Vice President Kashim Shettima has called on present and aspiring political office holders to emulate the SGF’s virtues by putting the interest, unity and progress of the nation above personal or sectional gains.
He gave the advice at a reception organised by North-Central Governors’ Forum to celebrate the appointment and accomplishments of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Sen. George Akume in Abuja Friday evening.
The Vice President, who paid glowing tributes to the SGF in a message titled ‘A life of honour’, described Sen. Akume as “an idea, a man of honour, a beacon of unity, loyalty and integrity in our nation.”
According to him, “let’s not only celebrate his appointment but also learn from his life. Sen. Akume’s political longevity is not by an accident. It is the result of his unwavering pan-Nigerian principle, reflecting his wisdom and vision of a peaceful, stable, and safe Nigeria.”
Shettima stressed the virtues that have endeared the SGF to so many across political and ethnic lines, explaining that “we are not here to celebrate an individual; we are here to praise the potency of an idea; to raise a toast to a shining beacon of unity and integrity in our great nation.”
Speaking further on the SGF’s political journey, the vice president said, “On the path that has led our honouree to this strategic position, we find woven the threads of unshaken belief in the ideals of a united Nigeria. It is this belief that has been the driving force behind his every endeavour.
“The conviction that our strength lies in our unity and diversity, that together we are stronger than the sum of our parts, has guided his steps and fuelled his determination.”
He added that Sen. Akume “is the ally you can count on with your eyes closed, and that’s the highest compliment you can receive in politics. His journey to this height exemplifies his fidelity to the pact he has signed. It’s what you do when you have agreed to uphold the values that our great nation holds dear. It’s what you do when you subscribe to the principles of justice, fairness, and equality.”
The Vice President, in a statement released on Saturday by Olusola Abiola, Director Information, Office of the Vice President, also underscored the significance of character for aspiring political office holders, noting that “there are offices for which no amount of academic and professional qualifications is sufficient to earn you. Our honoree here today occupies one such office, an office that makes you understand why our learning institutions emphasize “character” when issuing degree certificates to their graduating students.”
“Our honoree is here today because of his loyalty to a cause greater than himself. In a time of wavering political loyalties, Senator Akume is both a model and a source of inspiration for all those who seek to understand the importance of cooperation in public service.
“What truly sets our honouree apart is his belief in fostering unity across the rich tapestry of religions, ethnicities, and regions that make up our nation. In a land of diverse cultures and traditions, his examples have transcended boundaries, bridging gaps, and nurturing understanding. His commitment to building bridges between different groups and backgrounds in one of the most challenging places to do so is the reason he is not just a man but an idea,” the VP added.
Dignitaries at the event include, Former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon; Senate President, Sen. Godswill Akpabio; Chief of Staff to the President, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila; Deputy Speaker of House of Reps. Hon. Ben Kalu; Senate Leader, Sen. Bamidele Opeyemi; Governors, Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State; Hyacinth Alia of Benue State; Mohammed Bago of Niger State; Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau State; Yahaya Bello of Kogi State; Ademola Adeleke of Osun State; Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara State; former Governors Simon Lalong and Rochas Okorocha; North-Central elders; traditional and religious leaders and ministers-designate, amongst others.