The legendary simplicity, generosity even in poverty and all-inclusive leadership style of the late Sardaunan Sakkwato, Sir Ahmadu Bello, KBE First Premier of the Northern Region who managed despite all the pressures to resist corruption throughout his life, till he died without a house of his own and his bank account in the red, were some of the many legacies remembered and recommended to Nigeria’s current and future leaders at the maiden Sardauna Memorial Lecture held at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja.
Speaking at the maiden edition of the annual memorial lecture in memory and honor of the late Sardauna of Sokoto, representative of the Comptroller – General of Nigeria Customs and Excise, Assistant Comptroller Mainasara Ibrahim, described the late politician as “the Peoples Premier, given the many pro-people decisions he took in the course of his duty as Premier.”
Speaker after speaker at the well-attended event poured accolades, glowing tributes and expressed deep appreciation of the essence, the enigma and the mystique around the late Premier.
On the roll call, were among many others, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, Governor Edo-State, who served as Chairman of the occasion, Speaker the Federal House of Representatives Hon. (Dr.) Aminu Tambuwal, Governor Ibrahim Wada of Kogi state, Niger State ‘Chief Servant’ Bababgida Aliyu (Chairman of the Launching Committee of the Sardauna Foundation which organized the Memorial Lecture) and the Deputy Governor of Sokoto.
Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, teacher till date at the 50-year-old Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, former Foreign Affairs Minister and ex-UN Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs, who gave a well –received though critical 26-page Keynote Address, suggested that the Advisory Board of the Sardauna Foundation be opened up in respect of the Memorial Lecture.
The amazing late Prime Minister with limited (western) education but unlimited vision, whose idea it was to start Ahmadu Belo University Zaria with three million pounds sterling only it was, who once said about Nigeria, as quoted by Gambari: “The mistake of 1914 has come to stay” contrary to today’s clamour by many for the ‘mistake’ to be corrected.
And when another illustrious contemporary and political companion of his, the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Owelle of Onitsha asked the Sardauna to “let us forget our differences,” the Sardauna said, “No, let us not forget them (our differences); let us understand them.”
For Gambari the Keynote Lecturer, the main responsibility of the current leaders and citizens of Nigeria, is to find the way to resolve the differences and create national unity between now and 2014. The present Northern leaders Gambari suggested should work out the modalities for developing the North in every facet in the very way the late Sardauna had envisioned it.
He stressed the need for the grooming of successor generation of Northern leaders in the mould of those who worked closely with Sardauna, and who according to Gambari were the only ones who seem to have made any meaningful contributions to development in the North.