First Republic Minister of Power and Elder Statesman, Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Sule, yesterday lamented that the present generation of leaders have betrayed Nigeria’s founding fathers.
Sule, a former Permanent Representative to the United Nations, said that if Nigeria’s founding fathers were to wake up from their graves, to see Nigeria as it is today, they would be hugely disappointed at its state of affairs.
He spoke at a one-day workshop on “Conflict Management and Resolution” held in Kano. He said the founding fathers, who had set the pace for the emergence of a great nation, would die 10 times over at the way things are today.
The octogenarian, who is also the Danmasanin Kano, spoke exhaustively against inter-ethnic distrust, inter-regional rivalry, inter- faith difference in the country, corruption in the system, unemployment and insecurity in the land.
He stated further: “We are no longer ourselves. What is happening is not in our character. The institution of family today has broken down, respect for elders and constituted authorities that used to be a cardinal principle in our society, is now at its lowest ebb, honesty has become meaningless and symptoms of revolt looms large in the horizon.
“That was not what our fathers had hoped. They had hoped and they had dreamt of and they had prayed that in 15 to 20 years after independence, Nigeria would be a truly united country, with a very strong economy, with the political clout that would enable her to lead the rest of Africa,” Maitama Sule lamented.
He decried the present hardship in the country resulting in many Nigerians living in poverty in the midst of plenty of wealth and abundant resources.
The elder statesman charged those in authority to urgently ease the bite of unemployment, cautioning that an idle mind is a devil’s workshop.
Maitama Sule insisted that there must be a change of attitude by both the leaders and the followers so as to get things right, expressing optimism that there would be better days soon.
He also harped on the need for unity and oneness of the North, while recalling that in the past, there was no tribal or religious line in the region, as everybody in the North was simply seen, identified and related to as “Yan Arewa”.
With a sense of nostalgia, he said the North, under the leadership of the Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello, respected Christians and Muslims alike, worked tirelessly for the poor, enthroned justice for all and offered exemplary leadership to the world.
He urged the North to return to the era of its first premier if they were to find answers to some of the current challenges inhibiting their progress.
The workshop, a brainchild of Arewa Citizens Action for Change, in collaboration with the Center for Crisis Prevention and Peace Advocacy, was sponsored by the United States’ Institute for Peace.