Sunday, 9 May 2010

News Release: Save Nigeria Group (SNG) Mourns Yar’Adua, Asks For Transformation.

The Save Nigeria Group joins well meaning Nigerians in mourning the former President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua, who passed away on the 5th of May, 2010 in Abuja.

His death has closed a chapter in the history of Nigeria with a deeply hurt country left to mourn a man who, in spite of his debilitating health condition, left his mark in the following areas:

1. His sincerity in admitting that the election that brought him to power was flawed and setting up the UWAIS Panel to look into the problem of electoral malpractice in Nigeria. None of his predecessors who emerged in controversial polls ever admitted that the process that produced them was not transparent;

2. He made a loud statement about the rule of law when he released all the funds of Lagos State illegally withheld by his predecessor, Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo;

3. Even if the panacea was questionable, his bold move to bring down the tension in the Niger- Delta region under his direct supervision showed a man who was committed to the unity, peace and well-being of Nigerians.

It is unfortunate that a group of few opportunists took advantage of his ill-health to hijack power in the country and created deep divisions in the land in process. Quite a number of illegalities were perpetrated in his name at a time it was doubtful if he was aware of what was going on around him.

It would be unfair not to give him his place in history because of the wounds inflicted on the souls of Nigerians by those who did not even care about his health. To have taken him through all the pains he suffered in the desperate desire to make him hang on for their sake when it was most uncomfortable for him was the ultimate act of wickedness.

The Almighty has now released him from the grips of those using him for what he would not have wished done to a country he believed in. It is time to move forward with a firm commitment to build strong institutions that would make it impossible for any group to set the constitution aside and ride roughshod over Nigeria.

To kick start the process, we strongly recommend that there has to be a total restoration of the integrity of the ballot box via the reformation of the electoral process. The shenanigans of the National Assembly on this important issue must be contained. If any group thinks that this country can go through the undue stress of election manipulations again without something giving, it must be joking. It is clear that we cannot check impunity or have good governance without having leaders who are freely elected and accountable to the people. The new President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, has openly committed himself to this and he must walk his talk starting with the reconstitution of INEC.

Also, given the damage corruption has done to the polity over the years, a real war with visible casualties must begin against the biggest industry in Nigeria today - Graft. Nigeria is bleeding, the people are dying and most of our infrastructures have collapsed under the weight of corruption. The Anti-Graft agencies must be strengthened to do their work with all vigour.

It is important to restore “we the people” to the centre stage of politics in Nigeria. For a long time, “we the people” of Nigeria have been taken off the radar as all many public officials are doing is running personal agendas that do not factor the people in. There should be a complete paradigm shift because sovereignty belongs to the people.

Finally, we pray for the repose of former President Yar’Adua’s soul as we hope that the new opportunity for a fresh start will be used to the maximum advantage of the country. We also ask God to give his successor, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, the wisdom to take all the right and best decisions to promote the healing of wounds and to facilitate the emergence of a Nigeria that befits Nigerians.

Yinka Odumakin,      Salihu Lukman
       For Save Nigeria Group