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Nigeria’s strength lies in unity, says former ambassador Hagher

Nigeria’s strength lies in unity, says former ambassador Hagher

Iyorwuese Hagher, an elder statesman and a two-time ambassador to Mexico and Canada, has stressed the need for Nigerians, irrespective of ethnic and religious differences to unite, to build a strong nation.

The elder statesman made the call while speaking to the media at the public presentation of three books he authored, titled ‘Leadership, Leading Africa Our of Chaos, The English Language and Its Discontents and ‘Beyond Ethnic Grievance.

Emphasizing the need for Nigerians to unite irrespective of religion and ethnicism he said, he said the book launch was part of activities to mark his 75th birthday, in Abuja today, June 28, 2024

Hagher, a seasoned politician is a second republic senator, who served two times as a federal minister minister of Power/Mines as well as minister of Health said “I have been involved in building educational infrastructure. I was the first pro-chancellor at Afe Babalola University where I served nine years as pro-chancellor.

“I also became the founding chairman of the associations of pro-chancellor private universities in this country. I established the first Leadership Institute in Africa called the Leadership Institute, Nigeria. For all these reasons I consider that at 75, I should have something to say to this country. I live in the United States as an independent public intellectual”.

According to Iyorwuese Hagher at the age of 75, I have considered talking to Nigerians through the three books. I am launching these three books because I love my country deeply and have benefited so much from this great country. I grew up a product of missionary education and then I studied here in Nigeria at the Theatre for Development which I practice today

The elder statesman said “The first book is on leadership. Everybody says Leadership. Well, I have written a book on Leadership. The next one will be on Followership because Followership is also very, very challenging. But this one now is on Leadership which I offer to Nigerians who would want to study what Leadership entails, what it means and how we can all learn to be good leaders”.

“I have explored in this book the kind of republic Nigeria can have so that our citizens will stop being subjects to some traditional rulers or to some of us who are in privileged positions and consider that the rural dwellers, the downtrodden, the common people are nothing but cattle”.

“We need to all collectively come together and find a solution to build a strong nation, a strong nation where we are not subjects but we are all citizens. A strong nation where our democracy means that the citizen is the king, that the citizen has rights, that the privileges of human dignity, human respect and freedom that the citizens have endured in and they should not be toyed with by any person.”

He further stressed the need for strong leaders committed to the principles of leadership,

“We need the kind of leaders like those that we had who fought colonialism. I have Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna who until he died didn’t have a bank account, Tafawa Balewa, who never went around with sirens when he went to his village and even Nelson Mandela of South Africa who fought the apartheid system and crushed it and made sure that he built a rainbow republic in South Africa.”

In the second book ‘The English Language And Its Discontents’ he said “There are many people who are saying ‘ba turenchi’ and couldn’t be bothered. This book is about those ‘ba turenchi’ people as well.

He stated that the English language which had become a global language is a language of oppression.

In his words ”If English today has become a global language it is a language of oppression. For many years without a credit in English language, you couldn’t go to university, it didn’t matter how brilliant you were. I think this is still the case. But we’re not doing well. So at the end of this book I have examined the oppressive nature of the English language and also how English can be used is important to me because in a country of 200 million people, only 70 million people speak the English language. So what about the others? We are oppressing them. I want the English language to be democratized.

In the third book “Beyond Ethnic Grievance”, the statesman said “This is the biggest challenge of our country today. Two things have pulled Nigeria down, corruption and tribalism. They reinforce one another. Tribalism reinforces corruption and corruption reinforces tribalism.

I have used the Jukun and the Tivs because this is the one that I’m very familiar with and I have written it knowing that it’s a sensitive book because the information and documentation in this book cannot be found anywhere. It can be found but I take responsibility for bringing much of this to public discussion today because I am involved because I have studied it because I have lived in the experience of the Jukun/Tiv crisis.

“Now when I study colonialism I didn’t realize, how they created three dominant tribes and how they expect the rest of the other ethnic groups to just mirror around while the three ethnic groups have power and when they have power they will continue to have power” he said.