Acting President Yemi Osinbajo said Nigeria could only achieve enduring greatness with leaders at all levels who possess universal values and have passion for the common good.
Osinbajo who spoke in Abuja yesterday at the 50th anniversary ceremony of the death of a former high commissioner to Ghana, Ambassador Isa Wali, said the former envoy was a leader who demonstrated deep sense of justice, sought equal opportunities for men and women alike and had no bias for religion, tribe or place of birth put Nigeria above every other consideration.
He said Wali lived in the mould of Nelson Mandela of South Africa who enjoyed global appeal for his universal values as demonstrated in his nationalistic tendencies.
Ambassador Wali who was born on July 28, 1928, died in active service on February 19, 1967; a few months before General Yakubu Gowon (rtd) became Nigeria’s military head of state.
Gowon, who also spoke yesterday, said he appreciated Wali’s responses to Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah’s anti-Nigeria tendencies and was considering making Wali one of the ministers from Kano when he (Wali) died.
Also, speaking, one of Wali’s contemporaries, Alhaji Maitama Sule, said Wali was a great Nigerian who loved his country and projected its interest with admirable courage. “He went into public service not for what he could receive but for what he could give,’ he asserted, adding that it was not in the character of Nigerians to be self-seeking. “We started well, and we can go back to doing well for our country,” he said.
The Guest of Honour and Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi, said the late ambassador lived ahead of his time in view of his revolutionary ideas such as his campaign for education and freedom for women and the eradication of all forms of injustice perpetuated in the guise of culture.
Mrs Maryam Uwais, Wali’s daughter and founder of an NGO named after him, said the establishment of the NGO, Isa Wali Empowerment Initiative, had been a most satisfying experience for her as it had fulfilled her father’s ideal of improving the lives of families.