The newly inaugurated administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been urged to immediately put in motion necessary machinery to address the nagging issues of disunity and insecurity which have continued to impede the development of Nigeria.
It has also been advised to, without delay, restructure the country for speedy development.
The advice was given in separate interviews with Olisa Agbakoba, a former president of the Nigerian Bar Association ( NBA); Leonard Umunna, bishop and founder, Bible Life Church and Alfred Adewale Martins, Catholic Archbishop of Lagos.
They noted that Nigeria has been badly divided along ethnic and religious lines, which was worsened by the acrimonious 2023 general election.
Agbakoba said: “I think the contextual background of what President Tinubu has to do might be to look at the serious case of disunity in Nigeria because no one can plan if the country is not United. What are the tools he needs to bring in place to mobilise Nigerians to feel they are one. That’s the first point.”
According to him, “The second point should be how to fight the insecurity. The level of insecurity is very high; no meaningful achievement in the economy can be recorded with the level of insecurity in Nigeria. Even if you have ten billion dollars ($10bn) nobody can do anything in Nigeria if there is that issue of insecurity.
“These are the two fundamental issues that I think he needs to tackle in the immediate. Tied around these will be this big issue of what some call restructuring and others refer to as devolution of power.”
The senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN) urged the new administration to give Nigerians “A New Deal.”
He said: “There has to be a sense of belonging; a sense that you are a citizen of Nigeria; the kind of hope that Franklin Roosevelt gave Americans in the Great Depression of the early 30’s. Nigerians are depressed. Nigerians have lost hope. They need a new deal. These are the things we would like to see very quickly.”
Speaking with BusinessDay on the immediate tasks facing the new administration, Leonard Umunna, who retired from the defunct National Shipping Line of Nigeria (NNL)), said there is high level of distrust in society that could negatively impact good governance if not urgently addressed.
“It is said that hope deferred makes the heart sick. In Nigeria hope has continued to be deferred. This time around, if hope is deferred, the heart will not only become very sick, the bones will be rottened,” he said.
Umunna also noted that “Trust has been lost. Not that it is about to be lost, but totally lost on major aspects of governance in our nation. If those at the helm of affairs in the country do not do something to restore the peace and confidence, whatever plan they have for other things may not work.
“The current administration must learn a lesson from the failures of the immediate past administration. Nobody should make the mistake of repeating bad history because it will always shame the fellow in the end.”
On the ravaging insecurity across the country, the cleric urged the Tinubu administration to urgently look into the real cause of the killings and put an end to the ugly trend.
“Some people said the past administration had a hand in the insecurity that happened in that era, if it continues now, what would they say? President Tinubu should deal decisively with the issue of insecurity. The Amnesty International said in its recent report that over one hundred and twenty people have been killed since May 29 this year. That figure is too high for any nation to keep quiet. We need to see government move fast in that direction.”
In a related development, Alfred Adewale Martins, Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, has said that “This is the time for healing the hurts that came from the 2023 General elections, and we must all work together for the good of our state and Nigeria at large.”
He admonished the Lagos State House of Assembly (LAHA) to purge itself of legislative biases and discrimination.
Martins also called on the state legislators to work towards enacting laws that are for common good and take care of the interest of all the residents of the state.
“No one destroys what he loves; if the state legislators love Lagos State, they would make only laws that will help to preserve, enhance and ensure the sustenance of peaceful co-existence in the State,” Martins stated in a press statement signed by Anthony Godonu, director of social communications, on the heels of a statement recently ascribed to the Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa.
Obasa, in his acceptance speech on being re-elected for the third term as the Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly (LAHA) was reported to have stated that the House would employ “all legislative instruments” to favour indigenes against people of other tribes living in Lagos.
Martins also urged the state legislators to be circumspect in carrying out their legislative duties so as to maintain the peace and good neighborliness that has characterised the state.
“We therefore, admonish the Lagos State House of Assembly to tread with caution in making laws so that they pass only laws that mean well for the state and would not be used as instruments of bigotry and ethnic discrimination,” he said.
According to the Archbishop, the LAHA has a very important role to play in Nigeria’s democratic processes; he however, said that this role must be played with fairness and justice to all Nigerians living in Lagos State.