Nigeria at 61: Mark, Omo-Agege, Nnamani Preach Peace, Unity Among Citizens – THISDAY Newspapers
Deji Elumoye in Abuja
Former President of the Senate, Senator David Mark; the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege and former Governor of Enugu State, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani, have canvassed for peace and unity among the citizenry as Nigeria marks 61st Independence Anniversary on October 1.
The trio in separate Independence anniversary messages issued on Thursday asked Nigerians to forget the mistakes of the past and move on with one united nation.
In his message, Mark took stockof the nation’s chequered socio-economic and political history and called on citizens to bury old prejudices to religion, tribe or ethnic leanings believed to be antithetical to development.
He listed the misfortunes occasioned by the 30-month’s old Nigeria/Biafra civil war, several ethno-religious conflicts and agitations in some parts of the country as unfortunate incidents hindering developments.
Mark noted that the security, socio-economic and political challenges bedeviling the country demands that “we bury mundane issues of attachment to religion, ethnic or tribal leanings and come together to rescue Nigeria from the precipice.”
More than ever before former Chairman of the National Assembly stated that there is need to harp on the issues that binds Nigerians together.
To this end, he tasked governments at all levels to do all that is necessary to restore hope and rebuild citizens’ trust and confidence in leadership to actualize the project Nigeria.
“Nigeria has all it takes to overcome the challenges but government must live up to its responsibilities in order to earn the trust and confidence of the people.
“The journey has been torturous though eventful in many respects. There is strength in our diversity. Our government, religious and traditional leaders must continue to preach the message of hope and reignite the can-do spirit of Nigerians.”
Mark counseled against divisive tendencies and asked government to “ensue justice, equity and fairness in the distribution and allocation of resources to every part of the country to ensure that no section feels marginalized or shortchanged.
“I advise those fanning the embers of disintegration or war through hate speeches, kidnapping, banditry, terrorism and other societal ills to sheathe their swords for peace to reign”, the former Senate President stated.
He pointed out that no matter the anger in a man’s mind, killing or destruction of property cannot be a solution.
According to him, the road to justice may be slow but seeking redress through dialogue, judiciary or the legislature is a better option.
On his part, Omo-Agege called for oneness and renewed patriotism from all Nigerians.
He said Nigerians must unite behind the national flag, set aside the narrative of division, violence and hate, and replace them with the narrative of peace and unity.
The Deputy President of the Senate stressed that the country would surmount its present challenges and emerge stronger.
The ranking Senator harped on the need for citizens to demonstrate unity and love towards one another in order to achieve a better society.
He said: “Independence anniversary not only offers us opportunity to give thanks to God for preserving us despite the challenges but also a time to reflect on how we, as citizens and leaders, can contribute to strengthening our country, uphold peace and harmony and embrace the common humanity that shines so brilliantly through our diversity.
“Although we are passing through a myraid of challenges, nothing is insurmountable if we set our minds to it. With our never-say-never attitude, we can surmount our present challenges.
“I call on all Nigerians to renew faith with Nigeria as we commemorate another Independence anniversary”.
Omo-Agege who chairs the Senate Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution, revealed that the panel’s report would be presented anytime soon.
According to him, the focus of the Committee is how to manage the exercise in a fair, inclusive and transparent manner to meet the expectations of most Nigerians.
“We have made far-reaching recommendations on the 17 thematic areas under review. Very soon, our report would be presented for consideration,” he said.
In another message, Enugu East Senator, Dr Chimaroke Nnamani declared that an egalitarian society where every citizen feels a sense of brotherhood is feasible if justice, equity and fairness to all become the cardinal principles and hallmarks of governance in Nigeria.
According to him, the uncertainties in the socio-economic and political life of our country, agitations in some quarters as well as violent crimes in parts of the country could be curtailed if citizens feel a sense of belonging and accommodation in the Nigerian equation. Nnamani noted that agitations by some ethnic nationalities are traceable to the inequalities and exclusiveness in the scheme of things.
He bemoaned the unabating economic and security challenges , saying “ we need to review our approach with a view to fashioning out a workable solution to the intractable crises“.
The Senator pointed out that it does not require rocket science to address challenges facing the nation but a simple and honest application of administrative and psychological strategies to address the vexed issues of marginalization, inequality, impunity and disregard for the rule of law.
He dismissed as false the notion that Nigeria is a complex society to administer pointing out that those who resort to our emotional fault lines of ethnicity, tribe or religion to gain advantage over others are only myopic or incompetent.
The former governor added that Nigerians are ordinarily peace loving people but the greed and inequality perpetuated by a privileged few create the anxiety and insecurity in the system .
He believed that Nigeria can be redeemed from the present state of uncertainties if leaders at all levels show the light through adherence to the principle of the rule of law , equity and justice for all irrespective of status in the society.