Pro Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Professor Anya O. Anya, on Tuesday, advised President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently consider the implementation of the report of the 2014 National Conference, which was convened by former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Professor Anya made this appeal at the 2nd Memorial Lecture of the first Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, Prof. Eni Njoku, organised by Ndigbo Lagos in collaboration with the Igbo Students Union (ISU), UNILAG chapter, held at the main auditorium of UNILAG.
Delivering the lecture entitled: “Nigeria and the Future: The Challenge of National Development and National Integration in the Age of Change Political Dynamics, Democratic Pluralism and Change in the Age of Transition,” Anya said the call became necessary as the outcome of the confab is a national agenda of fundamental importance to Nigeria’s future.
Anya, who chronicled the social, economic, cultural and political history of Nigeria, however decried that corruption which is the major focus of the Buhari administration is a systemic problem, noting that the Nigerian system induces corruption and can only check it.
Also pointing that Nigeria’s major challenges are national development and national integration, the President of Ndigbo Lagos, however lamented that the nation currently lacks a pan-Nigerian leadership elite with a common vision, shared values and a generally accepted national agenda.
He said: “A broad-based leadership elite will include political leaders, thought leaders, intellectual leaders, business leaders, leaders in arts, journalism and traditional leaders. Such a leadership elite must have a codified and accepted rules of conduct and of engagement as well as agreed processes for recruitment into the leadership and conditions for exit.
“There is no serious nation that does not have such a leadership elite. Nigeria has paid a high price for the lack of such selfless and self-perpetuating leadership devoid of personal, sectional and sectarian considerations. It is such an elite that can always return us to the essence and being of the putative nation,” he said.
Anya, who said Jonathan’s confab was a near equivalent of the aborted Vision 2010 of former Head of State, Late Gen. Sani Abacha, affirmed that Nigerians were awaiting what President Buhari will do with the report.
His words: “We now have a near equivalent situation in the Report if the recent National Conference convened by former President Jonathan. Whatever may have been Jonathan’s motivation and designs for the conference, the final result certainly was beyond his expectations and designs. It is now a national agenda of fundamental importance to the future of Nigeria.
“What will President Buhari do with it? While we await what the answer to this question may be, it is important to underline an important outcome of the national conference. Nations such as Indonesia and Malaysia who faced similar challenges of national integration and economic development ameliorated the situation when they devolved power to lower levels of authority and pursued a deliberate policy of regional development and integration.
“The National Conference came to similar conclusions with regards to Nigeria and if for no other reason, I would plead wit President Buhari to consider this Report with statesmanly sense of responsibility and patriotic duty beyond the exigencies of politics in the national interest.”
Meanwhile, present at the occasion were former Military governor of Imo and Lagos States, Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu (retd.); Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State; the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic and Research), University of Lagos, Prof. Babajide Alo, who represented the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Rahamon Bello; former UNILAG Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ibidapo Obe, who represented former Interim President, Chief Ernest Shonekan; Prof. Eni Njoku (jnr); former Minister of Finance, Dr. Kalu Idika Kalu; President, Igbo Students Union (ISU), UNILAG, Okwudiri Ikwunemere among others.
Earlier, in his opening remarks, Prof. Bello, who was represented by Prof. Alo commended the university’s Igbo Students Union (ISU), for honouring UNILAG’S first Vice Chancellor, Prof. Eni Njoku with the annual lecture series.
He said: “Being our first Vice Chancellor, with all the impacts he made on the university and its immediate community, the management of UNILAG will do everything humanly possible to continue to honour him.”