Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar on Thursday raised the alarm that Nigeria seems to be raising full speed towards disaster.
At a book launch in Abuja, the former presidential candidate said although there were signs of conflicts before 2016, nobody could have thought that the country would become a haven for kidnappers and all manner of bandits to the extent that their nefarious activities would become a major industry?
“They have been allowed to operate so openly and brazenly that it would surprise no one if they applied for registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission and listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
“Five years ago, the Abuja – Kaduna Road was not a virtual no-go area.
“The South-East was not a virtual war-zone, and Amotekun was not needed to protect lives and property in the South West.”
The issues he explained resulted in calls for restructuring that had not been heeded.
He lamented that constitutional provisions on federal character have been ignored and even symbolic gestures to make all groups feel that they are part of the Nigerian family have been scorned as though they are a sign of weakness.
According to him, fixing or restructuring will help in the nation-building project because it will help to foster a sense of nationhood out of disparate groups, cultures, religions, and regions.
While arguing that a country is not necessarily a nation, Abubakar said “nationhood has to be forged through what we do as a country, and leadership is critical in the process of nation-building.
“Leaders give direction and the example they set determines the extent to which their followers will trust them.
“Without trust, there’s no leadership.
“Without leadership, a country drifts and becomes more difficult to forge into a nation.”
He told his audience that he finds it amusing when people declare Nigeria’s unity as fixed and non-negotiable while doing everything in their power to destroy that fragile unity.
“Nothing in the relationships among peoples is fixed for eternity.
“Over the past six years the leadership of this country at the federal level hardly embarked on nation-building.
“They may have been making (utterly confusing and unproductive) efforts at economic development.
“However, it can be rightly argued that they have been un-building the nation by taking conscious and deliberate actions that not only make nation-building more difficult but also undo the achievements made in that regard by previous administrations.”
He explained that it has taken one administration in six short years to tear up the fabric of past attempts at unity.
“One lesson there for all of us is the need to always be vigilant and be prepared to defend our democracy, for it is through the democratic process that we can more easily promote the unity of our country.”
While narrating his belief that Nigeria can and will remain one strong and united nation with significant strides in economic development to improve the lives of our peoples, he warned “however, we must not take it for granted. We must work hard at it and make necessary compromises to accommodate one another.
“Hard work and compromises are necessary for restructuring the country, especially in terms of the relationship between the centre and the constituent states and between the public sector and the private sector”, he admonished.
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