By Chijioke Okoronkwo
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, says Nigeria needs not just achievers, but men and women who are bridge builders and unifiers.
The vice president said the nation needs people who will see its ethnic diversity as a source of strength, and not as a point of difference.
Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement on Saturday in Abuja, said the vice president spoke at the turbaning ceremony of some prominent persons in Bida Emirate, Niger State.
In Bida, the Etsu Nupe and Chairman, Niger State Council of Traditional Rulers, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, in a show of goodwill and appreciation, conferred on the vice president the “Garkuwan Yamma Nupe”, which means – the Defender of Nupe Kingdom.
“I am short of words to express our gratitude to the vice president. It shows the concern you have for all Nigerians irrespective of who they are and where they come from,” Abubakar said.
The traditional ruler turbaned four prominent public officials including Musa Abdullahi, a member of the House of Representatives, who was made the Gwarzon Nupe, and another member of the lower chamber, Bako Kasimu, who became the Zarman Nupe.
Others were Engr. Muhammed Haruna, who was turbaned as the Dan Turakin Nupe – he is a member of the Niger State House of Assembly, and Dr Suleiman Sheshi, the Chairman of the Bida Local Government Council, who was given the title, Maina Nupe.
Osinbajo expressed his appreciation on the traditional ruler’s goodwill and congratulated all who were honoured at the event.
“The Etsu Nupe has wisely chosen today to celebrate excellence and selfless service.
“They have all brought competence, commitment and character to the positions of responsibility entrusted to them.
“And this is evident from all we know and what has been said about them.”
In his remarks afterwards, Osinbajo said that the conferment of the titles was a fresh call to service to the Bida community and the nation.
He restated the Federal Government’s commitment to enhancing security nationwide.
“Our country needs men and women who understand that all men and women, regardless of race and faith, deserve to be treated equally, fairly and justly.
“We will continue to work with key stakeholders and the people to effectively tackle the current insecurity challenges in order to achieve a peaceful and prosperous society.
“This we promise to do to the glory of the Almighty and for the benefit of the people who elected us into office.
“Many sons and daughters of Nupe land have risen to prominence in Nigeria in both the pre- and post-independence era, making significant contributions to national development.”
The vice president said that that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration recognised the strategic importance of Nupe-land in national development.
According to him, a few weeks ago, the Federal Executive Council approved the reconstruction of key roads in Niger State.
He said the administration understood that in order to sustainably improve the standard of living of the people, it must address the persistent socio–economic inequalities by ensuring that people are gainfully engaged in legitimate economic activity.
The vice president celebrated the culture of the Nupe people and their contributions to national development over the course of the nation’s history.
“That is why we have and will continue to prioritise agricultural growth and development. Between July and September 2021, agriculture contributed almost 30 per cent of Nigeria’s total GDP. Nupe-land, with its vast farmlands and extensive farming activities, is key in delivering this figure.
“Nupe kingdom is a land that is steeped in the splendour of tradition.
“Indeed, this occasion provides us a platform to appreciate the rich cultural heritage of the Nupe people, a proud and distinguished people with a unique history and looking around Wadata Palace here, we can see some of the vestiges of the battles, symbols of Nupe bravery and heroism.
“We are very fortunate to have one of its great sons, who had an illustrious career in the Nigerian military and rose to the rank of a General before he answered the call of service to his people, to take the seat of his forefathers as the 13th Etsu Nupe.
“His Royal Highness, Abubakar, our host today; is easily one of the most respected traditional leaders in Nigeria today,” he said.
Osinbajo was welcomed to Bida by Gov. Abubakar Bello and was also accompanied on the trip by Sen. Sani Musa (APC-Niger East). (NAN)