From Joe Effiong, Uyo
Akwa Ibom State Governor Mr Udom Emmanuel has cautioned Nigerians against voting for any person who has vowed to become the president of the country at all costs before their death.
The governor, who gave advice ahead of the 2023 general elections at the national conference and swearing-in of the new executive council of former deputy governors in Uyo on Tuesday, said Nigeria’s problems are surmountable with a competent leader as president in 2023.
Reflecting on the theme of the conference, “Nation Building in Challenging Times”, Emmanuel said It would be a tale of woes if, in 2023, Nigerians failed to realize that they are going through challenging times and therefore require someone who has their interest at heart, not those driven by personal interest.
“We are in challenging times, not only in Nigeria but across the globe. Countries are trying to adjust and readjust, so many things are changing overnight,” the governor stated.
“It goes beyond human comprehension, but it is also a time for the whole world to come closer to the Almighty,
“Issues confronting Nigeria are very surmountable. It would always take a leader to emerge somehow, somewhere, and things could change, and I believe in Nigeria, we know that this thing could change if, in 2023, there emerges a leader who has a love for the people, who knows what to do, an action to take, and what to actually carry out, that’s all that we need, and this situation can be remedied.
‘It would be a tale of woes if, in 2023, we don’t even know we are in challenging times as a country. We are looking for a leader, not someone who is on self-aggrandisement, not somebody that has sworn that when I come to the earth, I must be a president before I die.”
Chairman on the occasion and former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Chief Kanu Agabi, applauded the former deputy governors for coming together.
“That you can come together as you have done gives us hope. Our consolation is that good men and women like you never stop endeavouring to find solutions to the problems confronting us on every side, every day. And we shall find solutions to them. The fetters that bind us now shall be broken. Those who are deaf to the cries of the nation shall hear.
“You hold this conference at a time when corruption has permeated every department of our national life, after decades of dictatorship; the military spirit has pervaded the nation. You hold this conference at a time when our democracy is characterised by our misconception of politics as a game without growth.
“We are under the illusion that in politics, good and evil are equal, we proceed on the false assumption that politics without force or fraud cannot produce results. We aim at being strong in numbers without being strong in spirit and in truth, that cannot be right.
“You have come together, out of the realization that the tenets of our country require radical change. You appreciate that we must make ourselves the agents of that change. You appreciate that if we fail to do our duty, no one is going to do it for us.
“It is a good thing that we continue to make these efforts at helping the nation to overcome the distresses and disasters that now befall us. We must unite, and I am happy that here in this hall, you have people from the North, from the East, the West, and the South, together bonded by the fact that you are former deputy governors.
“Whether you are Fulani, Yoruba or Igbo, you have a bond and that bond has brought you together in Akwa Ibom State. That is the hope for our country.
“There will never be a time in this country where we will never have problems, we will always have problems, there will never be a time when there will be no injustice, there will always be an injustice.
There will never be a time when people will be totally and completely none violent, we will always suffer violence but that will not separate us.
“We are one people, and we are better off as we are, and my hope for this nation is that a day is coming when this nation will bring together the nations of Africa together, so we are talking about the United States of Africa. Divided, we cannot stand, united we stand,” he stated
“We are definitely having problems but we can solve them, and we have done better than other nations which came from dictatorship as we did. In 1999, we returned to civil rule, and we have survived very well since then.
“We are a good people, we are a competent nation, we are a nation of geniuses. We are very patient, very resilient, very intelligent, and very hardworking. Of course, we have a problem with leadership. It is very difficult to rule a nation like that but we can overcome even that and we proceed with hope. We are not to resort to methods of despair,” Agabi stated.
In a keynote address, Prof Audu Gambo of Karl Kumm University, Jos said politics should seek to promote the common good and not target pursuing sectional interests or goods that are diametrically opposed to the collective goods of Nigerians.
Gambo stressed the need for strategic response through effective mobilisation of the civil populace to take an active part in the task of national defence in the face of prevailing insecurity in the country.
He also advocated a strategic response to the fast-growing population of the country predicted to reach 450 million in 2050, making Nigeria the third largest population in the world.
“There should be adequate funding for education, health infrastructure and physical infrastructure to drive the process of national development. Health and education in particular are critical drivers of the human capital necessary for equitable and sustainable development,” he said.