WELCOME ADDRESS DELIVERED BY HON. JUSTICE MUHAMMAD MUSTAPHA AKANBI AT THE FIRST YEAR ANNIVERSARY LECTURE HELD AT LADI KWALI CONFERENCE CNETRE, SHERATON HOTEL, ABUJA ON THE 7TH FEBRUARY, 2008.
I stand before you all great Nigerians and friends of Nigeria, who have come from far and near to honour us with your esteemed presence on this special occasion of the celebration of the First Year Anniversary of the Mustapha Akanbi Foundation which was inaugurated in Ilorin, the capital of Kwara State on 12th September 2006. I am indeed overwhelmed and deeply humbled by the large turn out at this occasion. I welcome each and every one of you for this great honour done to us and pray that the Almighty God, the King of kings, the Lord of all the worlds, the King of glory, the real Chief Host, to bless, guide and protect you all from all abysmal dislocations of life. Thank you for your love and affection.
By way of digression, please permit me to give a short resume of the Foundation since its inauguration. Today, the 7th day of February 2008, indeed marks yet another watershed in the gradual but steady steps, and development of the Mustapha Akanbi Foundation --- a Foundation which was set up with the missionary zeal of creating an outlet for my passionate and long cherished ambition of bequeathing to my generation and future generations of Nigerians, a rich legacy of selfless and devoted service to God and humanity. For far too long have I nursed the idea of working in concert with public spirited men and women in this country to do all what is humanly possible to make our country the greatest nation in black Africa nay the world over. My several years in public service of this country has only succeeded in convincing me all the more that it would require super human effort to make our people realise that the acquisition of money or property is not the be all and end all of every thing. For indeed as Professor Lambo of the World Health Organisation at one time opined—
“A world in which the acquisition of property
or money is the dominant motive, denies the
fulfilment of man’s being. Professor Galbraith,
the distinguished American economist, would seem
to agree. He says in his affluent society “the values
of a society totally pre-occupied with money
making are not reassuring”.
Let me however say that the main objective of our Foundation is to make meaningful contribution to the growth and development of our beloved country Nigeria. Our primary focus is to give selfless service to our people especially in the area of Education, Human Empowerment, Health, Anti-Corruption Crusade, Ethics, Judicial Responsibility, Rule of Law, Democracy and Good Governance.
Towards this end, we have been able to record some positive achievements and made significant strides in our determined effort to be part of the struggle to make Nigeria a great nation. In the last one year or so, we have been able to organize symposium, public lectures and educational programmes at our local base in Ilorin. The first symposium was on the theme—“Awakening Hope in the Nigerian project” and the second on “Participatory Democracy”. Stakeholders were brought from far and near to examine these subjects critically in the context of the nature of our democratic experiences.
Speakers were drawn from various arms of government, the academia, law enforcement agencies and the judiciary. Furthermore, a sensitisation workshop on “Prevention and Minimization of Corruption in the public service” was also held for the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital Management staff on 26th June 2007 and the 12th and 13th September 2007 respectively. Similarly on 17th August 2007, the Co-ordinator General of MAF also delivered a paper on “Anti-Corruption” at the formal inauguration of the NYSC National Anti-Corruption Volunteer Corps, Ilorin Chapter.
In the area of humanitarian services, the Mustapha Akanbi Foundation made token bursary awards to some students including some Law School students. Officials of the Foundation also visited and made donation to the following:-
- Maternity Hospital wing of the Ilorin Teaching Hospital [UITH] and donated baby food items and toiletries to the children and their mothers.
- The staff and student of the School for the Handicapped, Ilorin, Kwara State, were given exercise books, various food stuffs plus cash for the upkeep of some of their out dated school equipments.
- The Olokun Psychiatric Home, Dada, Alagbado, Okelele, Ilorin was also visited and food stuffs and cash were similarly donated.
In the area of education, the Foundation took the bold step of carrying out a workshop training programme for six pilot schools in the Ilorin metropolis under the directive of three seasoned experts in English language. The schools included Ilorin Grammar School, United Community Secondary School, Oko-Erin, Sheikh Abdulkadir College, Government Day Secondary School, Odo-Okun. The pilot scheme covered students in JSS III classes and was designed to sensitize and enhance the reading and writing culture among secondary schools students as well as improve their proficiency in the writing and speaking of English language. At the end of the course which began on 6th August 2007 and ended on 31st of August 2007, certificates of participation and identity cards were issued to all the participants who automatically became members of the newly established Foundation’s library.
No doubt, some of our benefactors who made generous donations to our coffers at the inaugural ceremony, parents of the participatory students, their teachers, friends and pressmen who witnessed the occasion were delighted with the performance of the students and commended the Foundation for its initiative.
More importantly, it is gratifying to say that work on the permanent headquarters of the Foundation at 34, Onikanga Layout, Ilorin is progressing steadily and it is hoped that by the next anniversary date AFRICAN PEOPLES HOUSE which houses MAF will sooner than later begin to witness bee-hive of activities and thus become the pulsating centre for the dissemination of techniques of whole-some human development and sustenance that can give hope and succour to all and open up new vistas for the development of our environment, our continent and the world at large.
It is our belief that to succeed in our mission of being in the vanguard of the struggle to build a great nation and to be part of the effort to correct the ills of the past, our theatre of operation must be wide, captivating, penetrating and must be all embracing. It must go beyond the dim vision and horizon of those who passionately believe that without dawning on a political toga or being a card carrying member of a political party, one cannot move the world or his society.
As true patriots and nationalist we believe that given the will, the commitment and the determination, to give selfless service, much can be achieved to make life more meaningful for others. For life indeed is a challenge and only those who accept the challenges and are prepared to make personal sacrifices can make a success of it. This is what MAF stands for; hence the decision to organize this public lecture on the Challenges of Nationhood and Good Governance at this crucial time of our history and especially after the political hara-kiri of the last few years.
Mr President, Sir, Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, this invitation to you all our honoured guests is but a clarion call for you to join us in our humble effort to make a difference in our march to progress. We believe that there has to be a new beginning, a new orientation and a determined effort on the part of each and all to put an end to the rot which has for many year plagued our country and rendered us impotent among the comity of nations. Indeed there is also the need for us to brace up ourselves, re-assess the pitiable situation of the mass of our people and adopt positive and attituditional change that can improve the quality of the life of the average Nigerian in all spheres of human endeavour, and also to help enthrone justice, equity and fairness in whatever we do.
Need I say that, I see bright vistas opening up for our people in the quest for a place under the sun. I see a glorious dawn of a new era in human history. I see vision of Nigeria being catapulted to the Olympian heights of great achievements and developments. I see our great leaders leading us to the promised land of hope and contentment.
I see our country Nigeria becoming the leading centre of great thinkers, philosophers, scientists, industrialist, humanists, scholars and administrators of standing nationally and internationally. Therefore, let us appreciate that this is the beginning of our finest moment, a moment of decision, when all hands must be on deck.
Once again, I welcome you Mr. President to this assemblage and thank you most sincerely for honouring our invitation. Being the sober and reflective SERVANT/LEADER that you are, you will, I believe in your characteristically humble but effective way, give us a message of hope which can inspire us to nobler deeds and make Nigeria the haven of all that is good and decent in nature.
We also once again welcome our scholar/diplomat guest speaker, Prince Ibrahim Agboola Gambari who has done us this great honour of coming all the way from the United States of America to speak to us. I know it has not been all that easy to spare the time, and but for the love of the fatherland, you probably would not have been here. We wish you more successes in the execution of your difficult assignment.
I thank my Lord Hon Justice M.L. Uwais for accepting to be the Chairman of today even though the notice was short. I know that he is always there for us. I thank Hon. Justice Idris Kutigi for keeping today open for this ceremony. I also thank and welcome in a deepened sense our very distinguished President of the Senate, the most Honourable Speaker of the House of Representative, Your Excellencies, My Lords, Honourable members of the National Assembly and my fellow countrymen.
My Co-ordinator General will at the appropriate time thank all of you and acknowledge publicly all those who in diverse ways have been quite supportive of us. You are most welcome to this occasion.
Happy listening. Thanks and God bless.