From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
Former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, has passed a grim verdict on the country, saying Nigerians are trapped in the net of poverty, insecurity, backwardness and bad governance in the last few years of democracy.
The 2019 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stated this at Arewa House, Kaduna as guest of honour at the national lecture organised by Arewa Media and Development Forum, yesterday.
He said the only way for Nigeria to get out of the trap was to unite, flap their wings together and fly away from what he described as the danger zone.
Speaking on the theme of the lecture, “Unity in Diversity” delivered by Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State, Atiku said all Nigerians were equal and ought to be treated equally.
“I don’t see any Nigerian as Igbo, Hausa or Yoruba. When I see you, I see you as a Nigerian and I expect the best from you; that is why I didn’t select where I should marry from. I married women from the diverse background because I don’t look at their backgrounds. I only see them as wonderful Nigeria women.
“All Nigerians are equal and supposed to be treated equally. Therefore, unity is not about homogeneity, but it is by accepting the diversity in differences between us, not using this differences as a yardstick in judging others this kind of unity cannot be achieved by accident there must be strategic efforts to promote unity.
“Research has pointed out three primary sources of lack of unity in Nigeria. For religious differences we have to accept that it is not possible for the whole world to embrace one faith and it is not our choice the faith we practice, the only thing we can do is to accept that others have different faith and that is how God designed the world to be, and it should not be the basis for our socialisation and politics
“Language is another primary source of disunity; that is why I recommend a national law to mandate every Nigerian to speak one more language from another region of the country, so that we can connect and appreciate things we share in common.People easily associate and like others who speak their language. Language is one of the strongest sources for unity, we should have policy to mandate public servants, youth corps members to learn one more Nigerian language from the region other from the one they come from. That way we can strengthen our unity.
“It is only through unity that we can surmount and overcome our challenges. Our common enemies do not recognise who is from the south of north, Muslim or a Christian, if we stand divided we will be trapped by the enemy. Unity is your strength, as long as you stay united no harm can come your way. Just like the pigeons we are all trapped in the net of poverty, insecurity, backwardness and bad governance and the only thing that can save us from this trap is unity. I invite all Nigerians to flap our wings together and fly away from danger zone and get rid of this traps. This can only happen if we can vote for that kind of wise party, you can see our potential, the choice is in your hands,” Atiku said.
Governor Emmanuel said the bane of Nigeria’s unity has to do with nepotism. He said there was more diversity than unity among contemporary Nigerians compared to the past when every Nigerian could win election irrespective of ethno-religious and regional backgrounds.
“The last few years have seen our country more divided than at any other time in our recent history. What we see nowadays is a country where ethnic champions drive the narrative, and the cacophony of discordant voices make it difficult for us to hear ourselves. This has been given expression in the numerous calls for restructuring, resource control and even an outright division of the country along ethnic and tribal lines. Several reasons have been adduced for this state of affairs. Many individuals and groups have taken umbrage at the over-centralisation of power at the centre, perceived marginalisation of some parts of the country.
“These are sore points that give fillip to the agitations for balance and equity in the country. We cannot afford to run a country where some parts of our country feel marginalised or left out of the scheme of things as this is a potent threat to the unity of the country. We must ensure that there is equity and justice and that no part of the country is made to feel less of itself as this will definitely not augur well for our union.”