Kukah, Enelamah, Adeniyi, Others Warn Nigeria is on Dangerous Precipice

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Okechukwu Enelamah

• Utomi: Restructuring is not panacea for Nigeria’s challenges
Shola Oyeyipo
Notable Nigerians on Monday agreed that the current situation in the country characterised by hate speech, sectional agitations and separatist movements was precarious and requires urgent and strong collaboration between the leaders and the followers to curtail it and bring about peace and unity.

This was the position collectively taken by eminent Nigerians, including the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah; the Bishop of Sokoto Catholic Dioceses, Bishop Mathew Kukah; Chairman, THISDAY Editorial Board, Mr. Segun Adeniyi; former Super Eagles player, Chief Segun Odegbami; and Professor Pat Utomi, while speaking at “The Platform,’’ a national discourse forum organised by the Covenant Christian Centre in Lagos.

Kukah, who addressed the topic: ‘Weakness of Power’, was particularly disturbed about the ethnic fault lines now common among the people of Nigeria, noting that every Nigerian feels disgruntled about various things.
“All of us are unhappy and I believe the president too is unhappy because this is not the country he sacrificed for. The president said he fought a civil war to keep Nigeria as one, but if we fought a civil war over 40 years ago and the problem persists, then it means something is wrong.

 “The country has become chaotic. Collectively, we are frustrated in Nigeria. The issue now is, how do we process this anger?” He asked, stressing that “where we are now, anything can go wrong because we are at a tipping point. Nigeria is on a dangerous precipice and we must therefore be careful.”
According to him, anger is prevalent everywhere in the country, and the people are seeking means of expressing their anger, therefore, he argued that the best option is to address their grievances and not attempt to silence the people.

But despite this, he opined that the people should continue to enjoy their inalienable right to talk.
He however warned Nigerians against hate speech, which he said is always a prelude to massacre, adding that “we cannot begin to deploy hatred. Before every killing, you have to reduce the other person to justify the killing and that is what you do with hate speech.”

The cleric also expressed a situation where ethnicity is becoming a standard for evaluating persons.
But earlier, when delivering his keynote address, Enelamah, who had noted that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that Nigerians begin to feel the positive impacts of his leadership, said one major problem confronting the country is that not every hands are on the deck in the quest to change the Nigerian narratives positively.

According to him, “A fundamental flaw in the Nigerian debate is the absence of self-responsibility.” Drawing example from the Spanish miracle between 1959 and 1974 when Spanish technocrats brought about rapid development in the European country, he said: “It takes only one committed generation to build a Nigerian of our dream. We must start with the end in mind.”

He also stated that the current administration is working to change the Nigerian story by creating conducive environment for the people to thrive in their legitimate businesses.

The minister said: “We need to create an environment for us to succeed. Nigerians succeed outside the country but when you give them the same hurdle in Nigeria they fail. Government, civil society groups and the people must partner to inspire and foster the new generation of Nigerian to bring about a new Nigeria, and why not this generation?”

 Adeniyi, who on his part dwelled more on issues pertaining hate speeches, which he said is further putting Nigeria on the edge, cited the reversed Arewa Youth Consultative Forum ultimatum to Igbo in the North to quit, which though had been withdrawn, saying: “The damage done was unprecedented.”

He added that: “However, the fact was that the ultimatum was triggered by hate speeches made by Nnamdi Kanu and many elders from other climes who felt that the Igbo elders who were old enough to give birth to Kanu failed to call him to order and were genuflecting with him until the situation nearly got out if hand.”

The former presidential spokesperson therefore advised that “rather than directing our angers at other ethnic nationalities, we should look for ways to move the country forward because bad governance is not peculiar to the federal government; it also affects the states and the local governments.”

On his part, Odegbami said corruption is one of the banes of the growth of Nigeria. He drew inference from sharp practices in the sports sector, which he said ought to have been one of the veritable tools to move Nigeria forward through empowerment of youths.

Also, Utomi said restructuring alone would not solve Nigeria’s development challenges.
Utomi said empirical evidence showed no link between more resources and development in the country.
He said some states with less resources were more developed than some resource-rich states.
The APC member, therefore, said that the belief that the states would do better with more resources was a myth.

He added that only those states that made the people the core of their governance would develop.
Utomi decried the costs of governance at the various levels of government, saying the situation was a drain on the country’s resources.
He described governance in most states as poor, while saying local governments in the country were dysfunctional.

“The local governments in the country are dysfunctional and are a bloody waste of resources,’’ he said.
The former presidential aspirant said the country needed to be restructured in a way that the costs of governance would be reduced, so as to be able to deliver the goods.

He said the country fared better under the regional arrangement as it fostered healthy competition at minimal costs of running the government.

Utomi described the call for the creation of more states as antithetical to development.
He said states creation would only cater to the needs of the political elite through appointments and would not serve the peoples’ interests.
Utomi said the destiny of the country was in the hands of everyone and urged Nigerians to work for the progress of the nation.

  • Paulocaesar

    The Biafra Civil war is still on, and being prosecuted by Nigeria!… no matter how subtly disguised.

    The generation that sacrificed to save South Easterners during the first onslaught may have weakened with age, but each new generation such as NK’s puts 2+2 together and fail to get the 1&1/2 that their elders have come to accept and all other Nigerians believe to be their lot.

  • Lawrenece Ifo

    Adeniyi will continue to disgrace himself if he continue to imply that a truth that seems to hurt another one person/group amounts to a hate speech.
    The problem with the zoo is that every dick and Harry see him/herself as an authority who can determine what is accpetable or not.

    I expected Adeniyi to start by defining the meaning of hate speech.But the only thing he can come up with is just a mere vague assertion about Kanu which is just a smokescreen to cover up his hatred for him;simply because he not only challenged and exposed the oppressive social order but equally exposed the role of the Yoruba pastors in using the fallacy of hegemonic consciousness to validate it as a natural order. The zoo is a product of Hatred andee lies!!!

    So in his insular mindset,any speech that did not allign with his idea of what is good and acceptable is HATE.Arrogance.

    Why should it be hate to say that we are not one whereas it is glaring that we are not??
    How can disparate people start to love each other,whereas,subconsciously, they have no sense of inclination do that in the context of belonging to one entity??

  • bashkano

    Nigeria is not sick but some of its citizenry are, particularly the minority elites who always survive on the toils and sweats of the poor and gullible ones who are always the majority.. All these hues and cries are coming from these few elites. The majority poor are so entwined, entrenched and integrated together at the grass roots, all living happily and trying to make a living while the elites are so engrossed in making the country unstable for them because of their instituted aggrandizement. All the hullabaloo about the problems in the country are orchestrated and magnified by these few elites, most of them corrupt people. Structuring in any given situation is a dynamic phenomenon that nobody can do anything against it. It has to come as time changes and peoples orientations also change. But a durable structure or whatever one may call it is only obtainable via sensible people who come together with equanimity to make it happen.

    • Paulocaesar

      I wish I could just downvote you without having to spare a precious word.

      What is wrong with you people who seem to think you’re more Nigerian than NK?

  • KWOY

    Olusegun Adeniyi is a liar & an Igbophobist, like most other Yoruba! It is clear to all who know him! The bastard who described the Igbo cry out abt Fulani herdsmen’s mass murder in Uzouwani as ‘hysteria’ has justified the latest mass murder against armless peole in the SE in the Thisday Editorial, even against condemantions from the EU, US, UK, Saraki, Ozekhome & other consciencious People. The liar is mentioning Arewa youths here only in order to further find ground to condemn Nnamdi Kanu! The world knew the media wicked lies & putrid speeches with which the Yoruba fought Jonathan. Adeniyi the Igbophobist was a prominent part of it & that was no hate speech. Hate speech was what Yorubas invented in order to fight the Biafra campaigns with the media!

  • Paulocaesar

    Buhari is the problem!
    —Buhari was present and in full participation with the coupists who killed Ironsi and Fajuyi and commenced a genocidal pogrom against Igbos,.. a pogrom meant to penetrate into SE Nigeria until Ojukwu was appointed to say NO!… S.Easterners fought to save par and avoid the bogey intended by Buhari and his cohorts.
    Igbos are still alive and alert to the long game.

    —Buhari engineered the coupists that toppled Shagari, placed him under house arrest and threw South Easterners like Ekwueme in prison.

    —Buhari was instrumental in the murder of SE youth copper INEC volunteers who were counting votes in the North when Buhari lost to GEJ after Yar-aduah’s death.

    —Buhari has known of and tacitly overlooked the importation and flooding of sophisticated arms and ammunition into northern Nigeria for whatever reason

    The list goes on and on…

    Now Buhari is joining concerned Nigerians to wonder out loud about Nigeria’s deteriorating trajectory since independence:

    “HOW DID WE GET TO THIS???”….lol!

  • princegab

    No alternative to advancement, it either via restructure or via disintegration. The choice is left for apc.