Ethnic nationality groups in the country have unanimously agreed to re-negotiate the unity of Nigeria
Ethnic nationality groups in the country, on Monday, unanimously agreed on the urgent need to re-negotiate the unity of the nation.
They posits that the statement that Nigerian unity is non- negotiable is simply a historical fallacy.”
Newsonline reports that the groups, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Northern Elders Forum, Afenifere among others spoke at a public lecture hosted by Ambassador George Obiozor, the President General of the Igbo apex socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze.
The event took place at the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs, Victoria Island, Lagos.
This debate on whether the unity of Nigeria is negotiable witnessed the nation’s elder statesmen from three regions of the country insisting that the country must re-negotiate its unity to overcome its current crises.
The lecture themed ‘ Nationalism and Nation Building in Nigerian History’ was delivered by Prof Jide Osuntokun.
Obiozor took a swipe at anybody or group, insisting that the country’s unity is not negotiable. His words: “Recently, some Nigerian political leaders have said that “Nigerian unity is non-negotiable.” This is an irony because these leaders seem to have forgotten Nigerian history or have failed to learn the lessons of history in general. “Nigerian history is definitely negotiable and must be re-negotiated for it to stand or survive the test of time.
The reality over the years remains that in spite of the best efforts of all our leaders past or present, Nigerian unity is not guaranteed. It is simply, at best, an aspiration and not yet an achievement.
Consequently, the statement that Nigerian unity is non- negotiable is simply a historical fallacy.”
Continuing, he said “if we are to salvage our country, we must begin to face reality, stop the syndrome of self-deception and self-delusion about Nigerian historical exceptionalism. Today, if the truth must be told, our diversity has turned into disorder, and our democracy into an invitation to incremental anarchy.
“For Nigerian unity and nation-building to succeed, the leaders must borrow a leaf from or emulate the experiences of countries that did not ignore the element of pluralism in their respective countries and societies.”
The guest speaker, Prof Jide Osuntokun in his lecture said: “Our future as a country is pregnant and no one with mathematical prec ision, can hazard what it will bear. As a former ambassador of Nigeria, I am in a favour of finding a solution to our constitutional and structural problems.
“The verdict on the way to run Nigeria is still hanging in the air and we don’t have too much time to find appropriate constitutional architecture with which Nigeria can build a happy state acceptable to all our people.
Leader of Afenifere, Pa Ayo Adebanjo urged leaders of the country to be honest and sincere in their dealings with the citizens.
“What we need now is sincerity and honesty in our approach not lip service to Nigerians.”
Chairman of the occasion, General Atom Kpera, underscored the need for the country to re-negotiate its unity.
He said: “That our unity, our togetherness, is non-negotiable is a dead poisonous point. Nothing will make human beings more deadly than not talking to one another.
“We must talk and discuss- what irks me, what pleases me, what annoys you, we try and identify that and avoid them. It is not a child’s play. We cannot decree against discussing Nigeria’s problems.”
The Director, Publicity and Advocacy, of Northern Elders Forum, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, said if anyone is saying that Nigeria’s unity is non-negotiable, “I can tell you they are not the north. They are not affiliated or related to the Northern Elders Forum. Nigeria’s unity is negotiable. You either negotiate it because nations are very fragile and very delicate living things.
“You have to nurture them, pay attention to weaknesses and their strength and address them every once in a while or they break and we are at the breaking point. We have seen nations negotiate their existence. Anybody who takes the unity of their country as non-negotiable is not talking about the human entity created by human beings- anybody. It is only the military thatnwill say Nigeria’s unity is not negotiable and the military is an employee of the Nigerian people. The military cannot tell Nigerians who employed them, train them and lay them that our unity is not negotiable.
“Force alone will not keep Nigeria together. It is a fallacy and it damages us when we say that Nigeria’s unity is not negotiable. If you cannot negotiate something then you have to fight your way out of it. As it stands, it is either we negotiate Nigeria’s future in the next few years or we allow what is beginning to look like we are going to fight our ways to gain more ground.”