NETWORK AND ADVOCACY GROUP OF LUX TERRA LEADERSHIP FOUNDATIONS’ STATEMENT ON THE STATE OF THE NATION [NIGERIA]
We are concerned about the increasing polarisation of the Nigerian nation along ethno-geographic and religious fault lines; an unfortunate situation, which has contributed immensely to the complex web of security challenges that confronts Nigeria currently. We are also concerned about the seeming inability of governments at all levels to fulfil their fundamental purpose of providing welfare and security for the citizens of Nigeria as a result of their actions or inactions.
The sharp division of the Nigerian people along ethno-geographic and religious fault lines has resulted in an acrimonious relationship between the various ethnic nationalities of Nigeria with accusations and counter-accusations of marginalisation, discrimination, exclusion and injustice resulting in a tensed socio-political atmosphere. In addition to the toxic scramble over the sharing of government patronage, the stiff competition for limited land and aquatic resources by the various cultural economic groups in Nigeria has complicated the already complex web of security challenges in the country.
Apart from the Boko Haram insurgency in the north east and murderous activities of cross-border bandits in the North West, the upsurge in the militant activities of separatist agitators in the south east and south west of Nigeria have left the country with familiar features of a failing state. With Nigerians increasingly pulling apart, the Nigerian nation is clearly unable to evolve a national consensus about how to solve its numerous challenges and come up with a common front to effectively contain the heightening state of insecurity.
The latest terrorist attack on St Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo state Nigeria, which left many worshipers dead and many more wounded is a shocking reminder that Nigeria is a nation at war with itself, where the sanctity of human life is violated daily. Like the killings of Deborah Yakubu and Harira Jubril along with her four children in Sokoto and Anambra states before it, we condemn in strong terms the attack on St Francis Catholic Church Owo, Ondo state and call on the government to stop these killings and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Having observed the current state of the Nigerian nation, we have come to the conclusion that a lack of social justice, citizenship rights, proper diversity management, peaceful coexistence and conflict resolution mechanism is the foundation of Nigeria’s multifaceted challenges. And we have resolved to work with well-meaning and patriotic Nigerians across all divides to unite our country Nigeria and pull it back from the brink of state failure. To this end, we hereby make the following appeal to the government and people of Nigeria;
- Ahead of the 2023 general elections, we call on government at all levels to improve governance, tackle insecurity and provide welfare for the Nigerian people, as we have observed with sadness that the political leadership of Nigeria at all levels are mostly pre-occupied with the politics of 2023 general elections to the detriment of governance even in the midst of heightened insecurity and economic crisis.
- 2That Nigerians should unite irrespective of differences in ethnicity, religion or region of origin in order to defeat our common enemy in insecurity. Nigerians are one people and our diversity, which can be likened to the beautiful feathers of one big and strong bird, should be source of strength and not a reason for our weakness.
- To strengthen the unity of Nigeria and demonstrate the oneness of the Nigerian people, governments at all levels should dismantle all forms of nepotistic and sectional administrative machinery that exclude and marginalize some Nigerians on the basis of their ethnicity, religion or region of origin and reconstitute one that is inclusive and reflective of Nigeria’s rich diversity. Similarly, in the conduct of its business, government at all levels should henceforth eschew sectional tendencies and its policies and programmes should always be inclusive of all Nigerians.
- To strengthen the course of social justice, we urge Nigerians to accommodate one another and respect the constitutional right of every Nigerian to reside anywhere within the federation without limitations to their political and economic rights as citizens of Nigeria. In the same vein we urge Nigerians to eschew all forms of criminality, live peacefully and obey the laws of their places of residence.
- To enhance the peaceful coexistence of Nigerians in our various communities, governments at all levels should enforce law and order impartially and dispense justice without fear, favour or discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, religion, region of origin or occupation.
- We also call for continuous dialogue, understanding, accommodation and tolerance among the people of Nigeria in order to strengthen the mechanism of conflict resolution and prevent the resort to violence to seek redress.
Dr Inya J. Ode
For: The Secretariat
Network and Advocacy Group
Lux Terra Leadership Foundation