Former EFCC chairman and Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, presidential aspirant, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, has carpeted old generation of politicians and wants them to remain in retirement while the new generation of politicians mount the saddle of leadership.
In a lecture, “Leadership and Integrity in the 21st Century, The Missing Link,” organized in commemoration of Justice Chukwudifu Akunne Oputa’s 86th birthday and launch of Justice Oputa Foundation, JOF, Ribadu pleaded with the erudite jurist not to come out of retirement alongside his contemporaries to join the foray as “we will assist you to accomplish the feat of nation building.”
He challenged presidential aspirants in next year’s polls to a debate where they would table issues that border on socio-economic crisis.
In an apparent reference to retired Generals Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, Muhammadu Buhari, Gusau and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, he said, “The British prime minister is 43 years old; President Barack Obama of the United States is my younger brother.
Justice Oputa, sir, don’t aspire to be president of Nigeria. A society grows when old men and women plant seed but they are not expected to reap from it. Sir, don’t go for the presidency, Charlie Boy and I will do it for you. Nuhu Ribadu is your son and I will continue to be.
“The youth have always been in the vanguard of change; the reason for this change is that we have difficulties; there is insecurity. We have poverty and there are no hospitals and schools. Above all, we want a good name for our country. That is why we are calling for this change.
“Like I said earlier, the youth, young men and women fought for this country in the 1960s and turned this country around; today, the fight is for us to overcome these challenges. The youths must answer this call as it is our responsibility to wake up and rise up to these challenges.”
In his speech, the chairman of the occasion, ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, recalled the exemplary virtues of Oputa, especially his contributions to the Bench and the Oputa Panel, saying, “There is so much to be learnt from Justice Chukwudifu Oputa.”
A former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Odein Ajumogobia (SAN), described Justice Oputa as Nigeria’s Lord Denning, the great former Chief Justice of England.
Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, also at the occasion, described Oputa as a man with a lot of wisdom who taught him that governance is about laws and not about human beings.