AN ADDRESS BY
THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE.
FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA,
CHIEF ANYIM PIUS ANYIM,
AT THE SILVER JUBILEE REMEMBRANCE ANNIVERSARY OF LATE
GENERAL MURTALA RAMAT MOHAMMED
ON 13 FEBRUARY 2001,
The Chairman of the Organising Committee, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.
I feel really honoured to be a Special Guest of Honour at this occasion. This gathering of distinguished Nigerians is to honour a man personified as epitome of patriotism and absolute selfless service to our dear country, Nigeria. I am particularly delighted that this occasion is taking place at a time when the country is going through the process of democratization and needs honourable, selfless and committed men and women in our march towards sustainable democracy.
History is the best judge of human actions. When we look back, a mention of the life and times of Mohammed presents a challenge not only to his contemporaries but also serves as a constant reminder to all Nigerians, even of today, that the higher virtues of discipline, honesty and selfless service can be attained in our public lives.
General Murtala Ramat Mohammed was a man of honour, otherwise I don’t think we would have gathered here today to honour and remember him. You will agree with me that there are many of his contemporaries whose names we would not want to remember at all.
He gave all he had – talent, energy and life – to move Nigeria forward. As we mark the Silver Jubilee Remembrance Anniversary of the Great General, we grieve not just because the man died but also because his ideals, which the country needed and still needs, were prematurely and dramatically terminated.
Our consolation, however, is that the man did not die in vain. There are lessons to learn from him. The lesson of selfless service, the lesson of honesty and the lesson of commitment to national cause must be drawn from the life of General Mohammed, otherwise our gathering today would have been in vain.
The task at hand is to build a sustainable democracy; to establish and develop a system of governance where the rule of law is the order of the day and the fundamental rights of the citizens are guaranteed. This national assignment is an enormous task that demands integrity, probity, accountability and commitment from every Nigerian in every strata of the polity. Government is not different from the people. We are all stakeholders in the Nigerian corporate entity. The contribution of every Nigerian is, therefore, needed.
That is the essence of democracy. There is little doubt that our past leaders had embarked on democratic governance, but how faithfully or otherwise they have executed their proposal is a subject for debate. It then behoves us to eschew self, tribe and religion and pursue consciously the legitimate steps towards nation building.
I have said on different occasions that one major step toward democratization is the harmonisation of the various components of the superstructure. The efficiency of the machinery of governance is dependent on the relationship among the constituent parts. When we give our individual best and harmonise it with the collective efforts towards one cause, then we would be better adapted to advance the democratization process.
Therefore, ladies and gentlemen, as we remember our fallen hero, General Murtala Ramat Mohammed, today, let us re-examine ourselves, our conscience and our motives in all we do, and then ask: how do we want Nigerians to judge us tomorrow? There is a noble job to be done which requires the collective efforts of all of us to move Nigeria forward. Until that is done, our heroes, past and present, may have laboured in vain.
I sincerely thank the Organising Committee of this historic occasion, my colleagues, distinguished guests and members of the public for making out time to come and give honour to whom honour is due.
May God bless you all.
SENATOR ANYIM PIUS ANYIM
PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE,
FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA.