By Chijioke Okoronkwo
Abuja, Jan. 28, 2021
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says only public-spirited men and women of goodwill bring about national transformation.
Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement, said the vice president spoke at the 1st Annual General Assembly of Catholics in Politics and Catholic Business Leaders on Friday in Abuja.
The summit, known as the AGORA Conference, has the theme: “The Advancement of the Common Good towards Justice, Unity, Structure and Development of Nigeria”.
Osinbajo said that transformational leadership, particularly in a multi-ethnic and multi-faceted country such as Nigeria, was needed across all levels of government and spheres of society.
“History teaches us that everywhere there has been a national transformation, it has been brought about by public-spirited men and women of goodwill who, inspired by their belief in a higher purpose other than their own profit, have entered the public square to champion the common good.”
The vice president said that transformational leadership, particularly in a multi-ethnic and multi-faceted country such as Nigeria, was needed across all levels of government and spheres of society
He said that such leadership was the primary focus in the pursuit of common good to ensure fairness, justice, unity and development in a nation.
“Building credible institutions of justice, the rule of law and orderly society are crucial expressions of the pursuit of the common good.”
The vice president recalled the words of His Holiness Pope John Paul II during his visit to Nigeria in Feb.,1982 in an address at the State House in Lagos.
“Only the harnessing of all the forces for the common good, in true respect of the supreme values of the spirit, will make a nation great and a happy dwelling place for its people,” he quoted the Catholic pontiff as saying.
Osinbajo said that the common good as an imperative of public policy and governance was articulated by the second chapter of the Nigerian Constitution
“The challenge of actualisng the common good is coterminous with our quest to actualise the Directive Principles and Objectives of State Policy.
“Achieving both requires transformational leadership across all levels and spheres of our society.
“The purpose of power is service, not domination; it is to uplift and empower others rather than to control or oppress. This is a model of leadership that is inseparable from our conception of the common good.
“Transformational leadership is, therefore, the pursuit of the common good. But the pursuit of the common good itself is not as easy as it sounds; this is especially so where the wounds and enmities of ethnic and religious conflicts are deep.”
He said that the common type of leadership would seek the path of relevance and popularity within their own ethnic or religious camps by seeking only the good of their own.
He said the servant-leader would serve his people by emphasising the letter and spirit of the gospel that even worst enemies were still made in the image of God.
“And the pursuit of the common good is the pursuit of the good of those who hate us and have hurt us even in the recent past.
“Transformational leadership means that we do not mourn and condemn the killing of those who belong to our own tribe or faith alone, or seek justice for ours alone, because all men are equal before God.
“And that the pain and anguish of a mother’s loss of a child, is not different from one faith or tongue to the other.”
According to him, corruption is a “cancer” as the cancer in governments anywhere is corruption.
“When public officials, be they high or low in the executive, legislature or judiciary, are toll gates for the extortion of the populace while seeking government dispensations, the common good, happy and prosperous lives for the people is impossible.”
Osinbajo also encouraged Nigerians not to despair in spite of the challenges but should have hope and belief in the promise of a great nation.
He advised that Nigerians must be willing to pay the price to achieve national greatness by actively pursuing the common good of all, regardless of tribal and religious differences.
Dignitaries at the AGORA Conference, including Governors ģof Plateau, Simon Lalong and Deputy Governor of Osun, Gboyega Alabi.
Others were Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom, Moses Ekpo and that of Edo, Philip Shaibu.
The Catholic Archbishop of Sokoto Diocese, Fr. Matthew Kukah, was represented by Rev. Fr. Raymond Aina.