In a world where information is at our fingertips, where the truth often hides beneath layers of rhetoric and misinformation, the importance of transparency and accountability cannot be overstated. This sentiment was brought to the forefront during a recent press conference held by His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar (GCON), the former Vice President of Nigeria (1999-2007) and the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in 2023. At the heart of this conference was the scrutiny of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Certificate of Statement of Result from Chicago State University (CSU). This event, held at the prestigious Shehu Yar’Adua Centre on the 5th of October 2023, shed light on issues of national importance and echoed the values of transparency, accountability, and the pursuit of truth.
The Significance of Political Leadership and Active Citizenship
The opening lines of Atiku Abubakar’s speech emphasized the critical role of political leadership and active citizenship in nation-building. It underscored the idea that these elements are the cornerstone of a functional democracy. In a country as diverse and populous as Nigeria, leadership is not merely a position; it is a responsibility to ensure that the nation’s well-being is advanced for the benefit of all its citizens.
The fundamental principle of any democracy lies in the legitimacy of its elected leaders, and this legitimacy is derived from the constitution and the rule of law. As such, leaders bear the responsibility to uphold and protect the established legal framework governing elections and the conduct of public officeholders.
Upholding the Constitution and Electoral Credibility
One of the central themes of Atiku’s speech was the need to ensure that the ground rules of legitimate governance are upheld. The constitution of Nigeria clearly outlines the requirements for individuals seeking the highest elective office in the land. Atiku Abubakar emphasized that the process of verifying these requirements should not be plagued by delays or ambiguities. Instead, it should be conducted swiftly and transparently to establish the credibility of any certificates presented by candidates for public office.
The Quest for Truth and Accountability
Atiku Abubakar’s speech acknowledged the immense effort and dedication put forth by numerous individuals and institutions, both within Nigeria and abroad, to uncover the truth surrounding the CSU record saga. He expressed gratitude to the legal experts who played a pivotal role in providing clarity and definitive answers to questions that had lingered for nearly a quarter of a century.
The Legacy of Chief Gani Fawehinmi
In his address, Atiku paid tribute to the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi, a renowned human rights activist who had initiated the quest for transparency in this matter over two decades ago. Fawehinmi’s legacy was further vindicated by the revelations that had come to light. This served as a powerful reminder that, no matter how long falsehoods persist, the truth will ultimately prevail.
The Role of Journalism in Democracy
Former American President Thomas Jefferson once famously said, “If I had to choose between government without newspapers, and newspapers without government, I wouldn’t hesitate to choose the latter.” These words highlight the indispensable role that journalists play in maintaining vigilance and bridging gaps when other arms of government falter.
Atiku Abubakar commended David Hundeyin, an independent journalist, for his extraordinary work in investigating and exposing critical issues. He acknowledged the countless Nigerian youths and citizen journalists who persistently seek to uncover the truth, even when their voices seem drowned out. Their commitment to upholding the truth and holding leaders accountable is a testament to the enduring spirit of liberty and justice.
A Quest Beyond Personal Gain
Atiku Abubakar emphasized that the pursuit of transparency and accountability is not a personal vendetta. It is a quest for the greater good—an endeavor to enthrone truth, morality, and accountability in public affairs. He called upon all well-meaning Nigerians, leaders of thought, religious leaders, traditional leaders, community leaders, and political leaders, irrespective of party affiliations, to join this campaign. It is a call to enshrine probity, accountability, and the fundamental principles of justice and morality in the fabric of Nigerian society.
In conclusion, Atiku Abubakar’s press conference on Tinubu’s CSU record saga serves as a pivotal moment in Nigeria’s pursuit of transparency, accountability, and the upholding of democratic values. It underscores the significance of political leadership and active citizenship, the need to uphold the constitution and electoral credibility, and the enduring power of truth in the face of falsehoods.
As we reflect on this event, it is a reminder that in a democracy, the pursuit of truth and accountability is a collective responsibility. It transcends party lines and personal interests, for the betterment of the nation and its people.
In the words of Atiku Abubakar, this quest is not about one individual; it is about the enthronement of truth, morality, and accountability in our public affairs. It is a call for all Nigerians to unite in this campaign and work towards a Nigeria that stands as a beacon of justice, morality, and uprightness.
In the age of information, where the world watches closely, the pursuit of truth and accountability remains paramount. Let us all heed this call and collectively strive for a better Nigeria.