Nigeria would have been better off in 100 years if not for military incursions —Akpabio

Posted by News Express | 27 February 2014 | 3,808 times

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Governor Godswill Akpabio has described 100 years of Nigeria’s existence as a chequered history due to frequent military incursions, saying that the country would have fared better without military intervention in governance.

Akpabio, who stated this while fielding questions from Government House correspondents in Uyo, noted: “My impression of Nigeria is chequered history in the sense that if we had democracy all along without military intervention in the country, we would have been better. We have achieved a lot in the last 14 years than we did in 35 years of military rule. That is my opinion and now we have opportunity to build. We should look forward to the next 50 to 100 years.”

The Akwa Ibom State Governor said the ethnic, lingual and religious differences should form part of the country’s strength as a nation with multi-diversity, expressing the hope that Nigeria would make it despite the differences. 

According to him, “We should learn from Egypt and the Nile River. People from all over the world came together and lived there because the land was fertile and the first civilisation in the world was born from there. So, Nigeria in spite of our large size and differences (since we are together), we have come together, we can make it work.” 

Akpabio called on Nigerians to work on the lapses for the good of the nation, saying: “We should look forward to the next 50 to 100 years – what would happen to Nigeria; we should start today. If we look backward, we will have regrets. We must go back to the basis; we must love one another, and every Nigerian must feel free in any part of this nation. We must de-emphasise tribe and religion, emphasise our ‘Nigerianness’ and give everybody equal opportunity. We should promote our ‘Nigerianess’ and give everybody equal opportunity from 2014.”

On the exclusion of Akwa Ibom State from the Nigerian centenary celebration, the governor explained that Nigeria’s existence for 100 should be basis for the celebration and not where the amalgamation figurines are situated.

His words: “We should celebrate Nigeria for being together for 100 years and not necessarily where the structures of amalgamation are located. I don’t want us to reduce the issue to where it was signed. If you look at it very well, there are people who even argued that Lord Lugard made a mistake by calling us Nigeria. People also insist that why must he bring us together, why didn’t he allow us to be two countries? The important thing is that we should celebrate the fact that 100 years after we are still together.

“I have seen that we have Amalgamation House in Akwa Ibom State, which was built by Lord Lugard. And I understand he was living there. It is clearly written there – the Amalgamation House built in 1914. Well, I wasn’t there in 1914 so I wouldn’t know if the amalgamation agreement was actually signed there. I think historians have to do a lot of work. I don’t know whether it was signed in Lokoja or whether it was signed in Ikot Abasi. At least, we have the Amalgamation House; it is evident that that was where Lord Lugard decided to build his Amalgamation House. I will invite the Office of the Secretary to Government of the Federation to visit the Amalgamation House and try to include it so that we can have a complete history.”

On his challenge as Chairman, PDP Governors’ Forum, Akpabio said the defection of some PDP Governors to the main opposition party posed a great challenge to him within one year of the forum.

Said he: “The challenge is the idea of people thinking that the only way they can aspire is through the opposition. The loss of some of my colleagues who decided to defect to opposition could be something that posed a lot of challenge because no party would like to lose a state Governor. But then what has happened is democracy in action.

“The reality is that most of them, their deputies did not go with them and over 90 per cent of their supporters say ‘no we are not going there’. Look at the rally the party is doing everywhere – supporters have come out in large number to say we are not going anywhere because this is the only national political party. Every person in this country craves for a sense of belonging and it is only PDP that can give Nigerians that sense of belonging.

“So, the joy of it is yes the followers are still intact. The main challenge the Forum has been the issue of defection of those few Governors. You know doors are still open, we are hoping in the next few months some of them will see the need to come back and join their kith and kin because it is not easy to go and line up in another political party when you had attained the level of a governor.”

Source: News Express

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