Senator Shehu Sani, a former federal lawmaker, has told President Bola Tinubu not to appoint religious and ethnic bigots in his government.
Sani advised the president to surround himself with competent hands to help bring the ‘Renewed Hope’ he promised Nigerians, “Tinubu should avoid ethnic bigots, religious jingoists, and people who want to plant the seed of strife in this country.
“If you are a president of a nation, the people you should bring close to you are people who are competent and people who are acceptable, and not people who want you to run the country on an ideology of malice and vindictiveness.”
Sani, who represented Kaduna Central Senatorial District, stated this at the Double Diamond Global Empowerment Initiative (DDGEI) anniversary lecture and award presentations held in Lagos.
In his keynote address with the theme, ‘Holistic Approach Towards Nation’s Rebirth’, Sani called on the new administration to prioritize the unity of Nigeria, even as he gave five key areas the new government must focus on.
He stressed: “The first is about our national unity. There is an urgent need to ensure that this country is reinforced and restrengthened because the spirit of our people is very low at this very time.
“This government must take the issue of national security seriously. Terrorists in the northeastern part of Nigeria; militias killing people in the north-central part of Nigeria; bandits killing people in the northwestern part of Nigeria; separatists, violence, and agitations in the southeastern part of Nigeria; kidnapping in the southwestern part of Nigeria; oil bunkering in the south-south part of Nigeria. All have to be addressed as a national security priority.
“The next is the economy of this country. In the last eight years, we have had a government with no economic vision, no economic direction, and no interest in addressing the fundamental economic problem of this country.
“Now, decisions must be taken, and a timeline should be made. Courageous and bold decisions will come with sacrifices and with pains and hardship, but it should not be forever. It should be result oriented and with a certain time frame.”
He continued, “This government should take the issue of education very seriously. Year in, year out, government after government, we have seen how strikes have crippled tertiary education in Nigeria.
“We have seen how our public secondary and primary schools have been progressively destroyed. Whoever is in a position of power today, 95 percent of them were beneficiaries of public education, who have also benefited from federal or state scholarships.
“It is wrong for anybody in government to say the government cannot fund education or they can’t afford to fund education. It is very wrong.
“Government must fund education and must make education accessible and affordable to all Nigerians. Part of the problems we face today, the security challenges, have to do with the failure of past governments to invest heavily in education.
“The next has to be the issue of agriculture and industry. If we want to develop as a country, if we’re going to join the BRICS nations we must take seriously the issue of industry, commerce, science, and technology. These are fundamental issues that we have to address.
“So, as far as I am concerned, the national anthem does not hold a country; the constitution does not hold a country. A country can only be a country and continue to remain a country if there is justice, fairness, and equity.
“Every Nigerian irrespective of where you come from, whether you are Yoruba, Hausa or are Igbo or Nupe or Igala, or Kanuri, must be treated equally and fairly.
“And there should be a political platform and space where every Nigerian can aspire to be whatever they want to be and also achieve it.
“The next thing that we have to prioritize in this country, as far as I am concerned, has to do with the empowerment of our young people.”
Speaking at the event, Dr Prince Obed Ezeonye, Convener of DDGEI, in his address, said the choice of the theme, ‘Holistic Approach Towards Nation’s Rebirth’ and guest speaker was aimed at addressing salient issues currently affecting the nation and making recommendations for the new government.
On the Diamond Award for Excellence, he said: “We recognise and honor men and women who have excelled in their various fields of endeavor and have impacted on lives both home and abroad irrespective of their tribe and religion. And we have made our selection process based on integrity and hard work.
“We have also chosen the distinguished Senator and activists to address the leadership question in Africa and help give policy direction to the new administration.
“It became necessary after the just keenly contested election that left the country more divided along ethnic and religious lines.
“It is also our desire to expand the scope of this dream, and we call for collaboration from well-meaning individuals, corporate bodies, and NGOs to partner with us in reaching out to Nigerians.”
The event brought together notable Nigerians, Businessmen and women, and top government officials. The awardees are Sir Folu Agoi; DCP Saadat Ismaila; ASP JohnbullOsarenkhoe, and Rev Dr Kingsley Okoroji.
Others are Rev. Matthew Ajayi, Mr. Benjamin A. Nwaogu, Adewale Felix Ilesanmi, Mr. Sixtus Eze, and Dr. Bernard Andrew. more news