This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: Jonathan, Babangida, Governors, Others Absent From Yar'Adua's Memorial Lecture

Abuja — President Goodluck Jonathan, former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida and the Governor of Katsina State, Ibrahim Shehu Shema, were among eminent Nigerians that were conspicuously absent yesterday at the first Umaru Musa Yar'Adua memorial lecture.

The lecture, which was organised by the Chemical Society of Nigeria (CSN), was held at the Yar'Adua Centre, Abuja.

The event, which started one hour behind schedule, saw the master of ceremony making passionate appeals to the few people in the hall to move forward to fill up the empty space.

While Babangida was expected to chair the occasion, Jonathan was announced as the distinguished guest of honour, while Shema was to be the chief host. But of them failed to show up for the event.

All the governors, President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives were also listed as guests of honour.

Apart from the Governor of Kwara State, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, who was also the guest lecturer, who sent his Commissioner for Education, none of the aforementioned showed up or sent representatives.

However, the Secretary to Katsina State Government (SSG), Muntari Ibrahim, said he was representing Babangida and the Shema.

Acording to him, "I am representing His Excellency, the executive governor of Katsina State, Dr. Ibrahim Shehu Shema, and General Babangida, who is our leader and former Head of State.

"His Excellency, the governor would have loved to be here in person but because of the exigencies of office he could not make it. And there must be a very good reason why General Babangida is not here in person."

He explained that chemistry remains central to the industrial transformation of any society.

He noted that the knowledge of chemistry served the late Yar'Adua well as he made judicious use of his background to dissect and proffer solutions to Nigeria's problems while alive.

In the anniversary lecture, Ahmed said the late President Yar'Adua lived a life of service to the nation.

He said: "As a nation builder, Yar'Adua sought to run an inclusive government, one which accommodated all relevant geo-political interests and prioritised equity as opposed to sectional interests.

"For example, only an ardent believer in justice, rule of law and the state of equilibrium such as Yar'Adua could have engaged Niger Delta activists who were then involved in a violent campaign for resource control, and restored peace to a region which had known none for years."

The society later conferred a post humus Fellowship Award on the late President.

While receiving the award on behalf of his late brother, Colonel Abdulaziz Musa Yar'Adua, expressed the family's gratitude to the society for the Honour done him.

While talking about the current state of affairs in Nigeria, the younger Yar'Adua said Nigerians must realise that the solution to our problem lies within.

According to him, angles will not come down from heaven to resolve our security and other challenges adding that our problems can only be solved through a collaborative effort.

Quoting from the Quran, the younger Yar'Adua, who led other family members to the event, said: "Allah says he will not change the situation of people, people will have to change the situation themselves.

"Hence, we either become (as honest) like the late President or continue to live with the challenges we are facing. We are not going to see an angel come down and deal with Boko Haram and other challenges."

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