Speaker of the House of the Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, ex governor of Anambra State and vice presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Obi, former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu and others have said secession would not address challenges facing various ethnic or region in Nigeria.
They said what every citizen needs and cares for is level playing field, justice, equity, fairness and good governance.
They spoke amidst call for secession at the 112th anniversary celebration of the Kings’ College Old Boys Association (KCOBA) over the weekend
The theme for the event was: “Unity in Diversity… Stronger Together.”
Gbajabiamila, who delivered the keynote address, declared that ongoing review of the constitution by the National Assembly would not produce a perfect constitution, stressing that “there is no such thing anywhere in the world.”
“In the House of Representatives, we are currently in the process of a substantive review of our nation’s constitution. Our objective is to deliver a constitution that more effectively organises our politics to make it more inclusive, enshrine efficient mechanisms for holding the institutions of state to account and put an end to the debilitating conflicts that continue to tear our nation apart. We would not produce a perfect constitution; no such thing has ever existed anywhere in the world. Indeed, some part of the world have unwritten constitutions. However, together we can by the choices we make and our actions use our constitution as a foundation document to give life to the people of Nigeria.”
Obi, Ribadu and the former minister of state, Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Bagudu Hirse, who were the panelists, gave different views on what is threatening the unity of country.
Obi said the country cannot stay united unless there was equity and justice. According to him, Nigeria has about 250 ethic groups , which is far below that of India with over 2,000 ethnic groups and Indonesia with 1,300 ethnic groups adding that both countries were doing far better than Nigeria
“You cannot stay united when there is injustice; we cannot stay united if you don’t allow people to operate on a level playing field. If Nigeria was a productive country, our diversity could have been a source of strength but we are a sharing country’.
“Our country is not a productive country but a country of consumption and sharing. Once it is a sharing economy, it becomes difficult to be united because everybody wants to be part of the sharing,’’ he said.’
Ribadu stated that ethnic or religion has nothing to with challenges facing the country. Rather, he blamed them on individual attitudes, lack of love for each others and bad governance.
Ribadu said Nigeria is work in progress, stressing that Nigerians needs to do their best to keep the country united.
He warned Nigerians to avoid what happened in Rwanda and Somalia but rather emulate Tanzania, which he said is one of the peaceful
Hirse called on Nigerians to do aways with what would divide the country and embrace what would unite the people.
He also shared agreed with other panalists on the issue of good governance, justice, fairness and equity.
KCOBA President, Alhaji Kashim Ibrahim-Imam, observed that Nigeria is experiencing the worst turbulence in its history. He stressed the need for Nigerian to come together and find solution to the problems.
He also pleaded with Gbajabiamila to sponsor a bill that would hand over King’s College to the Board of Trustees adding that government has no business managing secondary schools.