National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, said yesterday that Nigeria has already begun the process of re-inventing itself under President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said that after “many years of mis-governance and its myriad consequences,” the country has a fresh opportunity to reshape its future.
Tinubu spoke in Sokoto while responding on behalf of honorary doctorate degree awardees of the Usuman Dan Fodiyo University at the Joint 32nd, 33rd and 34th Convocation and 40th Anniversary of the institution.
Reviewing the polity before and since the assumption of office by President Buhari last May, the former Lagos State governor said: “We were led down a path in which bad was deemed good and good was deemed inconvenient. We were handed a way of governance in which anything goes and too much went – as if gone with the wind.
“Our present was squandered and future mortgaged. A few people took as their own what God intended to belong to all Nigerians.”
This, according to him, was not in tandem with the principle of “Conscience is an open wound, only truth can heal it” preached by the founder of the Sokoto Caliphate Usmanu Dan Fodiyo.
He added: “This was not the way of Usmanu Dan Fodio. This was not the way to build the nation we seek. It was the way to lay waste to our dreams and to jettison all the lessons that heroes such as Usmanu Dan Fodiyo and our forefathers taught us.
“Yet, human nature is such that it cannot exist for long without true and justice. For a period, darkness may descend and a lie may rule. But not forever, society needs justice and fairness as much as the body needs food and water.
“With last year’s election, the national conscience awoke. The people rejected the distorted arrangements of past governments in order to make room for a better future. They had once again found the courage that Usmanu Dan Fodiyo had bequeathed them. They had rediscovered their way and their right to pursue it.
“Today we all participate in an epic struggle. We seek to undo many years of mis-governance and its myriad consequences. The process is hard because good is always harder to achieve than evil. Creation is always more difficult than destruction. Greed is easier than greatness.
“Yet Nigeria has begun the process of turning to its better self. The government of President Buhari is cleaning out the rot of years of galloping corruption and avarice. This government is also moving to pursue policies that will spark development and bring prosperity to long oppressed Nigerians.”
But he warned that the process of re-building is not going to be a tea party.
His words: “Be reminded that this will be a battle. No battle is easy. We must be firm in our resolve to reform this nation. We must have the courage to stand fast in the times of difficulty, having faith that the rightfulness of our cause will see us through to the success of our collective efforts and yearnings.
“The truth today is that Nigeria has the greatest opportunity to get it right with a leader like Mr. Muhammadu Buhari.
“Another truth is that Nigeria and Nigerians are suffering under the yoke of corruption. The economy is based on a model no longer sustainable given the realities of today’s markets and global trends.
“There is much to fix. President Buhari is committed to fixing them. But he needs your support and patience. He cannot do it all alone. We must stand beside him or else we may be knocked down and not stand at all.
“Thus, let us be resolved to see reform and change that will make Nigeria rise as the nation it should be.”
He paid tribute to the great Islamic scholar for his “courage in the face of open danger; Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State who, he said, “represents the new hope of a new progressive political era”; and the Oba of Lagos and Chancellor of the institution, Rilwanu Akiolu, whose appointment, he said, “represents the best of Nigeria and signposts the promotion of unity, peace, harmony and better understanding.”
He expressed happiness for the honour done him and other awardees by the university and urged it to “strive to be the best and produce students who think as much of this nation as they do themselves.
“That is how this revered institution may do honour to the name it bears. This is how this institution may ensure that the ethics and principles of Usmanu Dan Fodiyo continue to have life and continue to breathe life into the progress of this nation.”
Tinubu was honoured with Doctor of Business Administration D.BA-Honoris Causa,
Also conferred with honorary doctorate degrees at the ceremony were : Sultan Abubakar (Doctor of Law-LLD- Honoris Causa) Oba Akiolu (Doctor of Law-LLD- Honoris Causa); former Defence Minister, Lt.-Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (rtd), Doctor of Science -DSC-Honoris Causa) and the Executive Director, Public Sector, First Bank Nigeria Ltd., Dauda Suleiman (Doctor of Business Administration-D.BA-Honoris Causa),
Three retired eminent public officers were conferred with Emeritus appointments.
They are Prof. Shehu Galadanchi and Prof. Mahdi Adamu, first and second Vice Chancellors of the institution, respectively, who were appointed as Vice Chancellors Emeritus.
Prof. A.T. Suleiman was appointed as Professor Emeritus.
Governors Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto); Bello Masari (Katsina); Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara); Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos) and Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi) witnessed the ceremony.
Former Cross River governor, Donald Duke; former deputy governor of Niger State, Musa Ibeto and former Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Nuhu Ribadu also graced the occasion.
The Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi and Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi led other prominent traditional rulers to the occasion.