As Nigerians await Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has hinted that merit would carry more weight than Federal Character or zoning.
The Vice President spoke as he delivered the keynote address at the 10th Memorial Anniversary of Late Justice P. O. E. Bassey, held at the International Conference Center of the University of Calabar on Thursday.
With the theme of the memorial lecture; “Social Virtues and the Nigerian Renaissance”, the Vice President extolled the values of respect for merit in the country; the principles of integrity and trust as well as the need for social justice to be institutionalised.
As he puts it, “If we take government seriously, we must as Nigerians take merit before federal character.”
However, he explained that the government will not ignore Federal Character but that merit must come first during consideration.
The Memorial lecture attended by the governor of Cross River State Prof. Ben Ayade also had two guest speakers, Mr. Donald Duke, former governor of Cross River State and Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, former federal cabinet minister.
Duke in his address reiterated the essence of a strong judicial system that would define the societal values and ensure discipline where necessary. He said in the inter-workings of the arms of governments: the Executive, the legislature and the Judiciary, the Rule of Law should not be a political slogan but a norm. “the executive and the judiciary should ensure discipline and punishment where and whenever necessary”.
Dr. Oby Ezekwesili on her part spoke on the core values that enable safeguard against instabilities in a country. According to her, a government fails when it refuses to promote clear shared values which underpin the way the society should be.
She identified values such as merit, integrity, trust and hard work. Noting that we have had governments and systems that turn to often reward bad and punish good instead of rewarding good and punishing bad.
“We fail because citizens were not mobilized to embrace the core values of a society. Nigerians should arise and shape a national identity because a rallying unity of purpose begets a national vision.
-Daily Independent


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