The Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, has urged Nigerians to outgrow bigotry and all other forms of ethnic or religious biases.
He said with the coming 2023 generals elections, Nigerians need to strive to make the nation a better place.
Mr Fayemi spoke at #Hamzatat35 symposium in Abuja on Saturday.
The event was part of the activities organised to mark the 35th birthday anniversary of anti-corruption and social justice advocate, Hamzat Lawal.
Mr Fayemi, who was one of the keynote speakers, complained that the nation’s political space has been eaten up with bigotry, tribalism and ethno-religious biases.”
“I call on all of you to love this country and imagine it as a major world power in no distant time.
“Nation building is an unfinished business but for every generation there is always a pressing business that must be done urgently. These challenges that ail our country today provide us with the opportunity to take a position and take a stand and work 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. Like Hamzat has elected to do, we can all do our beat in our little ways to cause a beautiful change that will lead us to make our country and indeed the world a better place.”
The governor also stressed the need to build a consensus around major issues of concern and develop a national template for some irreducible behaviour in leadership positions.
“I am personally uncomfortable with the practice of our politics and our political conversations. 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 dive as to making a new Nigeria of our dreams.”
He also extolled the celebrant describing him as a dogged and purpose-driven individual – characteristics he charged the Nigerian youth to possess today.
“For one to succeed, one needs to imbibe certain virtues in life. One of the most important things which the younger generation often takes for granted but which will determine how far an individual can go in life is the set of values that define your life.
“You must value knowledge without which you cannot develop the right intellect, experience and skill set that would help to prepare you for a functional future,” he said.
Venturing into ‘politics’
Meanwhile, Mr Lawal disclosed that he would, henceforth, venture into “partisan politics” especially with the 2023 polls coming and the desire to make things better.
He informed participants that a movement – the Green Nigeria Movement – has been launched.
This movement, he said, is aimed at sensitising citizens of the 774 local governments in the country on the need to actively participate in electoral and political processes.
He also said the movement will mobilise 40 million Nigerians (or voters) for worthy candidates.
“…2023 is around the corner. I’m not sure if we’re early or late. Nigeria is where is it today because the youth have allowed it. For far long, we have been complaining on twitter, Facebook. But I believe we can make it right.
“We launched the Green Nigeria movement to mobilise women and youth in all 774 local governments. In the Green Nigeria movement We have commited to mobilise 40 million Nigerians. We will educate the people at the grassroots to realise the power that they hold.
“I, Hamzat, from today, will play partisan politics. I have power, influence, friends from around the world and I will use it.
“Nigeria cannot go down on her knees when we have people like you and I. This initiative must ensure equity and justice. And I will meet with everyone from all divide.
“Whatever decision we make and whichever candidate we endorse, will be a collective decision. Hopefully, by 2027, we will have a 35 year old man or woman as a candidate. Now is the time,” he said, adding that young people take action and change the political dynamic.
Mr Lawal, who is currently the Executive Director of Connected Development (CODE), recalled his journey as an IT personnel to a school teacher and his transition into the civil society space.
Explaining the theme of the symposium, “The man, the journey and the transition”, he said his transition this time, is that he is no longer a youth.
“My transition is that I’m no longer a youth. Don’t give me an identity that is not mine. I am transitioning and investing my time to building a world of leaders.”
When asked his major interest in politics, he said, it is “to serve the people.”
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