The Vice President of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo has described Late Maitama Sule has an exceptional orator.
Osinbajo pointed out this at the book launch, titled ‘The Genius Orator’ of Late Maitam Sule at International Conference Center, Abuja on Thursday.
In his tribute, he described Alhaji Maitama Sule as an exceptionally gifted orator.
He said, “his greatness was not in the gift of oratory. It was in the exceptional character that undergirded that gift.
He futher adored him, “He understood the power of rhetoric and persuasion, drama and theatre and he translated the sometimes exasperating twists, and turns of the Nigerian socio-political drama into words of rebuke and exhortation but ultimately of hope.
“In one of his often quoted statements he said: “symptoms of revolt loom large in the horizon, in short, there is meaninglessness in philosophy, insecurity in polity, chaos in politics, immorality in society, corruption in the economy, frustration in art, and lack of creativity in literature”.
“Alhaji Maitama Sule was a truly great man and we can see that in the testimonials that followed his passing, in the calibre of the friendships and relationships that he built across Nigeria, in the quality of his thinking and writing, and especially in his simplicity and humility.
Osinbajo giving an account of his meeting with him, he said Maitama recounted the story of how he conceded the presidential nomination of the NPN political party then to Alhaji Shehu Shagari.
“Any man who can walk away from the presidential nomination of a major political party truly must be exceptional, there is something different about him and truly there was something exceedingly different about Maitama Sule.
“The authors of this book deserve our commendation, for documenting his life and views in great detail. The importance of the task of recording and documenting history can never be overemphasized.
While Osinbanjo was describing ‘words’, he explained that, words are of course important, they create and destroy, they edify or humiliate, and words well-spoken can uplift, encourage, and inspire.
He explained that “Words are also the defining tool of nihilists, traitors, hate merchants, demagogues, and rascals of every kind. In the past few months, we have heard words intended to stoke conflict, to denigrate the ethnicities or faith of others, to divide a great people into several small and weaker parts.
Osinbajo reviewing the book said, “In their Prologue, the authors make a somewhat depressing observation, which I shall quote and the author himself mentioned this: “as we traversed the country and encountered the surviving political gladiators of the First Republic, we came upon the reality of a generation that had virtually passed on. We met old persons in various stages of mental and physical fitness.”
“This observation should alarm us. We must ask ourselves, who will document these important stories before the principal actors and characters pass on? I am reminded of the African proverb that tells us that when an old person dies, it is the equivalent of a library being consumed by fire. Where are the biographers and the film-makers who will record these things for posterity? Who will teach our children about the exploits of our Maitama Sules, and about the ideals of unity and integrity and service which they modelled for us? Thankfully, this book, ‘The Genius Orator’, will help ensure that one of our most important libraries is preserved for all time.