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Ex DG NIALS calls for abolition of state of origin, indigeneship


Epiphany Azinge

Former Director General, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS), Professor Epiphany Azinge, has advocated abolition of state of origin and indigeneship from the constitution.

Prof. Azinge made the call at the weekend while speaking on the forthcoming inauguration of the Azinge Foundation in Abuja.
He noted that Nigeria is going through a critical junction in its national life, where hate speeches, so many divisive tendencies, centripetal forces, agitations and separatist movements are order of the day.

In view of these hydra-headed factors working against the country’s unity, the former DG of NIALS said Nigerians need to focus on detribalisation.

“We need to address the issue of detribalization. We do not need separation, we need to blend and harmonise as much as we can.

“We need to obviously put down the issue of State of Origin and Indigeneship, and emphasise the nucleus, that is Nigeria.

“I do not need anybody to ask me where am I from because I am a Nigerian. I am not from Delta, not from Asaba. I am from Nigeria; Delta, Asaba is secondary or tertiary if you want to use the expression in that order.

“If you want a united Nigeria, you must make all Nigerians believe that you are part and parcel of this country without equivocation.

“So, we need to address some of these issues, so that the people who are out there, will obviously appreciate that this country is not one where you will be narrow minded in whatever you are doing,” he said.

Against this backdrop, he said it was the considered position of the Foundation that all these issues are just indicative of the fact that the country is still holding unto some of the primordial sentiments of tribalism, ethnicity etc.

Azinge argued that to checkmate these divisive tendencies, anybody aspiring any leadership position in the country should be a detribalised Nigerian.

“If you do not show signs of being a detribalised Nigerian, you don’t have any right to aspire to the highest office in the country. That is my thinking because you cannot be narrow-minded as far as leadership is concerned.

“You must show us that sign of detribalised Nigerian, either directly or through your family members.

“If you don’t have that quality, you cannot lay claim to leadership position. That is the only thing that can forge the unity we desperately need in this country.

So, we don’t want anything that will take us away, Nigeria is a great country.

“It is only when you think that you don’t belong to a part, that you obviously discriminate against them.

More so, Azinge observed that “time was, when the fear was religious bigotry or divisive tendencies, but now, it is where are you from; who are you etc.

“What we have succeeded in doing for now is to suppress the issue of quit notice and agitation, by the time it comes up again, if nothing is done, then we are in trouble” he stated.

Part of activities lined up for the inauguration is the presentation of awards to former Presidents, Shehu Shagari, Goodluck Jonathan, former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, etc.

They will be recognised for being detribalised Nigerians.

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Epiphany AzingeNIALS
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