Vice President Kashim Shettima has urged political office holders to put the interest, unity and progress of the nation above personal and parochial gains.
Shettima spoke at a reception Friday to celebrate the appointment and accomplishments of Sen. George Akume, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
The reception was organised by North-Central People’s Forum supported by governors from the zone.
Shettima urged present and aspiring political office holders to emulate the Akume’s virtues as a politician and a statesman.
The Vice President, who paid glowing tributes to the SGF in a message titled ‘a life of honour’, described Akume as “an idea, a man of honour, a beacon of unity, loyalty and integrity in our nation.
“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,” said the Vice President.
He also eulogized the virtues that have endeared the SGF to so many across political and ethnic lines.
His words: “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.
“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.”
Shettima described Akume “as 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,” said the Vice President even as he underscored the significance of character for aspiring political office holders.
Shettima said: “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, Sen. Akume is both a model and a source of inspiration for all those who seek to understand the importance of cooperation in public service.”
Shettima said what truly sets Akume apart was 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 are former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon; Senate President, Godswill Akpabio; Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila and Deputy Speaker of House of Reps. Ben Kalu.
Also present were Senate Leader, Bamidele Opeyemi; Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State; Gov. Hyacinth Alia of Benue; Gov. Mohammed Bago of Niger; Gov. Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau and Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi.
Also in attendance were Gov. Ademola Adeleke of Osun; Gov. Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara; former Governors Simon Lalong and Rochas Okorocha; North-Central elders; traditional and religious leaders and Ministers-designate, amongs others.