Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy, and Development (SCDDD), and stakeholders have called on Nigerians to work for the peace, unity, and prosperity of the nation irrespective of their religious, tribal and political differences.
The stakeholders at a Roundtable Engagement on National Cohesion organised by SCDDD and supported by the MacArthur Foundation, said that the call was imperative to ensure security and development in Nigeria.
Amb. Brownson Dede, former Nigerian Ambassador to Ethiopia and acting Board Chairman, SCDDD, said, “Nigeria is our own and we must make it work.’’
Dede said that before the 2023 General Elections, Nigeria witnessed renewed strains of political-cum-religious violence and intolerance which almost led to political instability.
” This was amidst the banditry, militancy and organized kidnapping in some sub-regions of the country.”
According to Dede, the situation became a concern to the centre and it reconstituted its ‘Council of the Wise’ to utilise their skills, moral position, and convening power to foster peaceful 2023 elections that focused on nation-building.
” Today, the centre and its council are glad that the interventions across the country have yielded the expected result.
“This is by seeing Nigeria remain a united and indivisible nation despite its enormous and not insurmountable challenges before and after the elections.
” Now that the elections are over and a new administration is constituted, we owe it a duty as citizens to continue with critical national conversations.
” This is to promote, quality leadership and effective representation championed by constructive dialogue.”
Dede reiterated SCDDD’s commitment to research, policy analysis, advocacy, and training in the areas of conflict prevention, management, democracy, and sustainable development in Nigeria and Africa.
The Keynote Speaker, Prof. Remi Sonaiya, who spoke on National Security and a Secured Polity, said the roundtable was apt aimed at constructive engagement.
This, according to him, will strengthened national cohesion, ensure good and accountable governance in the Nigerian polity.
” The indices of good governance are undisputable: justice and fairness for all, adherence to the rule of law and inclusivity, all of it leading to a safe, secure and stable state in which people live in relative comfort and dignity.
“In such a state there is a shared sense by citizens that they are included in the project of governance, that they are not marginalised or left behind.”
Abimbola urged Nigerians to do more in holding their elected representatives to account.
He also enjoined citizens to continue to push for devolution of power, adding that the governments at all levels should give listening ears to the people.
Mr Aliyu Ibrahim,a former member of the House of Representatives, stressed the need for Nigeria to define a cohesive and well-articulated consensus-based national identity to tackle the challenges facing the country.
Ibrahim said ,“Unless we have a national identity as a fulcrum ,as a rallying point, nothing else can develop.
” We have to define what it means to be a Nigerian.We have failed in the quest for national identity and as long as we don’t have a national identity, forget about it.
” All the small nation states like Korea, Malaysia, Rwanda, Togo, Ethiopia have this but we don’t ,yet we are bigger than them in population, with more natural resources and manpower.
“So, we have to distil what is common to every ethnic nationality in Nigeria and every religion in Nigeria. Then we begin to build from the grassroots up to the national leve.’’
Mr Sani Yabagi ,National Chairman ,Inter-party Advisory Council(IPAC), said that a system of accountability needed to be put in place to curb impunity .
According to Yabagi , Nigeria is a country that has a lot of potentials.
” And its high time citizens began to unlock those potentials so as to grow the economy and stabilise the polity.
” Every other thing revolves around how we handle the economy and its impact on the average citizen ;the issue of education is key.
“This is because through that, people become self sufficient to begin to hold power to account and to contribute in all spheres of life because they are equipped at that point.
“ So, this workshop is aimed at sensitising Nigeria’s to be aware of their environment, and what should be their own contributions because we have a lot to contribute.
” Its about a collective effort and without you its not complete, so every Nigerian should stand and be counted for an inclusive, progressive nation and sustainable democracy.’’
Source: News Agency of Nigeria