Nigeria’s unity is non-negotiable – Obaseki

Godwin Obaseki, the governor of Edo State, has declared that Nigeria’s unity is “non-negotiable” even as the call for restructuring and secessionist movements continue to grow in the country.

Prominent Nigerians attempted to answer the questions surrounding the on-going agitations for restructuring Nigeria at the 20th Wole Soyinka Lecture held in Benin City, Edo State on Friday, August 4, 2017.

In attendance were Wole Soyinka, Africa’s first Nobel laureate in literature, Godwin Obaseki, the governor of Edo state who served as the chairperson of the event, Adams Oshiomhole, the former governor of Edo State, and Itse Sagay, the chairperson of President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption committee.

The event, essentially, an All Progressives Congress, APC event, was titled, Nigerian State in the Aftermath of the Centenary: Prospect For its Indivisibility” witnessed Governor Obaseki saying that “Nigeria’s unity is non-negotiable” while maintaining that it was possible to make Nigeria great and prosperous again.

Obaseki said that having the right leadership at all levels of government and the different aspects of life was the panacea to the recurring problem of the clamour for self-determination in the country.

The Edo governor asked, “The question of whether Nigeria has come to stay is a non-issue. The real issue is what sort of country should we create for ourselves?”

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He explained that his administration was making concerted efforts to provide good leadership for Edo people and make positive impact in the lives of the youths to enable them take charge of their future.

He commended the organisers of the lecture, noting that the topic was apt and timely, considering the agitations across the country.

In his presentation, the guest lecturer and former governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, said what should be paramount in the minds of Nigerians should be how to make the Nigeria Project a viable reality.

He explained that what needed to be addressed in the country was the socio-economic structure as well as the problem of bad leadership which has corruption at its core.

“It is not in our interest that after 103 years of existence, we should be thinking of dividing. It is not a viable conversation that having lived this long together we should divide, rather we should think of ways of doing things differently for better results,” Oshiomhole said.

He frowned at the wasteful spending of scarce resources by some government officials, noting that resources should be properly channeled to improve the standard of living of the masses.

“The structural issue in the country needs to be addressed, the issue is really that of the very rich structure and the very poor structure. In addressing our challenges, we should restructure our attitude, character and value system and manage our resources well so that a very rich nation such as Nigeria will be able to take care of her poor people.”

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Also speaking, the chairperson PACAC, and a discussant at the lecture, Prof. Itse Sagay, said a return to true federalism would promote good governance in the country.

Sagay urged that states be given autonomy as a situation where state governments have been reduced to mere civil servants, depending on monthly allocation was not ideal. “Why should the center have all the resources and states be impoverished? This has led to the inability of state governments to carry out their responsibilities.’’

In conclusion, Soyinka, in whose honour the event was held, called on all Nigerians to unite against the common enemy of corruption, stressing that in Nigeria, it is not actually one tribe that is against the other or one religion that threatens the other, rather it is the league of the corrupt that has caused impoverishment of the numerous ordinary people.

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