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His Excellency, President, C-in-C of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo GCFR,
His Excellency, Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar (rtd.) GCFR, Former Head of State, Federal Republic of Nigeria,
Members of Federal Executive Council,
Chief Justice of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,
Members of the National Assembly,
Chief Host, His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Kwara State, Dr. Abubakar  Bukola Saraki,
All Governors here present,
The Speaker, Kwara State House of Assembly,
Members of the State Executive Council,
Royal Fathers,
Chief Executives of Banks,
Security Agencies,
Country Representatives of International Organisations,
Professional Bodies,
Non-Governmental Organisations,
Eminent Personalities,
My Lords Spiritual and Temporal,
Member of the Press,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.

On behalf of the Chairman of the Mustapha Akanbi Foundation, Hon. Justice Muhammed Mustapha Akanbi CFR, members of the Board of Trustees, the Board of Advisers and Staff of MAF, I have the singular honour and privilege to welcome you all, our august guests to this epoch- making event.

We are particularly delighted to have in our midst today the crème de la crème of our society. We are not surprised, at the presence of each and every one of you. We see this as an indication of the high esteem you have for the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Hon. Justice M.M.A. Akanbi.

Permit me to congratulate you for being here to witness this inauguration despite your tight schedules. There is no doubt that Non-Governmental Organizations have a prominent role to play in our national renaissance and reformation of the country by complimenting governmental efforts in the area of education, human empowerment, good governance, enthronement of Justice, Rule of Law, Anti-graft and Judicial responsibilities.

For it is now widely acknowledged that Public/Private Sector initiative is one of the keys to sustainable human and material development. It is also common knowledge that no matter the degree of the political will, government alone cannot achieve the much desired change of reforming and transforming our society from being a body of self-serving individuals to a nation that places high premium on service to the people in general.

It is in realization of this fact, that the founding fathers of MAF, came up with the idea of setting up a Foundation that is poised to promote the quintessential virtues of honesty, integrity, transparency and accountability in all human endeavours and equally promote those virtues that will help build and sustain a great nation founded on sound ethical values and good governance.

In several countries like United States of America, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Australia, Germany, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, Foundations have made positive humanitarian, philanthropic and scientific research contributions to the growth, development and progress of these nations. Such contributions to human progress sometimes transcend national boundaries. The role of Foundations in the fight globally against poverty, deadly diseases like the scourge of HIV/AIDS virus, national disasters or wars and peace initiatives cannot be under estimated. Nigeria must borrow a leaf from these countries and to achieve the desired goal, all hands must be on deck. I repeat Government alone cannot do it. MAF cannot do it alone. All of us to a man must be involved in this great effort to improve the well-being of Nigerians in particular and humanity at large.

The theme of this Symposium “Awakening Hope in the Nigerian Project” should be of interest to us all Nigerians. Many of us Nigerians appear to have become disenchanted with the Nigerian Project. Some of us have lost hope in our ability to solve our basic socio-economic problems and in the enthronement of equity, justice and good governance. We must all rise up to the challenges of nation building and endeavour to serve our fatherland with all our heart and might collectively and individually, we must work hard to change Nigeria and give it a place of pride in the comity of Nations so that history and generations yet unborn can be proud of us too.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, let me briefly comment on the Chairman and Founder of MAF, the Hon. Justice Muhammed Mustapha Adebayo Akanbi who has done everything possible to give life to this Foundation. He has so far single-handedly financed the activities of the Foundation and placed at its disposal all his resources and wealth of experience to get the Foundation on course. Hon. Justice M.M.A. Akanbi, a retired President of the Court of Appeal and the immediate past Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) is by all available indicia a man of honour, an incorruptible judge, an intellectual, an erudite scholar, an orator per excellence, a nationalist, a patriot, a Pan- Africanist, a humanist and an acknowledged defender of the weak and the oppressed. He is a visionary leader -- a man who leads by examples rather than precepts. In recognition of these sterling qualities and meritorious service to our beloved country, he was honoured by a grateful nation with the distinguished award of the Commander of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (C.F.R.).

Fellow Nigerians, once again we are highly honoured by your esteemed presence at this ceremony. It is our sincere hope that today’s activities will strengthen our faith, raise our hopes, and inspire confidence in the Nigerian Project.

Finally, we appeal to you to support us, partner with us and join us in our determined effort to build a great nation, a nation that will be the pride of the black race and the haven of all that is good and decent in human society.
Our flyers and brochure in the folders given to you tell the rest of our story and contain all the details of our vision, mission and objectives in setting up this Foundation. Please go through them and let us have a feedback. We certainly need your support.

Thanks and God bless


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