By Philomina Attah
The Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III, has called on all Nigerians to ensure national unity and cohesion towards ensuring peaceful, free and elections come 2023.
Abubakar made the call at a one-day National Unity Conference of The Alumni Association of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (AANI) on Tuesday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the conference is: “Nigeria’s National Unity in the build up to the 2023 General Elections”.
Abubakar, who is the Chairman, Heritage Council of AANI, said the problem of Nigeria could only be addressed by Nigerians themselves, adding that elections must not be seen as a do or die affair.
He said it was important for the nation to go back to where it missed the road, adding that Nigeria must retrace its steps towards building a better society.
“We have had series of talk shows like this across the country in the last two, three or four years and we are still having more all towards bringing stability, sanity, understanding, love respect amongst all of us as Nigerians.
“If anyone is telling you that everything is well in this country he is telling you lies and we have had so many times to say it in front of Mr. President.
“Things are not normal and I think to know that you have a problem, you have half of the solution. The other part of the solution of the problem is what we are looking for as part of this conference.
“Let us continue to talk to one another, let us not get tired of talking to one another,” he said.
Abubakar called on all Nigerians to see their diversity as an act of God, adding that God was never wrong to have allow the different ethnic groups to coexist as a nation.
“For us to be united, we must know who we are and we must know our history.
“We now have people who don’t know history in their youth. All they do is to insult leaders and call people names, call other ethnic nationalities derogatory names and if you don’t stop that, you cannot get unity that you are all shouting for,” he said.
AANI President and former Inspector-General of Police, Muhammed Abubakar, said that Nigeria like all countries of the world was not immune to developmental challenges.
Abubakar said the nation had had its own share of political, economic and social crises, occasioned by poor planning, inadequate management, lack of accountability
He listed others to include: poor citizen participation and in particular, non- implementation of robust policy frameworks and strategies to drive the critical sectors of the economy.
These, he said had resulted in stunted economic growth which promoted poverty, unemployment and crimes that snowballed into insurgency, kidnappings and armed conflicts in many parts of the country.
Abubakar said the misfortunes were threatening the unity, security, economy and all aspects of the nation.
He said that AANI decided to convene the conference with composition cutting across diverse backgrounds.
He said the aim was to interrogate the circumstances that led to the current state of affairs and proffer realistic and workable recommendations and implementation strategies for a more united, peaceful and prosperous Nigeria.
“As we approach the forth coming general elections, there is the urgent need to address all contentious issues and debilitating circumstances, in order to create an enabling environment for the orderly transfer of power that will deepen our democracy.
“This conference therefore provides opportunity for stakeholders, to hold frank and dispassionate discussion on the magnitude of the challenges facing our country and participate in developing adequate recommendations and a realistic road map, for their implementation.
“No doubt there is an urgent need for a change of attitude and the world view of the average Nigerian, especially the elites and the political class, who have responsibility to provide effective and purposeful leadership, for the transformation of this country.
“There must be a comprehensive strategy and aggressive advocacy to stabilize the polity and promote a proactive agenda for the development of our dear country, Nigeria.
“We must rededicate ourselves to the ‘Project Nigeria’ and provide durable solutions to the prevailing situation in the country.
“This requires comprehensive planning and the enthronement of accountability, good governance and sustained advocacy throughout the country,” he said.
AANI president said that NIPSS had contributed immensely in addressing Nigeria’s developmental challenges, by engaging in research and advocacy that had proffered several recommendations and implementation strategies, on virtually all aspects of political, social and economic lives.
According to him, there is the need for a policy framework for the implementation of the research findings and recommendations from NIPSS, many of which are left to gather dust on the shelves. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Julius Toba-Jegede