The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, has commended the Hausa/Fulani community in Lagos for their peaceful co-existence with the people of the state.
He made this commendation, yesterday, in his keynote address at a public lecture organized in commemoration of the silver jubilee anniversary of the installation of Sarkin Fulani of Lagos, Alhaji Mohammed Abukakar Bambado 11, at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island. He noted that the Northern people had over the years imbibed the culture of Lagos and the Southwest at large, adding, “My hope, my prayer is that all other communities will emulate what this community has done for social and economic wellbeing of Lagos State. I am proud to be part of you to share this anniversary, because 25 years is a long time. My prayer is that in another 25 years, we will be sharing the same good experience.”
The Guest Speaker, Dr Usman Bugaje, presenting his paper entitled: ‘Nigeria in Troubled Times: Pathways to Peaceful Co-existence and National Cohesion,’ lamented the nation’s many woes, including poverty, corruption, insecurity, ethnic and religious conflicts, as well as electoral manipulation. He stressed the need for national debate to achieve consensus on how to achieve unity.
His words: “In the last 20 years, we have seen a lot but learnt very little. During the last 20 years, Nigeria made huge, indeed, unprecedented revenue from oil, yet during the same period poverty more than doubled. Today, nearly 70 per cent of our population is below the poverty line and in ten years’ time, the World Bank has warned that we shall have 25 per cent of the total world poor population in our country.
“During the same period, insecurity has spread and escalated to levels that the army had to be deployed in over 30 of the 36 states of the federation. Even with this, it is still not abating, for the insurgency in the Northeast continue to elicit heavy loss of lives and displacement of people. Farmer-herder clashes, ethnic and religious conflicts continue to rage unabated. Kidnapping has become such a huge industry that it appears to be employing the very uniformed men that are supposed to fight it.
“The fight against corruption is to say the least profoundly disappointing. With people running the corridors of power accused of big corruption, with the DSS and EFCC operatives in open street fight, apparently protecting an official accused of corruption.”
All of these challenges, he said, had eroded national cohesion and therefore called for knowledge-driven national discourse to build national consensus that would provide a new direction. Bugaje also appealed to stakeholders to harness the advantage inherent in the country’s diversity to promote national growth.