(Being a Key Note Address Delivered at the Kano Declaration Conference of Support Groups for Prof. Yemi Osinbajo Presidency in 2023.)
My name is Sola Adeyeye. I am here to report for duty not as a Professor of Biological Sciences, nor as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I am here, just like everyone here gathered, as a member of a New Tribe, one that is totally committed to the advancement of Nigeria. It is an enormous privilege to stand here before you today; an honour to stand before “the New Tribe” at the birth of what I dare declare will go down as the most consequential event of the 2023 election season. The opportunity to be here is not one that I take for granted, as this offers me not just a rare privilege to see the future ahead of its coming, but a chance to speak at an event that heralds the dawn of a new day for Nigeria. It is a moment in history that I would not miss for anything else. This moment captures, in essence, all that I have spent my years pushing – the birth of a new Tribe that transcends all the divides that have kept Nigeria down.
History has brought our country to a defining moment. To be deaf to the moment is to miss the significance of it. To be blind to the signs of the times is to lose track, lose momentum, and lose the essence of the moment. It is always about the moment. It is about this moment. It is about today and what it portends for tomorrow. We gather here today because of what this moment is saying to us as Nigerians. He who has ears, let him hear what this moment is saying. She who is wise, let her pay attention to this moment. Let him or her, who is diligent, rise to the occasion as Nigeria gives birth to a new tribe.
Nigeria has been calling for a new tribe for over six decades. Nigeria summons us to rise over and above our differences to embrace the things that we have in common. Nigeria enjoins us to rise beyond localised tongues and tribes to become a new Tribe- THE NIGERIAN. Because I am a biological scientist, please permit me to clarify that I am liberally using the word “tribe” in a colloquial sense to refer to a subspecies, _Homo sapiens nigerianus_. A new tribe where no one is pulled down on account of differences in ethnicity or religion. The new tribe that cares for the man at the top, just as it cares for the Talakawa. This new tribe that embraces each and everyone, irrespective of tongue, because we are all one tribe, a people bound by one destiny under God.
It is instructive that it is in Kano that we are launching the birth of this new tribe. The story of Kano is the story of Nigeria, the story of overcoming odds, of defiance and resilience in spite of many darts thrown its way. The story of Kano is the story of the ancient walls that surround the old city, walls that have remained standing for centuries, despite wars and attacks. Indeed, Kano represents the indomitable spirit of Nigeria. No wonder, Kano is described by World Heritage Sites as “the most impressive monument in West Africa”.
The story of Kano is the story of Nigerians who, on the back of agriculture, commerce and industry, built a city whose growth has been wholly organic, having neither served as an administrative national capital like Lagos and Abuja nor as a regional capital like Ibadan, Enugu and Kaduna. Some say that Kano is a city, others say it is a city-state. They all affirm that Kano is a city, constantly pregnant with other cities in its womb.
With its population, history of activism, level of political awareness and peculiar political culture, it is no wonder that Kano votes have always come as a political tide to push Nigeria in the right direction, at the most critical juncture. Beyond that, the progressive and activist political culture here has positively permeated other parts of Nigeria. If the progressive tendency in Nigerian politics has the objective of putting the welfare of the Talakawa at its core, that in part, is because of the foundation laid by people like Aminu Kano, whose politics was wholly dedicated to the welfare of the masses. So, in many ways, the choice of Kano as the place to launch the new tribe is symbolic and historic. In Kano, we find the numbers, the richness of culture and resourcefulness that will serve as the raw materials for the future we so desperately desire. Kano speaks to our past, the present and our future in unique and evocative ways. It is appropriate that it is in the city of Kano that we today launch the birth of a new tribe that will herald the birth of a new Nigeria.
The journey which began for our party, the APC, in 2013 comes full circle, ten years after, in 2023. It is a new dawn beckoning upon us to make history. And the new tribe intends to do just that.
Next year, Nigerians will be summoned to make an exceptional judgment worthy of the times. The forces of history enjoin us to search carefully amongst us for a bold, brave and tireless leader with a resolve to take on challenges that may come our way. A leader with a strong vision for our nation’s future, one who has the courage to make unpopular decisions, a leader with the ability to put our times in the perspectives of history. At that supreme moment, we have to get it right. I believe we have that leader in Yẹmí Osinbajo who personifies the calm river that runs deep. A decent and honorable man both in his private and public life.
Indeed, we are faced with a number of challenges as a country, but truth be told, we have surmounted a number of them. The work of laying the foundation has taken us more time than we envisaged, but then, the fact that the critical building blocks are in place, in certain areas, is proof of progress and a sign that we are going in the right direction. We now stand at the cusp of a new birth at the most critical point in the life of our country. We are faced with the double task of deciding on which direction to go to move our country forward, and of choosing the person to lead us in that direction.
For me, it is an easy choice to make. For millions of Nigerians, given a chance, it should equally be an easy choice to make except that many are mired in pessimism that arose from wanton betrayal by governments. For the new Tribe here gathered plus millions of our cohorts all over Nigeria, our choice is clear and simple!
The moment has chosen for us a man that Providence has prepared for the task. The moment speaks to choosing a man who transcends all tribes, an embodiment of the new Tribe defined not by the cacophony of dialects but the symphony of our common humanity. The moment requires a man who is able to galvanise the ideals and ideas that will unfold the beckoning glory of a new Nigeria.
My compatriots, history is encapsulated in moments. This moment of Nigerian history, has itself chosen a man and that man is Professor Oluyemi Oluleke Osinbajo, the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Yemi Osinbajo is the man of the moment for Nigeria. He is well-grounded and adequately prepared. A tested and trusted hand, with the right temperament, the intellectual firepower, and governance ethos best suited for this moment. Yemi Osinbajo is the man for the moment. Not for his own sake, but for the sake of our country, Nigeria.
Let me confess to a fact that all of us here already know. No Nigerian, including Yemi Osinbajo, has all the answers. Professor Osinbajo’s uniqueness is the God-given capacity to ask the right questions the answers to which must come from all of us. We the people, guided by God and inspired by a leadership that has a wholesome character, yes, even in Nigeria, leadership with integrity, shall provide the answers to the problems that have beset us for far too long.
Yemi Osinbajo’s rise to prominence is not a fluke or a national infatuation but the consequence of his remarkable skills — a keen intellect, noble intentions and the wit and grace to express them in ways that have inspired millions across the country. Osinbajo has a rare gift exactly suited to the fearful times — he knows the language of reassurance and hope. Whatever Osinbajo says is carefully considered, whether in private discourse or in public fora, Osinbajo has been the voice of moderation, combining common sense and compassion on issue after issue.
Yemi Osinbajo is the man who will lead us in the right direction, with the help of God and millions of Nigerians, the new Tribe, that have been yearning for an opportunity to side-step all the forces that have been pulling us apart so that Nigeria can truly emerge as the giant it long should have been.
Our country needs a Statesman who envisions Nigeria as a self-sufficient, self-sustaining, upper-middle-tier country in the shortest possible time. Such a person must be one with tall dreams and big ideas. That is Osinbajo. Big dreams, beautiful and noble, are the kinds of stuff that propel heroes.
Yes, Nigeria needs a President with the grasp, depth, fecundity, confidence, grit, and fortitude to see beyond the frightening and seemingly intractable predilections that beset us. This moment has gifted us such a man: his name is Osinbajo.
I believe that the moment is here. I believe that the new tribe has been prepared for this moment and that you will step up, in different parts of Nigeria, as enablers of this moment.
It is a new day. It is a new dawn. May history be kind to the new tribe for the foresight in recognising this moment for what it is and rising up for the moment. May history be kind to the people of Nigeria. May history be kind to the chosen man of the moment, Yemi Osinbajo. He is a man who, at any crossroads, can be counted on to lead in the right direction.
May history be kind to us all, as we make history. May history be kind to the Federal Republic of Nigeria.