Posted by News Express | 17 November 2021 | 444 times
By CHARLES IWUOHA
Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has warned that the call for secession, championed by some zones in the country was not a guarantee of a brighter future for such regions.
Fayemi while delivering a keynote address at the 9th and 10th Anniversary of Zik's Lecture Series held at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, spoke on the theme; Nation-building: Between Restructuring And Autonomy.
Fayemi said: ”None of us chose to be Nigerian, we only grew to see ourselves in this geographic location called Nigeria and we have two options before us: to make it work or to go our separate ways.
“The latter option has never proven to be better or sustainable. My argument has always been that we cannot speak of national development without first resolving the key issues of nation-building.
"I make bold, therefore, to say that the security challenges that are confronting us in all their various dimensions and ramifications, and all the issues of governance instability that we are confronted with are directly consequential upon our inability to settle some fundamental questions of nationhood and find points of convergence in a plural society like ours.
“Where the very existence of the nation itself is easily brought to question at the slightest provocation, it should serve as a warning to us that the very foundation upon which the nation stands is either weakening or has collapsed.
“In either case, measures aimed at reinforcing that foundation must be adopted speedily. Settling our foundational challenges, and doing so frontally, is a sine qua non for the successful forging of consensus that is needed for moving the country forward with a unity of purpose, a common vision of our greatness, shared values of solidarity, and a sense of equity, and justice.”
Fayemi said restructuring was a better option to attain nation-building. “If separation and secession are not as easy or simple as their proponents imagine, and given that they do not provide any guarantees that a better future can be secured through them, the demands for a national restructuring would seem to me to be worth keeping on the table for deeper consideration.
“In doing so, we have a duty to frame and contextualise the quest for restructuring as part of a normal process of regular and periodic adjustment and recalibration of governance arrangements to changing times and contexts.
“This would represent a departure from the negative and adversarial connotations which proponents and opponents have attributed to the idea of restructuring, turning it into another source of rancour, recrimination, and division.
“However, at the end, when all the dust around the issue settles, we find that we are all confronted with the same fundamental question: How do we make Nigeria work best for every Nigerian? Like the great Zik posited, how do we build a nation where the safety of every citizen is assured and where there would be equal opportunities for all, regardless of the language they speak, the place they come from, or how they worship God.”
The Governor praised Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, who, he said, envisioned a country that would be “perpetual and indestructible” on account of its ability to remain adaptive and responsive to the shifting challenges and its commitment to meet the aspirations of every generation of Nigerians.
“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.
“In essence, the legitimacy of the nation-state is not in making demands of patriotism but in the quality of life it provides for its citizens towards building mutual trust and the common good.
“The question, therefore, is this: is Nigeria as currently structured capable of delivering the full benefits of citizenship to every Nigerian? The answer to this is obvious. Certainly, the growing army of our frustrated and disenchanted youths do not think so.
“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 on various occasions in our history, summon that Nigerian genius to build on the things we have successfully erected together.
“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 to arrive at such a consensus.”
He concluded by saying that regardless of how long it took and whatever Nigerians choose to do, war or violence was not options.
“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,” he said.
•PHOTO: L-R: Ekiti State Governor/Guest Lecturer, Dr Kayode Fayemi; Vice Chancellor, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Prof. Charles Esimone; Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State, Dr Eric Kelechi Igwe; and Secretary to the Government of Anambra State, at the combined ninth and tenth anniversary of the Zik lecture series at the Unizik Campus, Awka, Anambra State…on Tuesday
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