By Angela Atabo
Abuja – Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Civil Society Organisations and other prominent Nigerians on Friday, paid tribute to late Director-General, Electoral Institute, Prof. Abubakar Momoh.
At the event in Abuja, tagged “Pan-Africanism and Democratic Struggle ’’, Dr Kole Shettima, Chairman of the Planning Committee, described Momoh as a pan-Africanist, who contributed to the struggles of democracy and nation-building.
Shettima said that the deceased was a model to African development and an activist in social development, who worked hard to ease the hardship of widows and orphans.
“As we pray and remember him today, we are also thinking of the future of those he left behind. This is why we are formally unveiling a solidarity Trust Fund to provide for people in need.
“The fund will also carter for the well-being of his family. So, we are appealing for the friendship and support of well-meaning Nigerians toward the success of this project,’’ he said.
Shettima urged Nigerians to share generously of their resources and avail themselves of the gallery walk depicting Momoh’s works and its continuation.
Minister of Mines and Steel, Dr Kayode Fayemi, said that Momoh began his activism and advocate for justice in the university.
He described him as “a good friend who always served humanity with his resources and time and supported national development’’.
“Till he died he calls me from time to time to tell me of our classmates who were not doing well so that we could assist them to upgrade their welfare, and he did that relentlessly.
“So, in solidarity to his passion of helping people, we need to contribute to the solidarity fund so his legacy can continue.’’
Fayemi said that Momoh had gone but that it behoved all Nigerians to reflect on his life and a take a cue from him to make the society a better place for all.
INEC chairman said Momoh was a man of integrity who was passionate and hard working.
Yakubu said that the deceased had done his part and gone “and it is now up to us to play our part in making humanity better.
“I worked with him as the DG of the Institute and he was a diligent man known for his selflessness, timely support and willingness to sacrifice for people.
“Momoh has done his part and gone, so we need to do our part to address the numerous challenges that our country and the world are facing.
On his part, Dr Otive Igbuzor, Executive Director of African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development, said that Nigerian democracy would have been worse without people like Momoh.
Igbuzor said that the challenge was now for future generations to produce more Momohs, who would show commitment to the plight of other Nigerians.
“I want to remind Nigerians of what Plato said that `if you do not participate in politics of governance, you will be ruled by infidels.’
“Nigerians should know that everywhere in the world, politicians will not on their own do good for the citizens; citizens must create awareness and become conscious of their own rights.’’
He said that was the only way to insist and make politicians responsible and that the people could get the benefits of good governance.
Igbuzor urged Nigerians to emulate the values and principles of Momoh and be democracy enthusiasts and learn to place a demand on politicians for good governance and development.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Momoh, who died on May 29, at 52, in Abuja, was a professor of Political Science and the Director-General of the Electoral Institute of INEC.
He was also the Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences at the Lagos State University, and member of Executive Committee of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
Late Momoh served as a member of several technical teams of the African Union Commission (AUC) and election observer to several African countries on behalf of ECOWAS, African Union and civil society organization. (NAN)
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