Lagos – Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice-Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), on Thursday promised a transparent government, if the party was voted into power.
Osinbajo gave the pledge in Lagos at the conferment of the Gani Fawehinmi Integrity award on him by the Ikeja Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).
He was honoured alongside the late lawyer and human rights activist, Mr Bamidele Aturu, who died on July 9, 2014.
The award was part of activities marking the 11th Chief Gani Fawehinmi Annual Lecture.
The lecture is entitled, “Ethnicity, Religion, Illiteracy: Promises and Illusions of Democracy in the Struggle to Uplift the Masses from Impoverishment.’’
Osinbajo said he agreed to serve as retired Gen. Muhammadu Buhari’s running mate because of his conviction that Nigeria needed a positive change to save the future of the country.
“I make a pledge that our administration will be committed to transparency and the good of the Nigerian nation.
“I strongly believe that if we cannot do that it will be very difficult for Nigeria to get out of this `present mess’,” he said.
According to him, Nigerians are yearning for transparent leadership because a lot of things have gone wrong with country.
He said: “There is no doubt that the Nigerian people are looking for transparent leadership. This is not a contest about ethnicity or religion and it cannot be.”
Osinbajo likened running the affairs of the country to a football team where only the best persons should be picked to guarantee winning.
“What we ought to be doing if we want to win as a nation is to choose those who will represent us best, irrespective of ethnicity and religion.”
The chairman of the occasion and former Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Anthony Cardinal Okogie said Fawehinmi lived his life fighting for a better Nigeria.
He said that Fawehinmi must be “terribly worried’’ today about the political and economic atmosphere in the country.
“Gani would be saddened that at this age and time, Nigeria is still playing politics of religion and ethnicity when the primary concern should be capability,” Okogie said.
According to him, Nigerians need civic education in order to be properly informed to think and act right.
He said: “This is the time we must play politics of the best, for the best position in order to guarantee the best for our nation.
“Let only those with the fear of God and love of their neighbours rule Nigeria; only those who know what to do should sit at the helm of affairs.”
Delivering his lecture, a Muslim cleric, Dr Saheed Timehin, noted that Nigerians were among the most religious people in the world.
He said that politics should not, however, be about religion.
According to him, Christianity, Islam and African traditional religion, all promote values and social justice which have been eroded in Nigeria by politicians.
Timehin said: “As 2015 general elections draw near people are being implored again in some places of worship to vote along religious line. It is sad that Nigerians hardly learn from history.
“Rather than emphasising on good governance and service delivery, they subscribe to the same old cults of mediocrity that brought the nation to where it is at the moment.”
Earlier in his welcome address, the branch Chairman, Mr Yinka Farounbi, said Fawehinmi, was being remembered and celebrated because of his immense contributions to the legal profession.
Farounbi said the award recipients were selected after a vigorous and painstaking search as men who exemplified very high integrity. (NAN)