The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. William Stuart Symington, has stressed the need for Nigerians to show more patriotism to their country instead of egoism and indifference to national development as the nation prepares for the 2019 general elections. 

Mr. Symington gave the admonition while presenting this year's Convocation Lecture of the University of Ilorin last Monday (September 22, 2018) at the University  Auditorium.        

The US envoy, whose lecture was entitled "Citizen, Leadership and the Link Between Economic Diversity and Democratic Good Governance", described Nigeria as a nation destined for true greatness in view of its amazing diversity, innumerable resources and huge market that is not only second to none in Africa but "the 7th largest integrated market in the world".    

He explained that he was usually amazed with the magnitude of courage and industry an average Nigerian is imbued with but expressed the belief that Nigeria will only attain full greatness if ordinary citizens and leaders of the largest black nation in the world can submerge the appalling spirit of self-interest for that of corporate emancipation. He counselled that the inimical concept of "I" should be replaced with that of "us".

Ambassador Symington regretted that in spite of the love of Nigerians for their diversities and complexity, it is only when they are abroad that they see themselves as one and always think about the country and appreciate its greatness. 

Welcoming guests to the thought-provoking Lecture, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, described the Convocation Lecturer as a versatile global citizen, a seasoned diplomat, and an accomplished statesman.

Prof. Abdulkareem noted that the topic was not only topical but apt considering the nexus between the quality of leadership and economic prosperity and the need for a paradigm shift in our political orientation. He added that there is no better time for the topic than now with the general elections slated for next year.

The well-attended lecture was graced by dignitaries from all walks of life including the Chancellor of the University and the Emir of Katsina, Alhaji (Dr.) Abdulmumini Kabir Usman (OFR) who was represented by the Sardauna of Katsina, Senator (Dr.) Ibrahim Idah (CON) and the Chairman of the Governing Council of the University, Dr. Abdullahi Jibril Oyekan as well as Prof. Ibrahim Agboola Gambari CFR, a former Foreign Affairs Minister and Pro-Chancellor and the Chairman of Council of the Bayero University, Kano. 

`Others include the Vice-Chancellor, Kwara State University, Malete, Prof. AbdulRasheed Na'Allah; and Justices Idris Abdullahi Haroon and S.O. Mohammed who are former Grand Khadis of Kwara State; the Founder of the Al-Hikmah University, Ilorin, Chief AbdulRaheem Oladimeji OFR; and the National President of Egbe Omo Igbomina, Engr. Timothy Niyi Adebayo, as well as management, staff and students of the University.