RIGHTSView: WILL NIGERIANS EVER UNITE?

Posted by Emmanuel Onwubiko | 28 May 2014 | 4,095 times

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There is now a unanimity of positions from the usually fractious segments of the Nigerian society that Nigeria is undergoing, perhaps, the toughest period in her political history, since after the fratricidal civil war in which over three million citizens perished.

The range of bloody violence and insurgencies of all dimensions and, especially, the unprecedented bombing attacks by the armed Islamic insurgents, Boko Haram, over the last three years, Nigeria is facing serious challenges to her survival and, understandably, the current federal administration is rated as one of the most antagonised civil administration in the political annals of Nigeria. President Good luck Jonathan has over the past three years introduced multi-dimensional strategies to resolve these unrests and violence of monumental dimension.

To assist the Federal Government, some patriots have made their individual and collective efforts to seek a permanent solution to these crises and bring about smooth-running of democratic structures in all parts of Nigeria. On May 19, a gathering convened by the Kaduna-based civil society activist, Mr. Umar Farouk, came together under a platform known as the United Nigerians Forum, with the singular mandate of drumming up support for a national momentum to tackle the spate of terrorist attacks and to find peaceful and evidence-based resolutions of the many problems undermining the development and progress of democracy, the rule of law and respect for the fundamental human rights of Nigerians. 

I was represented at the event by an assistant, Mr. Wonah Andrew Ogri, who filed in a report showing that those who attended this symposium were drawn from various high profile governmental and non-governmental offices, including delegates from the ongoing National Conference. Also present was a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and one of the most respected  constitutional lawyers in Nigeria, Chief Mike Ozekhome, who presented a richly researched paper calling for the enthronement of viable democracy and support for the current federal administration to bring development to all parts of Nigeria.

The leader of northern delegates to the ongoing National Conference in Abuja, Ambassador Yussuf Yaro Mamman, chaired the event.

In his speech, Comrade Farouk explained that the United Nigerians Forum is a not-for-profit organisation, and that it aims at the promotion of good governance in a peaceful and egalitarian society.

He said that the group's effort would be geared towards propagating, supporting and sustaining the vision, ideas and philosophy of good democratic practices.

 He quoted Sir Ahmadu Bello (Sardauna of Sokoto), the late Premier of the defunct Northern Region said: “We believe firmly that there will be no future for any of us in Nigeria unless our federation represents a truly united nation: loyal to our people, loyal to our common interests, without regards to differences in faith or regional origin…”

The chairman of the symposium, Ambassador Yaro Mamman, in his opening remark did said that Nigeria of his dream is “Nigeria where Religions, tribes, should be avoided; Nigeria where everyone should be seen as one, no religion, no tribalism.”

There were eight speakers at the symposium, namely: Major Gen. Chris Olukolade, Hajia Aisha Bako, Dr. Kunle Fagbemi, Hajia Ramatu Bala Usman, Ambassador C. l. Lasehinde, Segun Adeniyi, Bankole Afilaka and Dr. Inusa Tanko

One of the speakers, Hajia Aisha Bako, said in her presentation that Nigeria of her dream is “Nigeria where citizens should take charge of themselves in terms of security; Nigeria where everyone should be important regardless of their status, whether (poor or rich); Nigeria where equal rights should be our major priorities.  She concluded by saying that Nigeria of her dream should be Nigeria where people should be respected not because of their position but because it is the right thing to do.” 

Mr. Wonah, my staff in his report stated that the last speaker and a youth activist Mr. Bankole Afilaka began by observing a minute silence for all those that have lost their lives in the course of fighting against terrorism even as he disclosed that the Nigeria of his dream should be Nigeria where youth are leaders of today not tomorrow because “tomorrow as they say have never come to an end. For every today will surely have tomorrow.” 

RIGHTSVIEW appears twice a week on Wednesday and Saturdays, in addition to special appearances. The Columnist, popular activist Emmanuel Onwubiko, is a former Federal Commissioner of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission and presently National Coordinator of Human Rights Writers’ Association of Nigeria (HURIWA).


Source: News Express

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