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Fayemi faults IPOB, MASSOB, other restructuring agitators approach

By News Desk

The Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has faulted Indeginous People of Biafra, Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Yoruba Nation, among other secessionist groups approach for demanding restructuring, saying various political, economic and social problems afflicting Nigeria can be overcome if leaders and followers share a unity of purpose to get them solved.

Dr Fayemi who said a well structured dialogue remains a major pathway to peace and progress said there was nothing heroic in dying for a cause that dialogue and negotiations can help resolve. Speaking yesterday as the Guest Lecturer at the combined ninth and tenth anniversary of Zik Lecture Series held at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, he admonished Nigerians to bury their differences in order to achieve a greater and fulfilled country.

The Ekiti Governor who is also the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) stressed the need to develop a democratic system in Nigeria that meets the expectations of Nigerians and restore people’s trust in the government they voted into office. Dr. Fayemi whose lecture was entitled “Nation-Building: Between Restructuring and Autonomy” pointed out that Nigerians must learn to manage their differences and do so in order to achieve the goal of a better and more perfect union.

According to him, “the indestructibility of Nigeria, as envisaged by Zik is indeed best assured when the majority of Nigerians are emotionally connected to Nigeria because of what Nigeria is able to do for them and in the quality of life it provides for its citizens.”

While arguing for the preservation of unity of Nigeria amidst agitations of groups like MASSOB and IPOB, Dr. Fayemi enjoined Nigerians to learn from experience of a smaller African country, South Sudan, which declared independence from Sudan in 2011 only for a fresh civil war to break out within the new nation two years after achieving self-determination which led to the death of about 400,000 people with over 4 million people displaced.

Contending further that the Nigerian situation no matter how dire it looks is not irredeemable, Dr Fayemi advocated the need to strengthen those pillars that unite Nigerians together rather than fanning the embers of disunity and disintegration which he said negated the ideals of nationalists like Dr. Azikiwe.

Dr. Fayemi said: “I am convinced that the problems that we are called upon to address and redress in building a better country are not beyond our grasp to tackle. With good faith and a generous dose of goodwill, we can, as we have done in various occasions in our history, summon that Nigerian genius to build on the things we have successfully erected together.

“We must strive to do so in the spirit of the kinds of noble values and principles that inflamed the spirit of a youthful Azikiwe to enrol at Lincoln University in a quest to discover the innate goodness in the human species with a view to building a better and freer world. We must never abandon the spirit of inquiry and discovery that led Azikiwe to join other nationalists to seek to create a nation-state founded on the best ideals of a citizenship anchored on freedom and justice. “We, the people of Nigeria,” must truly mean that our considered aspirations have fed into the document that would form the fundamental organising principle of our nationhood. The opportunities are there.

“The question of how to develop a democratic system that meets the expectations of our people and restore people’s trust in government; how to bring ethical principles, empathy and efficiency into the heart of government and leadership at all levels; how to harness our demographic advantage and translate our youth population into an asset rather than a time bomb; how to build a society that is governed by the rule of law; how to build an electoral system that is reliable and efficient; or how to build a trusted, dependable and efficient judiciary.

“All these are at the very heart of what I see as the broad package of restructuring that we need to work towards. It is a package around which we can forge a broad consensus. And I believe that we don’t need to go through another war or tear down our country in order to arrive at such a consensus. For me, this encapsulates the idea of nation building at its best. A contract must be founded on cohesion – a covenant to stay true to the agreed contract. All parties must agree to avoid contestations.

“Achieving a sense of common identity, strong institutions and shared values as a nation is a process of building trust and finding unity in difference. This is how we build the sort of national relationship that is not an exploitative social contract but a moral commitment that combines individual and state obligations. Permit me to conclude with this admonition. Regardless of how long it takes and whatever we do in-between, war or violence is never an option. I hold a Doctorate in War Studies. Therefore, I feel adequately qualified to speak about the futility of war and violence.

“There is absolutely nothing heroic about dying foolishly for a cause for which dialogue and negotiation can provide pathways to workable solutions. Whatever is worth fighting for, is worth staying alive for. I can very much hear this refrain flowing from the life experience and legacy of Nnamdi Azikiwe. And if the Great Zik were alive, this is precisely what he would be telling this august gathering. Let us hearken to his words of wisdom.”

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