Clement Adeyi, Osogbo
National unity, cultural development as well as quality leadership took the centre stage of the eulogies and tributes showered on an advocate of the ideals, the late Nigerian nationalist, Alhaji Maitama Sule.
The occasion was the national webinar colloquium recently organised by the Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding (CBCIU), Abere-Osogbo, Osun State, in his honour to memorialise the legacies that he had set in the social-political and cultural firmament of Nigeria’s corporate existence.
The Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding is reputed for promoting the Black race and focussing on the celebration of great men and women of history.
It celebrates eminent Nigerians that have impacted positively on Nigerian history, culture and national development as well as those who have made great marks and giant strides in their life time.
At the colloquium tagged: “Maitama Sule: A National Hero and Nigerian Nationalist for All Seasons,” a couple of eminent dignitaries, including scholars, academics, politicians and historians spoke glowingly about the Kano-born legend reputed as a foremost statesman, nationalist, politician, intellectual, orator, diplomat and Dan Masanin of Kano who passed on in 2017.
Former Osun State governor and Chairman, Board of Trustees of the CBCIU, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, who went memory lane to recall Maitama’s fond message of Nigeria’s unity and greatness quoted him as saying: “I have a dream that Nigeria will soon be great. I have a dream that Nigeria will be a united country, a prosperous country that will take her proper place in the comity of nations and will lead the rest of Africa, inspire Africans all over the world. I have a dream that we will come to love one another.”
Oyinlola also described Sule as a strong advocate of national unity who stood for justice at home and abroad.
“He was a man of family value and culture who held local traditions in high esteem,” he said.
“Maitama Sule was also a strong believer in traditional values. His respect for the institutions of monarchy is without comparison. Maitama Sule used his position to protect the poor and the downtrodden and advocated at all times a peaceful coexistence among the vast majority of our people,” he added.
“He was a true Nigerian nationalist whose genuine interest and passion for the future of Nigeria can not be measured. Alhaji Maitama Sule was never tired of expressing his displeasure about the ‘rulership’ and not the leadership of the country.
Without doubt, he served Nigeria and its people selflessly.
“By celebrating Alhaji Maitama Sule, we are only reminding ourselves that we have not only a rich historical past but a past that is worth celebrating today and all times,” Oyinlola said.
The Executive Director of the CBCIU, Siyan Oyeweso, said:
“No doubt, the late Maitama Sule was a widely known figure across the length and breadth of the country and cast a very respectable personality within the international community.”
He added: “The late Maitama Sule was one of the finest diplomats Nigeria has ever produced and apart from possessing exceptional oratory prowess, delineated by sonorous voice and eloquence, he also had a reputation for being tough and is a go-getter.”
Oyeweso stressed that Sule lived an exemplary life in many ways that not only the leaders of this country but also the youth could emulate.
“Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Sule’s life and times is replete with important lessons and legacies worthy of emulation for contemporary Nigerian youths.
“His acute sense of patriotism had prompted him to take interest in Nigerian politics at a very tender age where he made significant contributions towards grassroots political mobilisation in the Northern Region.
“He was just 26 years old when he served as the chief whip of the Federal House of Representatives between 1955 and 1956 and he made his marks as an outstanding nationalist and one of the shakers and movers of politics of the colonial Nigeria.
“As a true patriot and statesman, he was undeterred but carried on with his exemplary style of leadership anchored on probity, transparency, accountability and unquenchable thirst for justice.
“He was of the view that Nigeria’s progress depended on a unified nation devoid of hate, mutual distrust and unbridled rivalry,” Oyeweso noted.
Former Secretary-General, Organization of African Trade Union Unity, Owei Lakenfa, while also eulogising Sule’s status and legacies noted: “Everything seemed right about him. He was urbane, educated, brilliant, humble, untainted by corruption scandals and had a long record of service, including being a minister of the First Republic.”
He added: “When Maitama Sule spoke, sincerity rang out like chiming church bells and many Nigerians could identify with him as a champion that would lead them towards a great Nigeria.”
The occasion was chaired by former Minister of Interior, Lt. Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau, and moderated by JAMB Registrar, Prof Is-haq Oloyede with 10 panelists making presentations.
The panelists included Dr Shuaibu Shehu Aliyu, Director, Arewa House,
Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; Dr. Ayuba Tanko Abubakar, former Secretary to Jigawa State Government and former Head of Civil Service, Jigawa State; Professor Aisha Abdul-Ismail, Director, Centre for Gender Studies, Bayero University, Kano; Professor Dahiru Yahya, Department of History, Bayero University, Kano and Professor Olukoya Ogen, immediate past provost, Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo.
Others are Ambassador Fatima Bala Abubakar, former ambassador to Botswana and chairperson, National Governing Board of NYSC; Professor Abdulkadir Adamu, Department of History, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; Dr. Bashir Kurfi, Director, Network for Justice, Kaduna; Owei Lakemfa, former Secretary-General, Organization of African Trade Union Unity and Professor Chike Okolocha of the Department of Sociology, University of Benin.