A former president of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, has urged the incoming president of Nigeria, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to learn to immediately transit from the mood of contesting an election to that of readiness to build a prosperous country for all Nigerians, irrespective of ethnic, religious and political tendencies.
Kenyatta gave the charge in his keynote address while speaking at the inauguration lecture organised by the Presidential Transition Council (PTC) yesterday in Abuja.
Speaking on the topic, Deepening Democracy for Integration and Development, Kenyatta said the leadership crisis in Africa, not just Nigeria, was largely due to negative ethnicism, religious intolerance and economic greed.
According to him, while elections may divide the people, leadership must bring them together.
He also urged Tinubu to surround himself with voices that challenge his own, and to reach out to those who may feel aggrieved in order to build a stronger country together.
He said that as president, Tinubu must lead and unite all citizens, regardless of whether or not they supported him during the election process, and expressed his hope that Nigeria would emerge from this transition ready to take on the world stage.
“The contest is now over and the hard work of building a prosperous and unified Nigeria now begins. Upon assuming the office of the president, you would be wise to transcend from the tactical politics of an election and assume your role as Nigeria’s vision bearer.
“This will demand a complete overhaul of the adversarial mindset that we as politicians are conditioned to embrace during the electoral process.
“As president, you must learn very quickly to lead those who do not love you and those who love you with equal passion and commitment because you are now the father of all,” he said.
No country can survive without managing diversity – Kukah
The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, The Rev Mathew Hassan Kukah, has said that no country, business, family or organisation has a future if it does not figure out how to manage its diversity.
He said this on Saturday in Abuja at the inauguration lecture on the topic, Religious Tolerance and Inclusiveness as part of activities for Monday’s swearing in of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Senator Kashim Shettima as president and vice president respectively.
He said the country’s diversity must be harnessed for the good of the citizens.
He also challenged Nigeria’s political leaders, especially the incoming administration of Bola Tinubu to rise up to the challenge of uniting different ethnic groups and identities in the country, saying that religion, ethnicity and gender are not the problem but rather how to manage the country’s diversity.
He said Nigerians were suffering from various levels of poverty, which does not discriminate between religion, tribe and other identities.
“Right now, 133million Nigerians are suffering from various levels of multidimensional poverty. I have not put up the light and see the part where Muslims are living that they have light, while others do not.
“I have not seen the part of the country where Muslims are eating and the rest of us are not. So we must come to terms with the fact that we are not suffering because we are Christians or Muslims, but we are in a country that is malfunctioning. How to make that country work, for the rich, for the poor, for the aged, and for everybody is a challenge,” he said.
He also urged the incoming vice president, Senator Kashim Shettima to contribute to making Nigeria believable, livable and credible so that everyone can serve and build a great country.
Also speaking on the same topic, the Sultan of Sokoto and president of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, expressed gratitude to God for witnessing the seventh consecutive democratic transition of power in the country without any major hitch or crisis.
He drew the attention of the incoming administration to levels of poverty and ignorance in the land, only made worse by the rising population of Nigeria, which is estimated by the United Nations to be well over 400million by 2050 and which will make Nigeria the third largest populated country in the world after India and China.
“As political leaders, you will need not to only think of the next election, but also, and more importantly, the next generation,” the Sultan said.