The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, delivered a thought-provoking address at the fourth Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe Annual Award Lecture (DNAAAL) in Abuja, lamenting that Nigeria has veered off course from the vision envisioned by its founding fathers. This significant event, commemorating the 119th posthumous birthday of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the nation’s first elected President, brought together dignitaries from various corners of the country.
Represented by the Emir of Wase, Alhaji Mohammed Sambo Haruna, the Sultan of Sokoto stressed the imperative for today’s generation to delve into the annals of the nation’s history and make a concerted effort to realign the country with the principles laid down by its forebears. Despite expressing concern about the deviation from the founding vision, the Sultan of Sokoto expressed unwavering confidence in Nigeria’s potential to realize its aspirations.
In his words, “We would continue to have good people like Nnamdi Azikiwe in Nigeria. We would continue to have people that have this country at heart so that they can be celebrated the way he is being celebrated today.” Reflecting on his own generation, the Sultan urged contemporary youth to learn from the wisdom of their forefathers, emphasizing the need to revisit the foundational principles that shaped Nigeria.
“We can still achieve the Nigeria of our dreams. We have no doubt in the crop of leadership that we have in the country and the crop of intelligent Nigerians that we have. We can take Nigeria to where it is supposed to be in this world. It should be ranked as the first, the fastest, the biggest and the best country in West Africa and Africa,” added the Sultan, articulating his hope for a rejuvenated Nigeria.
He used the occasion to call upon Nigerians to retrace their steps and rebuild the country in alignment with Nnamdi Azikiwe’s vision. He stated, “It is my hope and prayer that the death of this gentleman should not go in vain. We should wake up and build Nigeria in the way Nnamdi Azikiwe wanted to see Nigeria before departing this world.”
In the wake of the 2023 general election, Chineme Onyeke, the Director General of the lecture and award, emphasized the sentiments of unity and national integration, highlighting the ongoing relevance of Dr. Azikiwe’s philosophy. Onyeke urged opposition political parties and candidates to actively collaborate with the President in fostering unity, reviving the economy, and elevating the nation to greater heights.
Serving as the keynote speaker and adding depth to the proceedings, former Niger State Governor Babangida Aliyu paid tribute to Dr. Azikiwe as a multifaceted figure, a foremost politician, knowledgeable gentleman, renowned intellectual, freedom fighter, realist, and pragmatist. Aliyu emphasized Azikiwe’s commitment to fighting for humanity and the dignity of the Black man, wherever he found himself. The comprehensive event underscored the importance of reflecting on Nigeria’s past, aligning with its foundational principles, and forging a united path forward.