Dialogue, justice and equity have been suggested as the tripod capable of addressing Nigeria’s challenges ranging from insecurity to socio-economic quagmires, and not violent confrontations, injustices and inequalities that are gradually becoming the order of the day.
Discussants made these suggestions at a Public Lecture on; “Sustaining a United and Indivisible Nigeria: A Myth or Reality” held at the instance of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) Press Corps and in Abuja.
In his presentation, Guest Speaker and Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje called on secession agitators to embrace dialogue as only the way out of the current challenges afflicting the nation, including their demands.
Ganduje observed that the recent agitations by groups such as the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Oduduwa Republic indicated that lessons have not been learnt from the 30 months civil war that broke shortly after Nigeria gained Independence.
“If every aggrieved company were to carry on the way these aspiring ‘Biafrans’ and ‘Oduduwas’ are going, the chaos the nation would face can only be imagined. Sustaining this unity is possible and it is a reality! We are too fused, in fact, too entropic together to be divided at this time. Let’s repair our broken walls instead and move on! Let’s debate restructuring, not secession or self-determination.
“It is my hope that we reach a point in Nigeria where we can openly discuss the ills in our society, with a mindset of finding sustainable solutions, and further entrenching our nation’s unity. This is where our public and national institutions such as the State and National Assemblies should be more resourceful,” Ganduje said.
According to him, “The parliament is an arm of government that gives meaning and authenticity to democracy. They should enhance the concept of representation in a democracy. Here is my take; our state and federal legislators should take the job of representation more seriously. If anything is wrong in any community, the first port of call should not be the Office of the Governor or even the Divisional Police Office. It should be the constituency office of any complainant’s representative.”
Governor of Yobe State and Chairman, APC Caretaker Committee, Mai-Mala Buni in his remarks, said it was better for Nigerians to come together and discuss their common destiny, instead to taking to violence and divisive tendencies.
Buni, who was represented by former Senate President, Ken Nnamani who on his part said if Nigeria is made more efficient, nobody in his right sense will be saying it should be divided.
“Every state in Nigeria has something unique that few countries are not as blessed as Nigeria. It is for us to discover our own strength and emphasise it and make it better. Let us not be afraid of restructuring. It simply means how we can make our country more efficient and better,” he stated.
In a discussion, former governor of Imo State and Senator representing Imo West, Rochas Okorocha said the nation’s challenges can only be tackled through addressing injustices of all kinds.
“What we must do as a people is to address the issue of injustice as a nation, starting from the stomach injustice which we call hunger. For instance, I don’t have any enemy from the North or South West. The biggest political problem I have recently is from the South East, from my state,” he said.
“Number two, every leader that emerges in this country must treat Nigeria as a family, must never show segregation of any kind. If you know an Igboman, an Igboman is not asking for anything, he is asking for a level playing ground,” Okorocha further said.
Also, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister of State, Ramatu Aliyu, represented by Adaji Usman said: “We must have change of attitude; we must believe that this country is ours, we don’t have any other country to go to. Until we believe that our children don’t have any other country than Nigeria, we can’t function. Until and except we believe that Nigeria is one, and we need to do this as one indivisible entity we can’t get it right,” Usman insisted.
On his part, Chairman Senate Committee on Appropriations, Jibrin Barau (APC, Kano North) said what Nigerians need to do at all times is to engage in dialogue to get things done through constitutional means.
“What you need to do at all time in bringing the needed development in our area is through dialogue. If you have people from other parts of the country who are in leadership positions, bring to the fore, tell them your problem, we need this, we need infrastructure,” he said.