Former President, Goodluck Jonathan, has urged politicians to emulate the political attributes of inclusion, sacrifice and selflessness, for which Plateau’s first civilian governor, the late Chief Solomon Lar was renowned.
Jonathan made the call at the public presentation of a book titled, ‘Chronicles of the Rainbow,’ and the inauguration of the Solomon and Mary Lar Leadership Institute, in Abuja on Thursday.
The book is an autobiography written by the late Lar, who was the pioneer National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in collaboration with his age-old friend, Sheikh Mohammed Abdallah.
The former president said that stakeholders in Nigerian politics had so much to learn from Lar, whom he described as a sincere statesman, who played politics of inclusion, honesty, courage and patriotism.
“As we head towards the 2023 general elections, I will urge that we all, as critical stakeholders, whether as candidates or voters, embrace the principles of the late Chief Solomon Lar’s politics of inclusion, bridge-building, unity and accommodation.
“If we had continued in the same political trajectory promoted by the likes of Chief Lar in the second and third republics, our country would have been better off in terms of our unity, peace and pace of development.
“Chief Lar offered love in place of bitter and divisive politicking, built bridges to cement the cracks in our unity and showed courage in the face of injustice and military dictatorship.
Jonathan recalled that Lar was the only governor from the North in the Second Republic, who contested and won election on the platform of the Nigerian Peoples Party (NPP), a party that had the South as its stronghold.
The former president said that Lar’s stance and subsequent victory alone epitomised his character and disposition as a bridge builder and advocate of national unity.
Jonathan further said the fact that Lar, being a Christian, co-authored his own biography with an Islamic cleric, spoke to the boundless nature of his broadmindedness, spirit of tolerance and religious understanding.
“Sadly, we are now playing the kind of politics that Chief Lar detested.
Issues around ethnicity, religious bigotry, hate speech and personal attacks, rather than principles and policies affecting the lives of Nigerians, have continued to dominate political discourses around the country, as political parties begin their campaigns.
“There is no country that has made meaningful progress in the face of deep ethnic and religious division as is being experienced in our country today.
“I urge today’s politicians who are seeking to occupy different elective offices across the nation, as well as leaders and promoters of the various political parties to learn from the likes of Chief Solomon Lar, who played politics of sacrifice and selflessness, in the interest of the people,” he said.
Jonathan said it would have been inconceivable if Lar, the well-loved, charismatic politician, had exited the world without directly sharing the experiences of his enviable political behavior with Nigerians.
“With this book, he has given Nigerians an invaluable gift, which I see as bearing interesting perspectives on Nigeria’s march to democracy and development.
“And what a time to publicly present this important book than now that the nation is again embarking on another democratic expedition, especially as the political temperature is already rising,” he added.