We must negotiate a new Nigeria —Musdapher, ex-CJN

Former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Dahiru Musdapher, has called for a roundtable discussion that will give birth to a new Nigeria as well as achieve “unity and nationalisation.”

Musdapher said the country must be brave to address “the grievances and injustices committed on all sides that have pervaded our society and rendered null our attempts at unification.”

He spoke on Saturday in a public lecture entitled “The Question of Nigerian Unity” to mark the 75th birthday of father for former speaker of the House of Representatives and Seriki Jagunmolu of Egbaland, Chief Alani Bankole.

The ex-CJN noted that the institutionalisation of zoning, rotation of political offices, quota systems and other templates designed to manage the country’s diversity had been badly managed.

He lamented that the country had continued to remain divided even after the 2015 presidential election, adding that the election was marked along issues of ethnic, regional, partisan and religious lines.

The former CJN explained that the country could not sit and wait for one region or party to conquer another party or region in the bid to maintain a unified Nigeria.

He said, “Any solution for unity and nationalisation will demand that Nigerians sit and negotiate the definition of what it means to be a modern Nigerian.

“We must acknowledge our past history, speak truthfully and comprehensively about our present circumstances in order to come to a place where we can, as a nation, work together and move forward.”

He canvassed for the decentralisation of some aspects of government in the area of resource management.

“A system that allows for expropriated resources of the states to be freed, and greater powers of taxation, mining, utilities delivery, and security devolved to them, would make the states the new centres of attention, and reduce the opportunities for ethnic tensions heightened by a centralised government,” he added.

The former CJN opined that all states in the federation must take advantage of the human capital resource to develop.

The event had in attendance the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; his deputy, Yusuff Lasun; the governor of the state, Senator Ibikunle Amosun; former Judge of the World Court, Prince Justice Bola Ajibola; former governors of Ogun and Jigawa states, Chief Olusegun Osoba and Alhaji Sule Lamido.

Others were the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu; the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Rasheed Akanbi; former deputy of the state, Alhaja Salmot Badru; Mr Kola Abiola, among others.

Osoba, who was the chairman of the occasion, described the celebrant as a consistent, courageous and determined man.

The former governor said Chief Bankole’s kind of politics was beyond ideological differences, hence the calibre of people who came to honour him from different parts of the country.

Dogara, while eulogising Bankole, also described him as a true national leader.

He expressed the need for Nigerians to come together and work for its unity.