Besides, he urged the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to learn from its defeat at polls and reinvent itself to provide a robust opposition in the country.
Speaking at the second University of Ibadan Alumni Association National Public Lecture titled “Good Governance as a Catalyst for Development: The Delta State Experience”, Governor Uduaghan said that “the leadership of Nigeria must collectively fashion a new value system. This is because it is the responsibility of leaders to mobilise the people towards effecting the necessary changes in attitude.”
“It is the leaders’ duty to impart nationalism and patriotism in the people. The leaders have the sacred task of ensuring that there is sincere popular participation in conducting public affairs, rather than indifference, cynicism and apathy,” adding: “I believe that the key to unlocking the great potentials of Nigeria is to increase popular participation. The people must be involved.”
He called on the ruling class to take the developmental yearnings of Nigerians as expressed in the last general elections seriously, observing that the voting pattern of the recent general elections has thrown a challenge of unification and healing process on the ruling class especially in-coming General Buhari’s government.
“The topic we are considering today is important at this juncture in the history of our country as we transit from one government, from one ruling party to another. It is happening at a time the yearnings of Nigerians to join the league of developed states are palpable. On March 28 and April 11, the people spoke and we all heard. I think the decision of the people should not be taken lightly.”
“Continuing, he said: “The election, however, also showed deep division, perhaps more than anyone could have anticipated. It was the first time the entire North would speak with one voice, and the old Eastern region also with a voice. The North Central, contrary to traditional pattern backed the opposition party- the APC. In voting, the entire North West voted massively for General Muhammadu Buhari, the APC candidate, while those in the South East and the South-South voted generally above 90 per cent for the PDP. My interpretation is that these developments have placed a huge burden on the president-elect and his team to begin unification and healing process of the country.”
The governor opined that the PDP must learn lessons from its loss at the last general elections, dig into its reserves and provide credible opposition in the country stating “the PDP has to show that it is a party of credible leaders with robust and visionary progamme. As opposition party, the PDP has to be effective as a party and as the conscience of the nation. This is not the time to despair. This is the time for hard work. I call on all committed, knowledgeable and mature leaders to step forward to pick up the pieces. If the New Patriotic Party and National Democratic Congress could do it in Ghana, the PDP could yet bounce back. It has the resources to do so. We may have lost the election but let us not lose the lesson of the defeat.”
Dr. Uduaghan attributed the fast pace of development and ethnic harmony in the Delta State to good governance and inclusiveness of all ethnic groups in project allocation, development and appointment.
He opined that the development of investment attracting infrastructure, the diversification of the economy, transparency and accountability in the management of resources and fair and equitable distribution of political appointments have made Delta State to tower above its peers in peaceful coexistence and development.
The governor who said that the state Independent Power Plant Project would be privatized in line with the Federal Government’s privatisation of the power sector disclosed that pitfalls noticed in the operations of the state Oil Producing Areas Development Commission [DESOPADEC] prompted government reforms of the commission adding that a bill to this effect has been sent to the state House of Assembly.
Dr. Uduaghan appealed to the incoming administration to build on the foundation he has laid in weaning the state revenue base from oil, expressing pride that he achieved great political inclusiveness when Delta North Senatorial District produced the next governor without rancour and bitterness.
The Governor who was conferred with honorary membership of the Alumni Association pledged support to the Alumni Association in their developmental efforts in the university.
Dr. Kemi Emina, National President, University of Ibadan Alumni Association said that the Lecture Series highlighted developmental issues and how such issues could be resolved for the benefits of Nigerians.
Chairman of the occasion and Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Professor Isaac Adewole commended Governor Uduaghan for the lecture and for putting ethnic harmony and infrastructural development in the front burner.
Meanwhile Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan has appealed to Alumni Associations to assist in the development of their universities.
Governor Uduaghan who made this call when he paid a courtesy visit on the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Professor Isaac Adewole at the weekend said that the task of funding and equipping universities has become enormous to be left in the hands of government alone adding that alumni associations should regularly identify projects they could sponsor for the benefit of the staff and students.
He commended the university’s Alumni Association for embarking on the construction of a one hundred bed post-graduate hall of residence.
The governor also commended the university management for its cordial relationship with alumni association and for promoting greenery in its campuses.
The Vice Chancellor of the university, Professor Isaac Adewole expressed appreciation to Governor Uduaghan for contributing to the development of universities and the medical profession in the country.
More photos from the UI Lecture (Courtesy Nelson Egware)