Osinbajo, At Northern Forum, Tasks Leaders On Selfless Service



VICE President, Yemi Osinbajo, has called on aspiring leaders in the country to strive to leave good names behind, rather than embarking on the craze for more wealth.

The Vice President gave the advice at the opening of Northern Reawakening Forum (NRF) Summit, yesterday, at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, where he praised Nigeria’s founding fathers from the North such as Sir Ahmadu Bello; Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa; Mallam Aminu Kano; J.S. Tarka and others.

According to Osibanjo: “Our history reminds us of the visionary leaders in Nigeria, who fired our imagination through their vision, diligence and selfless service, who did not live or fight to enrich themselves, they did not leave vast personal estates behind, but their names and legacies live in the hearts of the people.”

Applauding the theme of the summit, ‘Building a Safe, Secure and Economically Inclusive Northern Nigeria’, Osinbajo decried derailment from the foundations set by the fathers, which has led to challenges confronting the country. He, however, commended the present crop of Nigerian leadership that has risen to such selflessness and vision.

While expressing concern over the level of poverty in the nation, Osibanjo said, “Nigeria is a nation of 170 million people, the sixth largest producer of oil, over a hundred varieties of solid minerals and precious metals, hundreds of thousands of hectares of arable land, the largest economy in Africa, yet desperately poor.

“In the 19 Northern states of Nigeria, the human development indices are by far poorer than the rest of the country. While the Northern States occupy about 70 per cent of the landmass of the country. They also have the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the country, the lowest rate of child enrollment in schools, highest number of unemployed young people, highest levels of poverty and face the challenge of inter-ethic and inter-religious conflict including the Boko Haram terrorism.”

He recalled that the Northern Nigerian Economic Summit of 2012 was the first fora to draw attention to some of the depressing statistics about the condition of the North. Based on the conclusions of the Summit, he noted that the region had some of the largest numbers of the out-of-school figures in the world.

Despite the obvious challenges, he was optimistic that “as dismal as some of these conditions might be, it does not have to define our future or that of our children.”

Earlier, the Chairman of the Forum, Hon. Mohammed Umara Kumalia, said discussions at the Summit would help in the rehabilitation and rebuilding of the North. He also stated that the 2013 World Bank Report had shown that the North has the highest poverty index in the country, which the Forum seeks to redress.

The Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, the Governor of Borno State, said the panacea for the backwardness and poverty of the North is addressing the problem of agriculture and agro-allied industry as well as creative ventures in region.  He also noted the need for a paradigm shift from elite nature of the North to embrace the poor segment of the region.

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