Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has called on Nigerians to engage one another in discussions in order to resolve their differences and foster peace.
Osinbajo made the call on Thursday at the presentation of a memoir by the Chairman of Tanus Communications, Dr Yemi Ogunbiyi, held on Victoria Island, Lagos.
The book titled, ‘The road never forgets,’ was presented to commemorate Ogunbiyi’s 75th birthday and raise funds for the Yemi Ogunbiyi Anglican School in Sagamu, Ogun State.
Osinbajo said, “I think that by and large, for anyone who has read this book or will, you will notice that all that Dr Ogunbiyi wants to achieve in this book is to tell a story, not just of himself, but of our country. I must confess that in this book, not only does he discharge that obligation, he has also shown that he is one who is capable of telling a story without embellishments.
“A young nation lost its innocence just as the six-year-old Yemi Ogunbiyi lost his but he has become the brilliant university teacher, newspaper executive, connoisseur of wines, and collector of fine arts. So, in telling this compelling story, we are led through the nationalistic idealism of our pre-colonial days, the excitement of civil rule, the military rule, the return of civil rule and other minor contemporary events, but he engages every subject honestly, openly and frankly.
“And perhaps there is counsel there for us as a nation; let us begin to talk more to ourselves and not fight ourselves. We need full discussions on the issues that divide us and engage ourselves honestly on burning issues.”
Former Commonwealth Secretary-General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, explained that the picture of Nigeria which emerged from the book during the period pointed to a political and economic decline of the country.
He said, “From all indices, it is clear that Nigeria has politically, including stability and sense of national unity; economically, including the pace of development and pervasiveness of poverty; ethically, including the prevalent societal values; the internal security of lives and property, and the country’s standing among the committee of nations, I believe that the picture that emerges from the book is that Nigeria has largely been on the decline during the period in question, and that Nigeria needs a fresh start, new thinking and a new beginning.
“Informed by my long association with governance in the 54 Commonwealth countries, some of which are like Nigeria, my view remains that we cannot begin to successfully deal with our current serious national challenges with the governance system that we operate at present.
“With our present federal structure, the country will only continue to limp along and underperform with a looming threat of a national disaster.
“To achieve political stability and unleash the country’s potential; we need appropriate devolution of powers from the centre to more viable federating units as against the present non-viable 36 states.”
A former Governor of Ogun State, Olusegun Osoba, said, “When I went into politics, the remark I kept getting from my rivals was that, ‘Yes, Osoba was a great journalist but everywhere he went he recreated newspapers; The Herald, the Sketch and then the Daily Times, but after he left everything collapsed.’ But this is false because Yemi Ogunbiyi continued to create profitability when he succeeded me as the Managing Director of the Daily Times and I am happy that he achieved better than I did.”
Ogunbiyi, in his address, stated that he wrote his memoir as interplay of memory and history to inspire the next generation.
He said, “Our country needs a new start and in writing this memoir which I believe is an interplay of history and memory, I engender a new generation and a future country that is better structured and will guarantee a good place for our children.”
Among the dignitaries present at the event were the Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka; Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola; Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi; Governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun; Chairman emeritus of Punch Nigeria Limited, Chief Ajibola Ogunsola; former Cross Rivers State Governor, Donald Duke, and the Vice Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, Prof. Adebayo Bamire.
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