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Awka—It was, indeed, resurrection of sort for the late first President of Nigeria, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe on November 16, 2018 when the who is who in politics and governance gathered at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka for the 7th  edition of the Zik Annual Lecture series. Since the inception of the lecture series, which usually coincides with the birthday of the man regarded as the foremost Nigerian freedom fighter seven years ago, notable individuals from across the world had delivered the lectures. UNIZIK 2019: Atiku prioritises job creation, education, restructuring, others Among those that had delivered lectures at the Annual Zik Lecture in the past are former President of Ghana, Flit Lt. Jerry Rawlings, former vice president of Kenya, Mr. Raila Odinga, former vice president of Nigeria, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, president of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, former Edo State governor and current national chairman of All Progressives Congress, APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka. Apart from the former president of Tanzania, Mr. Benjamin Mkapa, who delivered this year’s lecture, other notable Nigerians that graced the occasion include the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party for the 2019 general elections, Mr. Peter Obi, Zik’s traditional ruler, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, who is the chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Senator Ben Ndii Obi, who instituted the lecture series and who has been attracting the lecturers since its inception and of course and the wife of the great Zik, Professor Uche Azikiwe. Vice Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Professor Joseph Ahaneku, who was elated at the caliber of personalities the lecture had attracted over the years, said it had provided the much cherished opportunities to recapture and ruminate on the ideals and legacies that drove Zik’s life and how they could be leveraged to build ethno religious and culturally disparate African states into vibrant nations. He said: “We, particularly those of us in Nnamdi Azikiwe University, bestowed with the great honour of bearing his name, shall not get tired of remembering, with immense pride, the inspiring role he played in building and galvanizing the bulwark against colonialism in Africa and his unrelenting efforts towards restoring the dignity of    the black man.” Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, who chaired the ceremony, said Zik,the legendary pan –Africanist, did not only move Nigeria, but also moved the world, recalling how, on October23, 1949, Azikiwe boldly at the British Peace Congress, demanded for Nigeria’s independence and denounced imperial rule in the African continent. His words: “Dr. Azikiwe never stopped speaking for Nigerians, for Africans and for black people all over the world. He was a light of the black race. In the context of the independence struggles of African nations, nationalism was the driving ideology that propelled the quest for self-determination and Azikiwe was at the forefront of that struggle for a free and prosperous Africa. “The immeasurable contributions of Zit must never be forgotten. In bringing to remembrance, his towering achievements, we also remember what we once achieved together as a nation. We thus remind ourselves what we can still do to overcome the challenges of today and the things that confound us to lift up our beloved country as Zik once did. “It is fitting, therefore, that we remember the great man of learning in this place of learning and it is fitting that we walk in his footsteps in our quest to formulate ideas and devise solutions to current challenges. We often lament these days that our politics is bereft of ideas, which is the more reason one welcomes and wholeheartedly supports this lecture in memory of a man of ideas whose example inspires us and can give rise to new idealists in our national life. As we listen to the 7th  Zik Lecture, let us meditate upon the ideals of Azikiwe, who was one of the greatest Africans of the 20th  century.” Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Mr.. Boss Mustapha observed that the Zik lecture series had proved to be a veritable platform for brainstorming on topics and issues that were germane to the development and emancipation of Nigeria and the African continent. “In his lifetime, Zik of Africa had bestridden across African continent like a colossus. His role, along with other early nationalists across the African continent, facilitated the independence of many African countries,” the SGF said. The worrisome issue of corruption in Nigeria and the African continent took the center stage at the lecture, with the guest lecturer and former president of Tanzania, Mr. Benjamin Mkapa saying that poor leadership was responsible for increasing rate of corruption. Mkapa said corruption endangered good governance in Africa and undermined individual confidence which, according to him, was caused by greed. He, however, observed that corruption was not something that could be wiped out totally in the system, adding that fight against it must genuinely start from governments. The SGF, Mustapha, said it was to tame corruption that informed the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to make fight against it one of the major thrusts of his administration. He regretted that the apparent acceptance of corrupt practices as a norm in Nigeria and indeed in Africa, had contributed immensely to the lack of development in the continent since the attainment of political independence.  According to him, besides wars, diseases, and violent militant groups, nothing had threatened states in recent times more than corruption. He said: “Everyone is a victim when some officials appropriate the commonwealth for their personal benefit and the chronic under-enforcement of anticorruption laws in many countries is responsible for this state of affairs.  In Nigeria, for example, corruption has become a recurring theme. The reason Nigeria is so poorly rated in the anticorruption index is because successive years of military rule and the civilian administrations that succeeded the military, have not been able to tackle the problem.” PDP presidential running mate, Peter Obi observed that corruption undermines development, professionalism and hard work, adding that its effect in Nigeria was monumental. “Over the years, Nigeria had had poor leadership and the unfortunate thing is that everybody is celebrating corruption, going by the way people hail those who acquire ill –gotten wealth.”

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