Dr Kayode Fayemi, the Ekiti State Governor, southwest Nigeria and the founder of the prestigious Afe Babalola University Ado Ekiti, (ABUAD), Aare Afe Babalola called for a greater commitment from the citizens in sustaining peace and unity of the country.
The duo made the submission in Ado Ekiti on Friday, September 3 at a dinner organized in honour of members of the Alumni Association of the 3rd Regular Course of the Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA) led by the former Senate President David Mark.
The NDA 3rd Regular Course alumni members including former military Governors Tunde Ogbeha, Col Raji Rasaki were in the State for the Annual General Meeting of the association.
Both Fayemi and Babalola spoke separately after their induction as honorary members of the Alumni Association. They agreed on the need for a new constitution that would strengthen the bond of unity, guarantee fairness and true federalism.
On his part, Dr Fayemi maintained that the unity of the country at this critical moment was worth standing for, adding that he believes in the possibility of a new and better Nigeria “if all would be committed to confronting the challenges that bedevil the country.”
According to the Governor, “When you see the contributions made by the officers of this set, you will know that in spite of the challenges, the hills that we have transverse right from amalgamation, to independence, to civil war and now to democratization, you see possibility in a new Nigeria, a better Nigeria, a Nigeria that is responsive and responsible and that is dedicated to serving the people is certainly possible and it is ahead of us.
“All we need to do is commit ourselves to it as a journey and not as a destination. And on that journey, we are going to confront difficulties but there also going to be hope in those challenges and we are going to come out triumphantly, I am confident that Nigeria will triumph at the end of the day but we must speak the truth to power.
Restating his confidence that Nigeria would scale through its current challenges, Dr Fayemi urged members of the association and leaders at different levels to be committed to building a Nigeria spoken of in the second stanza of the national anthem – where peace and justice shall reign.
He said, “What you see in ABUAD is a demonstration and reflection of the possibilities of a new Nigeria not through secessionist agitation but through commitment that this country would be restructured, would be accountable and would serve its people in the best manner.”
The Governor who lauded the retired military officers for bonding together since their admission into the NDA in 1967, through their distinguished careers and in retirement, despite their diverse socio-cultural backgrounds, said mutual understanding remains a keyword in building a united country.
Also Speaking, Aare Afe Babalola said one of the greatest challenges confronting the country was lack of discipline, stressing that indiscipline is at the root of all socio-political and economic challenges confronting the country.
“This country is on a precipice everybody knows that we must ensure that we keep this country as one, let us have a new constitution similar to the one between 60 and 66, less modification and of course true federalism.”
Mark commended Governor Fayemi for demonstrating a strong commitment to governance through infrastructural development and implementation of policy and programmes for the betterment of the citizens.
The former Senate President commended Afe Babalola for his developmental stride, conception and setting up a world-class University with huge investment in Agriculture and medicine.
One major highlight of the evening was a roll call of all members of the 3rd Regular Course of NDA with recognition for the dead among them including General Victor Malu; General Abdulkadir Adisa and General Idowu Olurin, former Sole Administrator in Ekiti State, who passed on last month.