Only dialogue, renegotiation can save us —IBB, Anyaoku, Agbakoba, Others
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has again talked tough against those he described as highly irresponsible groups calling for the dismemberment of the country, saying his government would not tolerate such advocacy.
In his national broadcast commemorating the 57th Independence anniversary of the country, he took a swipe at such individuals, accusing them lack of a sense of history about the Nigerian civil war that claimed more than two million lives.
Meanwhile, many elder statesmen, diplomats have reassured their compatriots that the country could rise again through renegotiation of the union, dialogue, among others.
Suggestion on the country’s future came from a former Secretary General of the Commonwealth of Nations, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, former military president, Ibrahim Babangida, former vice-president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, state governors, among others.
Even those that believed the country had been able to record some strides in certain areas, said those achievements were cosmetic given the immense human and natural endowments of world’s largest Black nation.
In his message to the nation, Chief Anyaoku noted that “we should, of course, celebrate our 57 years of existence as a sovereign country but at the same time must resolve to deal effectively with the challenges, some of which are existential, facing the country.
The undeniable reality of the current state of affairs in Nigeria is that the country since the civil war has never been as divided as it is now in the face of armed insurgency in the North East, a threat of secession by some elements in the South East, rampaging Fulani herdsmen wreaking havoc in parts of the country, militancy in the Niger Delta, an economy just recovering from recession and incalculable damage being done to the country’s development by massive corruption.
‘‘To effectively tackle these challenges and put our diverse country on the road to political stability and its deserved development, we must move from our present nominal to a true federalism. In other words, we must restructure the country’s present governance architecture,’’ he said.
Dialogue, panacea for conflict resolution — IBB
Similarly, former military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, has urged all Nigerians to always embrace peace and dialogue as they are antidotes for conflict resolution, as the nation celebrates 57 years of independence.
He said though the nation is bedeviled with senseless agitations and conflicts, there was need for dialogue and careful appraisal of the country’s journey to nationhood.
“The resilience of armed forces of Nigeria to curtail secessionist agitations throughout our nation’s post independence has reduced tensions and unnecessary disruption of lives and property.
“Peace remains the best option in resolving conflicts and agitations in the country,” Babangida said, adding that recent conflicts and agitations, chanting slogan of war and hate speeches are derailing the nation’s development and unity.
“As an active participant in the civil war and a retired military officer, with the hard lesson learnt, I will never be tired of calling for the oneness and unity of our great nation. We will forever be ready to sacrifice for a united and prosperous Nigeria whenever the need arises
“During our tenure in government we deliberately formulated policies, programmes, projects and even the creation of states to further weaken unwholesome agitations for secession and promote mutual and peaceful coexistence devoid of ethnic, religious and regional discriminations,” the former military leader also stated.
President of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nwodo said: “At 57, Nigeria is plagued by a structure of government which is stultifying its growth, a nationwide state of despondency on falling standards of living, a flight of human and material capital, a pervasive corruption that is eluding remedy, a growing youth restiveness and a decline of patriotism.”
Constitutional lawyer and popular rights activist, Chief Olisa Agbakoba, while giving his own assessment of the political developments since 1960, said the future looked bleak.
“If I am looking at Nigeria as a physician, I will say the process and diagnosis show a very sick country and its future is very bleak. Everything is scattered; nothing is working,” he said.
A former Minister of Communication, Chief Cornelius Adebayo Adebayo, also felt disappointed that the country had sunk into an abyss of wilderness owing to leadership inadequacies.
He advocated a holistic restructuring of the country, through dialogue, based on the proposition of the pan-Yoruba organisation, Afenifere.
He decalred: “I belong to the Afenifere group. I support the effort that you are making. I also belong to the Middle Belt Forum. We are working together to ensure that there is a dialogue to review the country through a restructuring programme that will be finally settled with a referendum.
“What we are asking for is what the leadership of the Yoruba nation are also asking. At the time the colonial masters were still here, we wanted a true federation. And part of this federation we are talking about is to ensure that you don’t make anybody a minority in a country where they belong to the majority like we in Kwara State.
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