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EDITORIAL: A Fitting Swansong From A President Who Has Done An Excellent Job

President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau presided for the last time in a ceremonial opening of Parliament yesterday before his term expires in November. He will leave behind a legacy worthy to
15 Sep 2015 11:39
EDITORIAL: A Fitting Swansong From A President Who Has Done An Excellent Job
President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau inspect the guard of honor followed by the acting Commander RFMF,Viliame Naupoto during the opening of parliament yesterday. Photo: Rama

President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau presided for the last time in a ceremonial opening of Parliament yesterday before his term expires in November.

He will leave behind a legacy worthy to emulate and continue. Ratu Epeli has served with distinction for six years during a difficult time.

He will be remembered for many positive achievements that have benefitted this country.

One of his most significant acts was to put his signature to a new Constitution that contains ground-breaking provisions like equal citizenry, common name, secular state and economic rights in addition to basic rights.

The other is his role as Ambassador for the HIV-AIDS awareness campaign in the region. He has been widely applauded for his outstanding service. In secondary schools  in Fiji he is known as the face of the campaign because he has been able to connect with the students through his message.

Yesterday, in Parliament, he delivered a powerful speech that everyone should read and ponder. It’s coming from a leader who, although sits in his high office, takes the time to come down, meet and talk to ordinary people.

He is probably the only president who walks the streets of Suva or other towns, without a security guard beside him. It’s common to see him stop and talk to ordinary people. He can be seen on some Saturdays shopping at the Suva Municipal Market on his own. His rapport with the common people makes him popular.

His message yesterday was in essence about serving the common people whom he regularly meets wherever he travels in the country. It’s about protecting their interests and our collective national interests.

He basically said those elected to Parliament need to put the national interest first than their political goals.

You can feel of his passion in this statement: “Last year, I urged you all to think beyond your parochial interests of ethnicity, religion, socio-economic status or wherever you come from in Fiji. And to join hands to work together to move our beloved nation forward.

“I also cautioned that if you did not, it would be to our ultimate peril as a nation-state. And I am deeply saddened that twelve months on, some appear more intent on promoting division than promoting national unity.

“It would appear they cannot relinquish the politics of the past, the politics of viewing everything from a communal and parochial perspective rather than as a Fijian leader who puts the country and people first.”

Ratu Epeli has spoken from the heart and his own personal experience as a former Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces, a diplomat and minister and other public roles. He is not alone. He is voicing the feelings of many people in this country who are fed up with politicians who promote their own narrow and sectional interests at the expense of national unity.

Ordinary people across the ethnic, religious and cultural divide want to hear how they can improve their living standards of their lives. They share common needs and concerns.

Ratu Epeli’s speech sets the benchmark for the next 12 months for our MPs.

It’s a fitting swansong from a leader who has had a remarkable career of service to this nation. A job well done.

 

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 

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