…Why I speak out for justice — Aisha Buhari
…’I support my husband’
…How restructuring can save Nigeria – Ike Nwachukwu
The daughter of President Muhammadu Buhari, Mrs Halima Buhari Sheriff, was the cynosure of all eyes as she represented her mother, the First Lady, Hajiya Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, at the Vanguard Awards 2017, held in Lagos, last night, where she received the Personality of the Year award.
At the occasion, held at Eko Hotel and Suites, Hajiya Aisha’s prepared speech focused on what “some people saw as criticism of a government I am part of.
“I need to state that my position was as a result of my sense of justice and not confrontation or disrespect. I was brought up to stand by the truth and this is how I have always been”, the First Lady said.
Governors Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Abdullahi Umar Ganduje (Kano), Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa), Darius Dickson Ishaku (Taraba) and Mohammed Abubakar (Bauchi) also glittered as they received Vanguard Governor of the Year 2017 Award.
Mr Emeka Emuwa, GMD/CEO of Union Bank of Nig Plc, and Alhaji (Dr) Muhammadu Indimi were honoured as Vanguard Banker of the Year 2017, and Vanguard Businessman of the Year 2017, respectively.
Vanguard Lifetime Achievers Award 2017 recipients were General Abdulsalami Abubakar, Prof. Grace Alele-Williams, Alabo Tonye Graham Douglas, Commodore Elitu Ukiwe, Chief Sunday Adegeye (aka King Sunny Ade), Chief Ade Ojo and Dr. Oba Otudeko.
I support my husband – Aisha
In her prepared speech, the First Lady expressed her appreciation to the management of Vanguard Media Ltd for “their unexpected award”.
“I wish to express my appreciation to the management of Vanguard Media Limited for this unexpected award, in recognition of my humanitarian efforts towards improving the health and well-being of Nigerians particularly women, children and less privileged”, she stated.
The First Lady went on: “One of the reasons adduced for honouring me was the interview I granted which some people saw as criticism of a government I am part of. I need to state that my position was a result of my sense of justice and not confrontation or disrespect. I was brought up to stand by the truth and this is how I have always been.
“As we are all aware, Nigerians elected this administration based on the trust and confidence they have in my husband. I therefore feel that we are here to serve Nigerians to the best of our ability. Let me use this opportunity to state that I support my husband in this call to service and will continue to do so.
“On this note, I hereby dedicate this award to the people of Nigeria, especially women.
Thank you sincerely for this award”.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the occasion, General Ike Nwachukwu (retd), said only restructuring can unite Nigeria, adding that devolution of powers at the centre will improve security and Nigeria’s economy.
“I join the call for the restructuring of our country, to remain united as a nation under God. We need to devolve the over-concentration of power at the centre, whilst allowing the federating units more autonomy. And just as we are seeking devolution of powers to the state governments, as federating units, from the centre, so should the state governments guarantee the autonomy of the local governments under them”, Nwachukwu said.
“With the lead the Nigerian military had taken regarding restructuring, it behoves Nigerians and our politicians to deliver on the restructuring of this country in order to have a true federation, in which no one is oppressed. I believe that it is only when we achieve this that our country will be stable, its security guaranteed and its economy thriving for the betterment of all.”
He also called for the respect of press freedom and the rule of law. He said, “It becomes absolutely imperative to protect the freedom of the press and the rule of law. The people of our country should, henceforth, be prepared to defend that freedom; as indeed, we must obey the rule of law, with all our might; if it is actually, the desire of our people that democracy should thrive and the laws of the land respected.
The retired General acknowledged Vanguard’s dogged fight for good governance, social justice while being the voice of the people, regardless of creed, colour, religion, gender or ideology. “The Nigerian media, particularly Vanguard Newspapers, at whose invitation we are here gathered today, should remain, fastidious in guaranteeing that the people are heard so that social justice be further engrained in our society. Nigerian media should continue to be the voice of the voiceless, the shield, the guard of the tormented and the canon fire of the oppressed, the deprived and the defenceless.”