Group Managing Director, Afrinvest (West Africa) Limited and the current President of the Association of Issuing Houses of Nigeria, Mr. Ike Chioke has lamented that the state of origin dichotomy is hindering Nigeria’s collective progress as a ‘nation’.
Ike, who spoke as guest speaker at the 16th annual convention of the Federal Government College, Jos Old Students’ Association held in Enugu between November 17 and 20 with the theme “Fostering National Unity” said the development has been making it difficult for the country to have meritorious individuals to manage its affairs as it should be.
Chioke, who graduated from the school in 1982 said, the ethnic divide in the country has empowered certain tribes and individuals thereby leaving others to scamper for scraps, “we see it in the lopsided appointments into key and core areas of the economy, security apparatus, and political offices which seem to favour only a select few”.
He argued further that institutional frameworks which were meant to ensure balance in Nigeria’s plural society have been largely ignored in the process of who gets and do what in the overall interest of the vast majority of the people in the country.
He said for instance that, “there is political divide that pits one party against the other, and members sometimes resort to violence to prove a point. People make political choices based on personal gains and not for the progress of the nation, and politicians capitalise on our greed to the detriment of our collective well-being.
“There is religious divide that has so much affected us as a nation. Today, we are having conversations on whether a Muslim-Muslim or Muslim-Christian ticket will win an election. We have also seen clashes and reprisal attacks between Christians and Muslims in different parts of the country.
“Through these divides, we have been inadvertently fanning the embers for the restructuring of Nigeria that currently holds sway across the country today”, he noted.
“Today, Nigeria is bedeviled by the “malignant trinity” of corruption, insecurity and a failing economy. Everything that is wrong with us as a nation can be traced back to these three factors
“When you combine these three evils with nepotism, tribalism, religionism, ethnicity, and political alignment, what you have is a nation where almost nothing works.
“So, without taking proactive and intentional steps towards closing our multiple divisions – ethnic, religious and political – and pursuing inclusivity, national unity will continue to be a fleeting illusion in Nigeria”, he opined.
He however suggested that one of the ways to address some of the identified challenges hindering Nigeria’s collective progress was to consider a bill for an act to alter the provisions of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, 1999, to define who a citizen is.
Earlier, the National President of the association, Dr. Onyekachi Onubogu told colleagues and guests at the August event that his leadership has achieved a lot within the past 12 months it came on board, soliciting their support to enable it to do more.
“We have done drug donations to our school, organised a health fair, handed over a few projects to the school as donated by various sets and other subgroups of our association.
“We engaged with the school to support our able principal in her drive to maintain the high standards of education our school is known for.
“We have organized online training programmes to help guide especially our younger old students as they embark on the journey of adulthood.
Established in 1973, the federal government college, Jos, will be marking its 50 years in 2023 and the association is planning a series of activities to mark this milestone, the national president hinted.