particular, and Nigeria at large.”
“I salute the memory of the great Sir Ahmadu Bello, whose central political philosophy was that every Nigerian, and indeed all human beings, are created equal and that they are endowed by God with rights among which are life, liberty, equal opportunity, blessings and the legitimate pursuit of happiness.,”
” Throughout his life and career, the late Sarduana of Sokoto espoused high morality and intellectual virtues in the public sphere – virtues that we would all do well to revisit and pay more attention to these days. His choice of a motto for the North is “Work and Worship” and to underscore that, in his Christmas message to citizens in 1959, he stated that “here in Northern Nigeria we have people of many different races, tribes and religions who are knit together by common history, common interests and common ideas, the things that unite us are stronger than the things that divide us,” he said.
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