Periscoping Senate President’s Verdict On Senator Opeyemi Bamidele
On Saturday, September 17, 2021, the President of the Nigeria’s Senate, Senator Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan, was garlanded with the chieftaincy title of Akorewolu Iyin by the Oluyin-In-Council, led by Oba Adeniyi Ajakaye.
The event portrayed so many things to the emerging politics in the country, especially at this time when tension is high and pulsating due to ethnic division, hatred and distrust in Nigeria. This chieftaincy title was more of a handshake across the Niger and a way to mend the cracked walls and unite Nigeria.
However, the most exhilarating aspect of the event was the accolades showered by Lawan on the senator representing Ekiti Central Senatorial district and an indigene of Iyin Ekiti, Opeyemi Bamidele, describing him as one of the most dependable and compassionate leaders he had ever met. Senator Lawan made it clear that Senator Bamidele’s constituents had not made any mistake by electing him as their representative.
Lawal said: “Senator Bamidele is a man who values integrity, hardwork, honesty and openness in dealing with people and issues. He is a reliable representative of the people. If you give him any task, you should be rest assured that he will do it well. He is a dependable ally in the Senate and I congratulate his constituents for having this worthy personality representing them.”
With this, it was clear and evident that as decadent as leadership had been in Nigeria, some leaders are still very reliable and Senator Opeyemi Bamidele is one of them. And no matter what anybody thinks, this pronouncement would still resonate while determining Ekiti leadership in future elections.
Looking at the event from a larger spectrum, Lawan at the ceremony divulged his lamentation and frustration about the most visible and seemingly invincible twin problems pummeling Nigeria, which are disunity and insecurity.
Lawan, who represents Yobe North, expressed his feelings in Iyin Ekiti, Irepodun/ Ifelodun Local government area of Ekiti State, while being garlanded with the chieftaincy title of Akorewolu of Iyin, by Oluyin-in -Council, Oba Adeniyi Ajakaiye .
Undisputably, Lawan’s elaborate and colourful honourary chieftaincy ceremony was facilitated by the senator representing Ekiti Central Senatorial District and a close ally of the Senate President, Opeyemi Bamidele, who is an illustrious indigene of the town.
Periscoping what transpired at the occasion and the emotion-ladened tone with which Senator Lawan spoke, one could decipher that he was deeply worried, just like other members of the Senate at the ceremony.
Some pundits, who have penchant for rushing into hasty conclusions on issues might read political meanings to the ceremony, because of the presence of All Progressives Congress (APC) heavyweights like Senators Opeyemi Bamidele, Basiru Ajibola, Honourabke Sola Fatoba and the deputy governor of Ekiti State, Chief Bisi Egbeyemi, among others at the occasion.
In actual fact, the happenings there vividly negated the foregoing. Bigwigs at the occasion dropped their sentiments and operated as one, which they believed could be upgraded to higher pedestal to rescue Nigeria from the dungeon.
To demonstrate that the ceremony was more of a unification agenda, rather than politics, Lawan stormed the town in company with over 30 senators, including federal lawmakers from Enugu, Senator Chuckwuka Utazi and Senator Kola Balogun from Oyo State who are both from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other top Nigerians from the corporate and traditional circles.
Having a deep retrospect of the entire scenario, one might be convinced that it was another demonstration of handshake across the Niger. It could also be perceived as one of the instruments to unify Nigeria and mend the widening gulf currently creating cleavages due to distrust caused by widespread insecurity, which had left scars of suspected ethnic cleansing and profiling.
It was a unanimous verdict by all political juggernauts across party lines and traditional rulers from South-West, South-East and northern extractions, as well as the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Farouq Yahaya, that the event represented a unifying platform for confidence and trust building, and that Nigeria could subdue all its challenges with all hands on the plough.
Lawan, who is Nigeria’s number three man, consented to the fact that the country’s challenges have become so noticeable and threatening the corporate existence of the Nigerian nation. He warned about the imminent crash of the country, if the problems are not resolved in time to save Nigeria from impending cataclysm.
As convoluted as the problems seem to be, the Senate President sounded like an incurable optimist. Lawan spoke confidently that Nigeria shall overcome and rise to global reckoning as one country that is investment-friendly, free of ethno-religious crises, political upheavals and all sorts of insecurity.
The Senate President said, with proactive actions by all ethnic nationalities and dropping of toga of ethnicity and hatred, killings, maimings kidnappings and terrorism shall be roundly routed and defeated in the country.
Making direct allusions to spiralling terrorism and kidnapping incidences across the six geopolitical zones, the top government functionary urged Nigerians to perceive security as a collective battle, rather than a sectional one. He made it clear that no part of the country can unilaterally solve the crises ravaging the whole nation, except the citizens come together in unity to face whatever challenge they have headlong.
Lawan stated that the country should return to that era of unity, oneness and greatness, when things were done without ethnic bias or bigotry; an era when the country operated religious tolerance, eschewed political bickering and embraced equity, equality, justice and fair play.
The Senate President canvassed for strong legislative and executive collaborations to be able to tackle our challenges. He said, while the legislature works hard to pass cogent bills against the scourges, the executive must also muster the political will to implement such without bias. He described this as the best way to put Nigeria on the path of greatness and full recovery.
Contrary to the position being touted by Nigerians that the federal legislature was a mere rubber-stamp and onlooker and playing no role to abate the multi-faceted crises pummeling the nation, Lawan disclosed that his colleagues have done creditably well in this regard and that he was very proud of the giant leaps and mileage they have covered to put Nigeria on the path of greatness.
The Senate President paid glowing tributes to Nigeria’s founding fathers, like Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and Sir Ahmadu Bello, for having a clear vision that Nigeria must stand united and be the best in Africa.
Besides the foregoing, Lawan revealed that those great leaders had a strong and unflagging belief that Nigeria should not only be the Africa’s giant, it should also compete globally in terms of politics, security and economic survival.
He said: “The ninth Senate has done what we need to do to make Nigeria great. Our leaders who set a vision for the country came from different constituencies, backgrounds, religious inclinations, but they had a vision that Nigeria should be best in Africa.
“So many challenges were faced, but those leaders dealt with some of them and subdued them. Other subsequent leaders also had a vision to make Nigeria a country that will be progressive and develop.
“Like our founding fathers did, we are also dealing with these challenges despite our political, ethnic and religious differences. Now, we are facing security challenges all over the country. Political, religious and traditional leaders must come together. Whether the problem is predominant in the North-West or North-East or South-West or South-East, all hands must be on the deck to resolve them.
“As a matter of urgency, we should come together as a people and deal with these challenges, most of them, if not all of them and make Nigeria a great country. No part of Nigeria can entirely face the problems facing the country and tackle them all.”
Talking about effective representation Senator Bamidele has offered in the Senate, Lawan said: “The Senate had passed a bill establishing Medical University here in Iyin Ekiti through a bill sponsored by Senator Bamidele. I will make sure I lobby President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the bill, so that the university can take off in time.”
Bamidele, spoke in similar fashion. The senator said the fact that Lawan, who is from the Sahel Savana part of Nigeria, was being honoured in Ekiti in the thick forest of South-West connotes that all Nigerians must relate seamlessly without boundaries.
Bamidele added that the country’s founding fathers could have found it so herculean to actualise indepedence for the country in 1960, if ethnic, religious, insecurity and political cards were allowed to dominate the polity.
“In the pre-independence era, our leaders didn’t play up ethnic and religious sentiments. They operated the same vision, which was to make Nigeria gains self governance for the benefit of all and sundry.
“Unless we go back to that spirit of oneness, it would be difficult for us to overcome our challenges and move on. All the major and minor ethnic groups and political parties must reflect the same vision, which is to raise the standard of living of all Nigerians through effective politics that can transform the economy,” he said.
Bamidele added that giving effective representation should also be a focal point to shore up dividends of democracy to already despondent Nigerians, so that the leaders can regain that trust from the citizens for maximum support.
Sequel to this, Bamidele told his constituents that he would continue to work hard to attract dividends of democracy to Ekiti State in a manner that would guarantee peace and good lives through job creation for the unemployed youth and offering of hope to vulnerable Nigerians.
“As an insider in the Senate and one of those chairing pivotal committees, I know that our members are committed to rescue Nigeria from this parlous state. None of us is happy about the killings and general insecurity in the land. We are all bothered and burdened by it and we are using the instrument of legislation to fight the terror groups,” he added.