Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
A former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, yesterday asked President Muhammadu Buhari and members of the National Assembly to address the worsening security situation in the country, urging them to do something urgent to arrest the drift before Nigeria fails.
Anyaoku who spoke at a book launch in honour of a former judicial icon, Justice Dadi Onyeama, in Abuja, pointed out that the emerging scenarios in the land were ominous signs that needed to be checked without further delay.
“Let me now come to my message to President Buhari and all members of our National Assembly. The message is two-faced: Nigeria is on the brink, and our foremost national challenge is the management of our country’s diversity.
“Every diverse federal country throughout the world achieves political stability and socio-economic development through successfully managing its national diversity. There are two common keys to this. The first is having an inclusive central government, which gives the peoples of the component parts of the federation a sense of belonging that in turn underpins the sense of unity and patriotism in all the citizens.
“The second is having an adequate delegation of powers to the federating units to enable them to handle their internal security and significant aspects of their socio-economic development.
“However today, Nigeria is on the brink. For no objective observer, including those in the government, can deny that the current state of affairs in our country is extremely worrisome.
“We see an unprecedented diminution of national unity; we see an unprecedented level of insecurity of life and property with kidnappings and killings of human beings occurring virtually every day in many parts of the country including the seemingly unchecked violence by Fulani herdsmen which has spawned fractious controversies over the proposed Ruga policy by the federal government.
“For the sake of peace and integrity of the country, the Ruga policy must be handled with circumspection and strictly in accordance with our extant constitution’s provisions on the land tenure.
“And, we see that all these unwholesome developments are accompanied by a worsening level of poverty that is leading to Nigeria fast becoming the poverty capital of the world.
“I call on our president, the members of the National Assembly, the governors, and indeed, on all our political elites not to continue to live in denial of the seriousness of these glaring facts, which if not effectively addressed, are bound to push the country over the brink of a national disaster.”
The former Commonwealth scribe said that Nigeria is already blessed with what is needed to tackle the security challenges before they get out of hand.
“Fortunately, to provide insightful governance which would facilitate effective tackling of these challenges, Nigeria does not need to reinvent the wheel. If only the people in government and all concerned would learn from our history, thereby avoid validating the saying by the German philosopher, Friedrich, Hegel that ‘the only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history’.
“Because it is undeniable that Nigeria’s history has demonstrated that the economy attained a greater sense of national unity and faster progress in socio-economic development during its period as a true federal of more viable federating units with greater devolution of powers to them. The period was in the immediate years after the country’s independence under its 1960/63 constitutions.
“As I have stated on many occasions, I believe that the current travails of Nigeria will more effectively tackle if the country’s diversity is managed with a structure of governance that draws not only from the present lessons of successful diverse federations but more importantly, from Nigeria’s own past happier experience during its immediate post-independence years.”