Noah Ebije, Kaduna
Ekiti State governor and Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Kayode Fayemi, has said that for the country to attain socio-political and economic greatness, it must be re-created to satisfy restructuring agitation.
Fayemi stated this while delivering the 50th anniversary lecture of the Centre for Historical Documentation and Research (Arewa House), on the topic “Unfinished Greatness…Towards a More Perfect Union in Nigeria.”
The lecture was part of the week long activities marking the golden jubilee of the centre, which was held at the Banquet Hall, Arewa House Complex, Kaduna, yesterday.
His words: “Those of us in public office may delude ourselves, but the events of the past few weeks have brought the contradictions of the Nigerian state into a sharper focus. Whether your immediate concern is police brutality and the need for police reform or you reflect upon the rationale and the challenges of those who insist that unless and until Nigeria becomes a theocracy, there shall be blood and tears unlimited; whether you look towards the Niger Delta where, despite the amnesty and the industry of graft and greed that it has re-produced, there is a continuous and bloody demand for justice and equity; or you examine the endless pretexts for ethnic strife and blood-letting between the so-called indigenous people and the “settlers” in the Middle Belt; whether you scrutinise the regular apocalyptic predictions of highly placed Nigerians about the fate of the country, or you contemplate what would happen if measures are not taken to arrest the drift, you cannot but come to the conclusion that Nigeria needs to be re-created.
“In fact, I associate fully with the views of respected scholar and former Chairman of INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega, when he opined that “sooner than later, these matters have to be addressed squarely but dispassionately. The challenge is how to address the issue of restructuring the Nigerian federal system without upsetting the apple-cart; that is, how to add value to the structure and systemic efficacy of the federal arrangement, without unleashing instability occasioned by the mobilisation of ethnic, regional and religious sentiments and identities.”
While noting that nation building is a continuous work in progress, Fayemi said: “Precisely because we have refrained from heeding the wise counsel of Shehu Usumanu Dan Fodiye in his book Bayan Wujub al-Hijra, ‘One of the swiftest ways of destroying a state is to give preference to one particular tribe over another or to show favour to one group of people rather than another.’
Reading through the research conducted by the Arewa Research Development Project, one of the foremost, contemporary research projects in Northern Nigeria, I was struck by the conclusion on one of the research projects, ‘In contemporary world, issues of nation-building are increasingly being centred around citizenship rights and equality in accessing these rights, special and conscious efforts to safeguard minorities and disadvantaged groups, gender equality in political and socio-economic spheres of a nation, protection of cultural assets….” These are indeed conditions that will ensure political integration and progressive development.”