Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, on Saturday has said that he not comfortable with the current state of Nigerian politics where bigotry, tribalism and other forms of old ideas still dominate discussions.
The Governor said the time is now to rekindle the candle of a new Nigeria as the 2023 general elections draws near.
Fayemi said this at a birthday symposium in honour of Mr. Hamzat Lawal, Chief Executive Officer, Connected Development, in Abuja.
According to him, the coming transition provides another opportunity for Nigerians to take a new day at making a new Nigeria of their dream.
He said that Nigerian citizens need to build a consensus around major issues of concerns and develop a national template for some irreducible behaviour in leadership positions.
He said this is because nation building is an unfinished business before every generation and it is always a pressing business of the day that must be done urgently.
“These challenges that affect our country today, provide us with the opportunity to take a position and take a stand and walk for the resolution of such challenges.
“Nigeria will belong to those who are prepared to stand up, stand firm and take control of their destinies as the late Senator Robert Kennedy once said, `it is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped’.
“We can all to do a bit in our little ways to cause a beautiful change that will lead us to make our country and indeed the world a better place.
“I am personally uncomfortable with the practice of our politics and our political conversation; we should have outgrown bigotry, tribalism and ethno religious biases.
“It is time to rekindle the candle of a new Nigeria and the coming transition provides another opportunity for us to take a new day at making a new Nigeria of our dream.’’
Fayemi called on citizens to love the country and imagine it as a major world power in no distant time.
According to him, leaders are made from the crucible of experience of passion and courage and the readiness to sacrifice because nothing ventured is nothing gained.
“If we trace Hamzat’s history very well from who he was and the focused dedicated and inspirational Youngman he has become, we will see he has taken strongly from this lessons.
“He is the founder of Follow the Money, a civic tech advocacy platform, that has helped in tracking government expenditure and service delivery.’’
Fayemi said that Hamzat is a major voice in the sustainable development goals action movement for young people and emerging leaders.
He said that some lessons to take away from Hamzat’s story include that for one to succeed, one needs to imbibe certain virtues in life and that is one of the most important things youths often take for granted.
Fayemi therefore urged youths to value knowledge because without it they would not develop the right intellect, experience and skill set that to help them prepare for a functional future.
He said that the pursuit of knowledge would liberate them from fears, biases and limitations.
“This is the kind of education that has helped Hamzat. We also need to develop skills that prepare us for selfless leadership through volunteerism, community engagement and mobilisation for collective causes.‘’
Fayemi urged youths to value competence, courage, generosity of spirit, a sense of giving than receiving, being solution providers than complainants, perseverance and delayed gratification to succeed.
Also speaking at the event, Founder of Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC, Atedo Peterside, eulogised Hamzat as a person of integrity who had achieved a lot and worked hard to build a great reputation.
Peterside said he shared similarities with Hamzat, when he founded the bank 33 years ago as a youth, adding that older experts were skeptical to join the bank so those who joined him then in 1989 were younger than him and were ready to take a risk that the older and more experienced personnel were not willing to take.
“However, after five years of success stories of the bank, the older people started applying and we employed them and last February the bank was 33 years.
“Youths should know their weaknesses and strengths, work on their weaknesses by engaging those that can cover that area of weakness and also to build on the strength.’’
Peterside urged youths not to abandon good principles in their pursuit of achievement but to imbibe the virtues of integrity, shared vision, team work, and meritocracy, adding that “they should also be bold to be truthful to earn trust of the people, especially those they work with.’’
He urged Nigerian youths to shun sentiments and cooperate with each other across the board to achieve successes in their endeavours.
The celebrant, Hamzat lawal, CEO CODE and Founder of Follow the Money, has been working in the civic space, saying that he impacted lives and built people’s capacity the same way he was influenced by Ewa Ileri.
Hamzat therefore launched a mentorship initiative called the Ewa Illeri Leadership School, adding that every year, he would select 20 Young people to go to Ebonyi for learning.
He said that as he clocked 35, he would use the new face of his life to contribute his quota to change Nigeria through politics, adding that Nigeria is where it is today because youth allowed it for far too long.
He added that Nigerians have been agonising and complaining on Twitter, Facebook and so on but there is now a renewed opportunity and hope for young people to take their place in Nigeria’s political history.
He said that a political movement called the Green Nigerian Movement has been launched to mobilise youths, persons with disabilities in the 774 local government areas to build alliances to change the political narrative.
“Today we must agree that we will play politics with empathy. We’ll play politics with ideology. We’ll play politics with value
“I think that ‘the saying that politics is dirty’ should be an old order. If we choose to remain on the sidelines, then we should not complain. I, Hamza Lawal, from today would play partisan politics.
“With the Green Nigerian Movement, we have committed that we will mobilise 40 million people, we cannot make change if we don’t change the dynamics of how things are done.’’
Hamzat therefore called on Nigerians to stop agonising, to join him to consolidate, mobilise and educate people at the grassroots to understand the powers that they hold in order to decide the next president of Nigeria.