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LET’S DEVELOP POLICIES THAT WILL RENEW CITIZENS’ FAITH IN NIGERIA, SAYS FAYEMI AT LECTURE IN MEMORY OF AMINU KANO

LET’S DEVELOP POLICIES THAT WILL RENEW CITIZENS’ FAITH IN NIGERIA, SAYS FAYEMI AT LECTURE IN MEMORY OF AMINU KANO

The Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has identified access to qualitative education, healthcare delivery and deliberate creation of job opportunities as urgent steps needed to restore citizens’ confidence in the Project Nigeria.

He said investment in education and job creation would help address mass poverty in the land, which according to him, is generating various discontents in insurgency, criminality, banditry and various extremisms.

The Governor made the remarks on Saturday in Kano, the Kano State capital, while delivering a lecture at the 21st Anniversary of Mambayya House in memory of the renowned nationalist, elder statesman and founder of the Northern Elements Progressives Union (NEPU), Mallam Aminu Kano.

Speaking on the topic: “DEMOCRACY, GOOD GOVERNANCE AND THE QUESTION OF NATIONAL INTEGRATION IN NIGERIA,” Dr. Fayemi also canvassed a return to politics of ideology which he premised on the need for constant flow of fresh and refreshing ideas for national rebirth and advancement.

Jigawa State Governor, Muhammad Badaru Abubakar, Director General National Orientation Agency (NOA), Dr Garba Abari, Vice Chancellor, Bayero University, kano, Prof Hafiz Abubakar are among other dignitaries at the lecture.
Dr Fayemi who pointed out that politics of ideology has been relegated to the background in the Nigerian political scene, stated that the experience and example of Mallam Aminu Kano serves as a poignant reminder to that “there once was a time in our national history when ideas drove political choice and affiliation” and that those times can still be reinvented.

The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) who paid glowing tributes to Mallam Aminu Kano as the champion of “the downtrodden, mass of peasants and the urban working poor,” urged contemporary politicians to emulate the ideals of the late politician who sacrificed his life and time for the emancipation of the poor.

According to him, Mallam Aminu Kano, who was a teacher in his lifetime believed in education as a weapon of liberation and enlightenment. He pointed out that education is a sector that requires considerable amount of attention in the quest for policies that will help turn the table of underdevelopment.

The Ekiti Governor further urged the contemporary politicians to emulate Mallam Aminu Kano’s humility, modesty, simplicity and moderation which made him one of the most accessible politicians as he lived among his people and was always ready to proffer solutions to their problems.
Offering suggestions on how some critical problems confronting the Nigerian nation can be solved, Dr. Fayemi said it was high time the ills of poverty, unemployment and lack of access to education were tackled and the evolution of a new social order which prompted empowerment of the citizenry and protection of their welfare and wellbeing which are encapsulated in the famous Sawaba Declaration of Mallam Aminu Kano.

He said: “It does not take a magician to see that we are confronted with a highly combustible cocktail of mass poverty, mass unemployment, and massive inequalities that are already generating various discontents in insurgencies, criminality, banditry, and various extremisms.

“I want to submit that taking determined and bold steps to address these social problems head on is as urgent and crucial as the energies we may be required to devote to recalibrating and updating the structures of our federal system.

“To do so meaningfully, we cannot avoid offering Nigerians a new social bargain around which we can rebuild citizenship, national identity, and the legitimacy of the State.

“Nigeria and Nigerians need a new Sawaba Declaration that will constitute our collectively-shared national manifesto of emancipation from poverty, unemployment, inequality, marginalisation, and generalised unemployment.

“Thinking through what a new social compact for Nigeria might be, we can borrow a leaf from the late Mallam Aminu Kano and resolve that as part and parcel of the bargain of being a citizen of Nigeria, we will strive to design universal social policies that will enable the generality of our people to renew their faith in the country and their government.

“Universal access to education should be accompanied by a system of universal health care. It should be underpinned with a national strategy that defines employment creation as a priority concern of public policy.

“Enhanced efforts at boosting domestic resource mobilisation will need to be accompanied by deliberate measures at redistribution designed to reduced wealth, income, gender, and inter-generational inequalities.

“Beyond these broad categories of what the new Sawaba Declaration should focus on, I would like to argue that those of us who believe that a new Nigeria is possible must get to work quickly on the comprehensive development of this social compact, one which must elevate the dignity of the human person and promote the principles of common good, solidarity, stewardship, subsidiarity in the functioning of government, active participation of the citizenry, rights and responsibilities, economic justice as well as peace and security.

“This should be the manifesto that we collectively work on to address the existential threats to the survival and thriving of the Nigerian State.

“When the generation of the late Mallam Aminu Kano was faced with what the historic Sawaba Declaration described as “the shocking state of social order”, they summoned the courage to organise themselves to proffer alternatives that they felt would allow for a social redress.

“The new Sawaba Declaration which we must produce in order to tackle the myriad of discords and discontents afflicting us today must, it seems to me, aim at nothing less than the rebuilding of the social policy anchor of the Nigerian state.

“On this occasion of the 21st anniversary of Mambayya House, we owe ourselves nothing less. We owe the memory of the late Mallam Aminu Kano nothing less. Let us rise up to the call as a people determined, in unity and a shared hope, to take a giant leap forward.”

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