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Take advantage of National Confab, Utuama tells Nigerians

By News Express on 02/06/2014

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Delta State Deputy Governor, Prof. Amos Utuama, SAN, has called on Nigerians to take advantage of the opportunity presented by the National Conference to evolve a more inclusive Nigerian polity in which every citizen is a proud owner of the country and thus restore the country to its great promise.

Prof. Utuama made the call at the weekend at the 8th Convocation Lecture of Delta State University (DELSU), Abraka. He advocated the federal model of government inherited from the colonial administration to be properly structured to create a well-coordinated federal system of government that is capable of providing socio-political inclusiveness for all Nigerians irrespective of ethnic and religious background.

According to Prof. Utuama, “Given Nigeria’s tribal, religious, linguistic and geographical mixes, all that needs to be done is to remove the flaws in the federal structure in order to strike a balance between ethnic loyalty and national patriotism and reduce the tension and distrust among majority and minority ethnic groups so as to create a sense of ownership of Nigeria for everyone. Therefore, I will strongly advise our delegates and all Nigerians to take full advantage of the on-going National Conference to fashion out a country that all will be willing to identify with more readily.”

In the lecture entitled ‘A Country in Search of Self – The Nigeria Experience’, Utuama highlighted the heterogeneous characteristics of the country that gives it different images of its colonial genes, plurality of ethnicities and languages.

According to him, Nigeria is yet to attain “its own self” as distinct from those of its ethnic nationalities which have their respective selves. He lamented that the issues of majorities versus minorities, multi-religious accentuation of the polity have conspired to deny the country a self of its own that is an inclusive nationhood.

Utuama noted that the consistent and persistent focus on controlling the sharing of the “national cake” with little concern for the way a cake is baked and the ingredient in it, and who supplies them, has proved self-defeating and conflict-inducing.

He argued that the critical role ethnicity plays in the individual life of the average Nigerian remains huge, adding that there is strong rivalry between ethnocentrism and patriotism. He regretted that Nigeria is unfortunately as severely divided as the number of ethnic groups in the country.

His words: “Worse still, the upsurge of Boko Haram in the Northeast of Nigeria has added a further dimension in fanning the ambers of ethnic chauvinism and what seems to be a rejection of the country as one.”

The lecture was graced by important dignitaries, among them the wife of the state deputy governor, Dr. (Mrs.) Nelly Utuama; DELSU Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Eric Arubayi and his wife; Commissioner for Higher Education, Prof. Hope Eghagha; Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Barr. Newworld Safugha, and state lawmakers, among others.

•Photo shows Prof. Utuama.

Source News Express

Posted 02/06/2014 6:22:02 PM





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