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Nigeria sprinting full speed towards disaster, says Atiku

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Atiku Abubakar

Says country’s unity negotiable

Nigeria’s former vice president Atiku Abubakar has said the country is sprinting full speed towards disaster and called for an urgent need to fix it.

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Atiku stated this in Abuja on Thursday at a national dialogue and public presentation of the book Remaking Nigeria: Sixty Years, Sixty Voices edited by Dr Chido Onumah.

He said Nigeria has become a safe haven for kidnappers, bandits to the extent that their nefarious activities would become a major industry.

He said criminals have been allowed to operate so openly and brazenly that it would surprise no one if they applied for registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission and listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange

The former vice president further said provisions on federal character have been ignored and even symbolic gestures to make all groups feel that they are part of the Nigerian family have been scorned as though they are a sign of weakness.

“It is obvious that a country is not necessarily a nation; nationhood has to be forged through what we do as a country, and leadership is critical in the process of nation-building” Atiku said.

“In my view, we must restructure our country in a manner that allows various segments to develop at their own pace and not be held back by the centre or other segments. Developed segments will spur development in other segments because what they do well will attract the attention of others. That may make a Nigerian union more attractive and nation-building easier. Our poor nation-building record should not be an excuse for developmental inaction or backwardness.

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“I find it amusing when people declare Nigeria’s unity as fixed and non-negotiable while doing everything in their power to destroy that fragile unity. Nothing in the relationships among peoples is fixed for eternity. You cannot declare your marriage as non-negotiable while doing everything to sow seeds of discord in that same marriage.

“There were deliberate attempts made since the 1960s to forge a nation out of Nigeria: states creation, federal character, the NYSC, power rotation, unity schools, and multiple federal agencies. However imperfect, these were genuine attempts at giving each segment of the country a sense of belonging and a semblance of justice and equity and promote interactions among our peoples. All it has taken is one administration in six short
years to tear up the fabric of that unity and make more Nigerians lose faith in Nigeria and question the rationale for having one united country.”

Ekiti state governor and key note speaker at the occasion, Dr Kayode Fayemi said nations building is an unfinished business adding that every generation must discover their nations and fulfill it or betray it.

He said it is an illusion for anyone to believe that Nigeria can actually reach perfection from foundation while noting that no nation is satisfied with it’s present status as every nation at all times tries to better its best and reach new height.

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“For us as a people, our focus should be on how we can reinvent our nation, work for the prosperity of our people and ensure peace” Fayemi added.

In his address, editor of the book, Dr Chido Onumah said this book is a product of discussion on what needs to be done to rescue Nigeria maintaining that the problems confronting Nigeria are not problems to be resolved by wishful thinking.

He said the book critically examined Nigeria’s social, economic, political situation and and explore the options opened to us, suggest souktiins and how to actualize them.

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