Acting President Yemi Osinbajo says Nigeria is in need of leaders with universal values like integrity, social justice, trustworthiness, equality of mankind, sense of justice and honesty as exhibited by late Amb. Isa Wali.
Osinbajo stated this on Sunday at the memorial lecture and inauguration of Isa Wali Empowerment Initiative (documentary), held at Yar’ Adua Centre, Abuja.
Wali, a Nigerian of Fulani origin, born in Kano on July 28, 1928 and died 50 years ago, was onetime Nigerian ambassador to Ghana during the first republic administration of late Tafawa Balewa.
The late outspoken diplomat and nationalist, who spent most of his time in Northern Nigeria, was known to have committed “regional suicide’’ when he was quoted in an interview as saying “Please don’t call me a Northerner, I prefer to be described as a Nigerian’’.
Osinbajo described the late Ambassador as an extra-ordinary Nigerian, a scholar, a philosopher, a fighter for social justice, a diplomat par excellence and a bridge builder. “There was something about him and it is a characteristic that is shared by a few people in our world.
Ag Pres Osinbajo
“These are people who belong to tribes, they belong to groups and they don’t necessarily represent those tribes or people and you cannot put them in any kind of box.
“Their values are universal and you can relate to those values; equality of mankind, integrity, social justice, trustworthiness, the values that are really universal and recognised by all as good values. “But underlining those values is a sense of justice.
“So, it brings me to the point that our nation is in need of those types of people. Our nation is really in need of people who stand for values that are common to all and these values are universal.
“They are values that we can all aggregate around and I have spoken about this in terms of a new tribe of Nigerians.”
According to the acting President, the nation must continue to promote these kinds of values as they are the ones that build nations and communities around the world.
He reiterated the need for all Nigerians to imbibe the virtues of trustworthiness, honesty, integrity, hard work so as to ensure speedy development of the country.
“We need to be able to have those values and emphasise that these are the values that are important.
“These are the values that build nations and build communities; trustworthiness, honesty, integrity, hard work and we must be able to find them across tribes, across faith and that I think is what our nation need at this time.
“Nigerians that believe in integrity; that believe in trustworthiness; that believe in hard work and that really is something that you can find in very many Nigerians practically everywhere you go.
“And it doesn’t depend on where they are found and it doesn’t even depend on the religion that they practice, it doesn’t at all.’’
Elder statesman and First Republic Minister of Mines and Power, Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Sule described late Wali as a fine diplomat, who performed well while serving as Nigerian ambassador in Ghana. He, however, warned against politicising the civil service, particularly the nation’s foreign affairs unit.
Sule, who is also Danmasanin Kano, also eulogised the acting president, saying that the Osinbajo’s virtues should be emulated by well meaning Nigerians.
In her remarks, Mrs Maryam Uwais, one of the daughters of late Isa Wali thanked Osinbajo and all those Nigerians and international donors that had been supporting the Isa Wali Empowerment Initiative.