By Ossom Raphael
Civil Society Organisations, Activists, Labour Unions, friends and colleagues yesterday gathered in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory to pay tributes to one of their own late Prof. Abubakar Momoh, a man who was at the forefront of Pan-Africanism
Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC Chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu and his predecessor Prof. Attahiru Jega were among the dignitaries who pay tributes at a memorial lecture in honour of the late Director General of the Electoral Institute of INEC and human rights activist.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mamoud Abubakar described Prof Momoh as a dependable and trusted ally who selflessly served the country, dedicated his life to service to humanity, gave his time and all to fighting the course of liberating the poor and the oppressed.
Former INEC Chairman Prof. Attahiru Jega said Prof. Momoh was one of those that made personal sacrifices for the development in the country, adding that Prof. Abubakar stood for so many values.
“There is absolutely no doubt that we have lost an intellectual, brilliance, humane, selfless, passionate and committed patriot to progress and development in the country.
“His willingness to sacrifice his time and energy and resource to promote good courses was not in doubt. Abu inspired me as the ASUU President. He is one of those who made personal sacrifices for the progress of the country.
“For me, it was also a personal lost. Abubakar stood for certain values, values of integrity, values of selflessness, values of service to the country and service to humanity, doing all these with clear head and ideas for societal transformation and it is a unique combination of values brought into application in the individual. He was a gift of God, but it was also cultivated through learning and inspiration.
“We pray that many other Abubakar Momohs because it is such people that are agents of change and progress in our nation, that have the intellectual capacity and brilliance, articulation and passion and selflessness to get ideas to be transformative. Abubakar was all of that.
“He was ASUU treasury and kept the money with integrity and made sure it was judicially utilized. It is very important that we begin to revive hope in our nation and we continue to be optimistic about progressive changes in our country, it is possible. We have able and capable young men and women out there, all they need is opportunity to contribute to the development of this country.
He used to say that the youths are in the majority demographically but they are in the minority politically. We need to cultivate those right values, attitudes and passion and bring them to bear because the youths over the years have been transformative agents of the countries.
“In our own country, we underrate them, we do not give them good education, they don’t get employment, they apply their creative abilities to criminality. We have to change this, and it is very important to the progress and development of the society.
“The challenge for all of us today is to use every opportunity to bring out those values he fought for and inculcate them in our youths. We need so many of us to address the challenges of our country and in deed the challenges of Africa. We have lost many people and there are many Nigerians who died with unfinished businesses. We need to support the good courses they stood for, if we want our country to progress”.
On the proposed Solidarity Fund, Prof. Jega urged the trustees to ensure judicious use of the fund as an extension of legacies instituted in memory of late Abubakar Momoh.
“We must set up mechanism for effective management of the Solidarity Fund as another legacy to remember Abubakar Momoh,’’ Jega said.
In his own tribute, the Minister of Solid Mines and Solid Mineral, Dr. Kayode Fayemi described the late Prof. Momoh as a trusted friend and patriotic Nigerian who was disciplined and selfless.
“He was a great comrade who I have known over 30 years ago. He was a very disciplined and selfless man who was not interested in power but ready to defend the course of justice.
“The solidarity Trust Fund we want to establish today with Momoh’s memorial lecture is worth establishing because Abu used his resources to promote varieties of progressive courses. The idea behind the solidarity fund is the one that long overdue. We are supposed to be unveiling Solidarity Trust Fund”.
The President, Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa, CODESRIA, Dzodzi Tsikata, in her keynote address called for the sustainability of Panafricanism, which Prof. Momoh stood for.
Tsikata, also called on African leaders to empower the young people and make sure that they are given equal opportunity to contribute their quota in the governance of the society.
According to her “Momoh left an indelible mark and was a formidable debator and a team player. He was combative and his intellectual style was inspiring.
“He Played a critical role in championing the course of democracy in Africa and was a defender of academic freedom, hence his ability to reflect same in Nigerian political scene”.
The theme: Pan Africanism and Democratic Struggle, witnessed the formal unveiling of a Solidarity Trust Fund to provide for comrades in need and their families.
Late Prof. Abubakar Momoh was a prominent Nigerian civil society leader and Director General of the Independent National Electoral Commission’s Electoral Institute.
Abubakar was the dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the Lagos State University, LASU. “Abubakar obtained PhD in political theory and began his lecturing career in 1988.
He has served on various boards and scientific committees, including those of the Centre for Democracy and Development, member of Executive of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, as well as Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa, CODESRIA.
He was been a researcher and lecturer at many universities across the world, including being visiting research fellow, Institute of Development Studies, University of Helsinki, Finland; fellow, Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University, Sweden.