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Nigeria, beyond the Easter celebration rhetoric

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Exactly a week ago, Christians in Nigeria joined their counterparts across the globe to mark/celebrate the great feast of Easter. Each time Nigerians celebrate this great feast, it’s not only a tradition but ritual of the sort that torrents of messages from public office holders in Nigeria, religious, socioeconomic and political leaders’ fly around the country.

Take as instance, President Buhari, in his 2021 Easter message signed by his Spokesman, Femi Adesina, reminded Nigerians that Easter celebration is an opportunity to renew hope and faith, show love and appreciation to one another and not to despair, no matter the challenges of the period, noting that Nigerians should not allow the antics of a few mischief mongers to fragment the unity and faith that the vast majority of citizens of this country cherish and believe in.

Among other concerns, we must ask; how as a nation, we can truly achieve a people-focused leadership in the country? Accelerate economic, social and cultural development? Make promotion of peace our dreams? And support of our industries and improvement of our energy sector our central objective?

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The future of our nation is full of opportunities as it is fraught with opportunity.  If we are able to manage the present disunity and re-order our tribal loyalty which is currently stronger than our sense of nationhood,  and navigate out of dangers of disintegration, it will once again, announce the arrival of a brand new great nation where peace and love shall reign supreme. But, then, we can never achieve such a feat without admitting that no nation enjoys durable peace without justice and stability without fairness and equity!

Public office holders must do away with the attitude that they are more nationalistic or patriotic than other citizens. Forgetting that globally, individuals, groups and communities have a right in decision making, planning and implementation of programmes that affect them. They must come to terms that government has a duty to enable people affected by its policies and programmes participate in ways capable of transforming their social, political and economic conditions rather than merely using them as instruments to legitimize predetermined goals and priorities.

Our leaders and policymakers must revisit and address the unending call for the nation’s restructuring.

Particularly as the factors fueling such call bother around misrule and propensity for corrupt nepotistic practices on the part of our leaders. Our primary concern should be to work out modalities for instituting a reorientation plan that will erase the unpatriotic tendencies in us as well as usher in a robust nation. Let us bear in mind also that restructuring a political entity called Nigeria is important but restructuring our mentalities is not just essential but fundamental.

• Utomi is the Programme Coordinator (Media and Policy), Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), Lagos. He could be reached via;jeromeutomi@yahoo.com/08032725374.

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