By Henry Akubuiro
Renowned author, public intellectual and former Permanent Secretary in the Presidency, Dr. Bukar Usman, has called on different segments of the society to put all hands on deck to move the nation forward in the midst of spiraling problems facing Nigeria.
Presenting a keynote speech on “Unity and Nation Building in Nigeria and Africa: Role of Individuals and other Stakeholders” at a recent two-day conference organised by StandTall Africa Initiative (STAI) at
A-Class Park & Event, Abuja, the elder statesman said Nigeria was faced with a myriad of problems arising from its diversity and desperation of component units to attract government’s attention.
He said, “It is this disposition and drive that account for misunderstandings among groups, and this presents the greatest challenge in nation building. Stakeholders agitating, without much success, to draw the attention of the government to their plight, in desperation lose patience and resort to violence, thereby becoming a threat to peace and security, and making it even more difficult to achieve their group and individual interests and the common good.”
In emphasising the role of individuals and other stakeholders, he advocated that Nigeria, being a country of great diversity, should have pillars of stability that should be consciously nurtured to insulate them from political partisanship, especially in the face of increasingly unbridled quest for power in our polity.
“Such pillars exist, and they consist of the security agencies, the judiciary, traditional rulers and religious institutions. These pillars must be seen to demonstrate political neutrality in their actions and utterances. It is only then that they would continue to occupy moral high ground and command the respect of all,” he noted.
He called on current efforts to be redoubled to engage the youth and women more productively in nation-building and “avert the adverse effects the continuous neglect of these critical segments of our society would have on our phenomenally growing population.”
As the land area of Nigeria remained almost the same since 1960, amid increasing population, he noted, “There will be more and more scramble for land, scarce resources and political clout; and poverty, joblessness and corruption, all of which are driving pauperised citizens and extremists to commit horrendous atrocities against fellow citizens, would continue to be major challenges.”
He moved for good governance and sound leadership to avert or mitigate the unwholesome effects of raging controversies on1999 Constitution and clamor for new states and local governments on nation building, while calling on individuals and groups to appreciate positive contributions towards solving these challenges.
The elder statesman also identified fake news as a big threat to national stability and nation building, “There lies the danger of what is currently described as fake news which, when disseminated through the web with little or no regard to societal sensitivities, cause upheavals liable to jeopardise national stability and nation building.
“For Nigeria, the fault lines are many and easily exploited, thereby making it much more difficult to maintain societal harmony. Thus, disinformation, insinuations, innuendos, misrepresentations and so-called conspiracy theories being spread in social media, whether deliberately or unwittingly, must be guarded against as they have become the tools of modern warfare and social destabilisation. They are now more frequently used than tanks, missiles and battalions.”