By Chris Ochayi

ABUJA—FORMER Permanent Representatives to the United Nations, UN, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, yesterday, expressed concern at the rate hate speech, religion and ethnicity were tearing the country apart.

Ibrahim Gambari

He also narrated how former Head of State, late General Sani Abacha, released £3.2 million to fund South African’s national party, the African National Congress, ANC, in the post-apartheid era.

Professor Gambari, who spoke at a book launch and grand reception in honour of former Nigerian High Commissioner to South Africa, Ambassador Shehu Malami, on the occasion of celebration of his 80th birthday anniversary, held at the NAF Conference Centre, Abuja, said: “It is the height of their ascendancy of hate speech, exclusion as well as ethnic and religious fanatics wearing the drab of the politicians and the leaders.

“Whether religious or circular, one is forced to ask the question; where did our road turn? At what point did we begin to allow negative, unpatriotic tendencies define us?”

Who are the perpetrators and the beneficiaries of our journey on this road to nowhere? We must identify, expose and challenge them.

“Furthermore, how do we utilize and reorder our states in national integration, cohesion, security, growth or developments. These are some of the profound, thought provoking questions that the book attempted to provide answers.

“For example, he felt that it was most unfortunate that Sir Ahmadu Bello did not have the opportunity to lead this nation at the federal level or chose not to do so.

“What if he had changed his mind and succeeded in leading Nigeria.  According the archives, the Sardauna would have equally succeeded in implanting unity nationwide and bring about lasting peace and unity; and saved the agonies of tribal divisions and the political tension and all the terrible consequences which still bedevil our great country today.

‘’In looking at the military intervention years, they, after carrying out an appraisal of our historical antecedents and paint a picture of people of desperate ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds brought together within the artificially defined geographical boundaries of what emerged as the nation Nigeria.

“On those foregoing background, I wish to add that no dispassionate observer of the Nigeria social, political and economic scene would ever doubt that the country is really at a crossroad, for which we must quickly arrive at a consensus on a nationally, sustainable, enjoyable pathway to redeem it.

“It is on this basis and in this context that the present calls for restructuring are made. According to the archives, leadership is really the key to the success of the Nigerian project which he described as a quest for a prosperous and united Nigeria and the achievement of national unity.”

Prof. Gambari also explained disclosed how former Head of State, late General Sani Abacha, released £3.2 million to fund South African’s national party, the African National Congress, ANC, in the post-apartheid era.

Gambari, who is the book reviewer, revealed that the late General Abacha released the funds to ANC, following a request by the South African anti-apartheid revolutionarypolitical leader, philanthropist  and former President, Nelson Mandela.

Late Nelson Mandela served as  President of South Africa  from 1994 to 1999. He was the country’s first black head of state and the first elected  in a  fully representative  democratic election.

The book reviewer said the money which was railed through Ambassador Shehu Malami, as the then Nigerian High Commission to the country was used to fund conduct of Local Government elections in South Africa.

Nigeria played a leading role in the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa and helped to build the ANC to take leadership of the post apartheid of the country.

In his remarks, the celebrant and Sarkin Sudan Wurno, Amb. Shehu Malami, attributed underdevelopment in the north to leadership failure, adding that the north was one region that had something good but failed to realize it.

Malami, who stressed that there was currently paucity of genuine leadership in the north at the moment, added:  “’There used to be a lot of discipline in the north. There were leaders with determination to lead aright; and they command people’s confidence, because they see them doing exactly what they said they would do.

‘’For instance, Sir Ahmadu Bello, as a premier of the North, had only one police man at his door, he never required a battalion because he had nothing to fear. But can any leader do that today?

Prominent Nigerians, including former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, Sultan of Sokoto, Mohammad Sa’ad Abubakar II, Asawaju of Lagos and All Progressive Congress, APC, leader, senator Ahmed Tinubu, Esama of Benin, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion and General Theophilus Danjuma, retd, who grace the occasion poured encomiums on the celebrant, former Nigerian High Commission to South Africa, Ambassador Shehu Malami, whom they described an asset to Nigeria.

Other personalities gathered at a book launch and Grand reception in honour of the diplomat, held at the NAF Conference Centre, Abuja; include Governor Aminu Wazari Tambuwal of   Sokoto State, Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, ,Minister of Transpiration, Chief Rotimi Amaechi,   Oba Otudeko, Alhaji Mohammed Indimi, former Head of Service of the Federation, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed,   former FCT minister, General Gyado Nasco, retd, Tanko Yakasai, former Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Babangida Nguruje and former Chief of Army Staff. Lieutenant General Ishaya Bamayi.

Also at the occasion are, former Information Minister and National Secretary of All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, Mr. Labaran Maku, former governor of Kano state and Minister of Education, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, former Governor of Jigawa state, Saminu Turaki, form CEO, UBA,   Belo Osagie, former minister of Sports, Saidu Sambawa, Prof. John Dara Chairman of Zaij Bank, Alhaji Umaru Mutallab among others.

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