I was recently represented by the Vice President at the Founders. Day lecture of the University of Nigeria and I was struck by the motto of the University-“To restore the dignity of man”. That phrase had been playing in my mind especially as it represents the end result of the type of leadership my late boss, President Umaru Musa Yar’adua and I decided to give to Nigeria-Servant Leadership-but it took on a whole new meaning to me as I
watched the raw display of leadership by example displayed during the rescue of the Chilean miners.
There are immense lessons to be drawn from the patience persistence and perseverance displayed by the miners as they went through their ordeal. Their heroic comportment inspired their nation’s leadership and the general population to forget political and religious differences and come together to work as a team to resolve a problem. Like the Three Musketeers in Alexandre Dumas’ work of fiction the Chileans displayed that it was one for all and all for one.
This incidence in which the miners endured the longest underground entrapment in human history shows us in Nigeria that there is nothing impossible to a people who are capable of putting away political and religious differences aside to work together.We may not have it all or know it all but when we work together we will be able like the Chileans did through this encounter ” to restore the dignity of man”.
I also noted and ask all leaders and intending leaders to also note the presence of both the leaders of Chile and Bolivia who rolled up their sleeves and were prepared to help without any airs and attempts to play the big man. In fact it is worthy of note that though only one of the miners was of Bolivian origin the Bolivian president still considered it worthwhile to be physically present during the rescue efforts.
My dear friends and fellow Nigerians, information without transformation is only entertainment not education. Let us learn from the Chilean experience and not just be entertained by it. Nigerians have to be their brothers keeper. This should be above board because your brother is every Nigerian, not just those of the same religion, region or tribe as yourself. For instance we as Nigerians should no longer see an accident on the road side and drive past. It is inexcusable. I have made sure that the police no longer require reports before hospitals can treat accident victims and we would soon criminalise the act of hospitals refusing such victims. Also I am communicating to all cabinet members who are driving in convoys that they have a duty to stop and offer assistance to accident victims even if they must miss or be late to their appointments. We must learn a lesson from the Chileans and that lesson starts from me.