Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti have called on Nigerians to be vigilant and defend the nation’s democracy .
They made the call at the National Dialogue and Public Presentation of a book titled: “Remaking Nigeria: Sixty Years, Sixty Voices “ in Abuja, yesterday. Abubakar, who was chairman of the occasion, called on Nigerians to defend democracy saying fixing or restructuring Nigeria would help in nation-building, adding that such would help to foster a sense of nationhood.
“One lesson 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. Strongly believe 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 said that Nigeria should be restructured in a manner that allows various segments to develop at their own pace and not be held back by the centre or other segments.
He said developed segments would spur development in other segments because what they do well would attract the attention of others therefore making Nigerian union more attractive and nation-building easier.
The former vice president said that nationhood has to be forged through what people do as a country, and that leadership was 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. When we start developing with what we have, more of our people will want to identify with the country, love the country and commit their lives to the country.
“When that happens, especially with fairness and justice, nation-building accelerates, however imperfectly; development and nation-building do not happen by themselves. They are guided by people, especially leaders, thoughtful, insightful, and visionary leaders who are willing to make sacrifices and reach compromises,” he said.
Abubakar said when people see their leaders making efforts genuinely, and experience improvements in their lives, they were likely to follow suit.
He, however, said that citizens needed to work hard and make necessary compromise to accommodate one another.
Ekiti Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi and keynote speaker at the launch said there was no nation today that was wholly satisfied with its present status, adding that every nation at all times worked to become better. “For us as a people, our focus should be about how we can reinvent our nation, work for the prosperity of our people and ensure peace and prosperity. Indeed few people will disagree with the view that there is a significant gap between our potential for greatness as a country and the reality of where we are now. It is therefore a great duty for all of us, to continue to seek every opportunity to make the dream of a great nation come to pass.’’
Fayemi urged Nigerians to uphold the message of the second stanza of national anthem which says “to build a nation where peace and justice reign.”
Dr. Chido Onumah, editor of the book, said the book was a product of 11 years of planning, adding that the original idea was conceived in 2010 to coincide with Nigeria at 50.
Onumah said that the book was the product of discussion on what needed to be done to rescue Nigeria.
He added that the aim was to give an opportunity to young Nigerians to help the country understand and sharpen its focus on the issues that should hold key to its survival.