Sunday, November 22, 2020

Why National Unity Remains Elusive To Nigeria- UNESCO Laureate, And Crown University VC, Professor Sir Bashiru Aremu



UNESCO Laureate and Crown University Vice Chancellor Prof (Sir) Bashiru Aremu has blamed the loose amagalmation of 1914, ethnicity, sycophancy and religious bigotry as some of the reasons why national unity has been elusive to Nigeria, Core News reports.

The Vice Chancellor identified these at a virtual conference of Youth Assembly of Nigeria (YAN), where he delivered a paper titled, “DROPPING OUR DIFFERENCES PREREQUISITE TO ACHIEVE NIGERIA OF OUR DREAM.”

“I can identify loose amagalmation of 1914, ethnicity, sycophancy and religious bigotry as some of the reasons why national unity has been elusive to Nigeria,” he said.
He said instead that the development of a nation depends on the people’s ability to unite and work together, saying “It is very easy to mark the year 1914 as the year when the northern and southern protectorates of Nigeria was amalgamated.”

The don, however, stated, “but we need to ask ourselves one question, what efforts did we, as a people and as a nation, make to complement our amalgamation with respect to unity? We made little or no efforts and that birthed the 1967 civil war.

“We have let the call for one Nigeria fall on deaf ears, creating room for the agitation of the Indigenous People of Biafra,” he said.

He reiterated that it’s really unfortunate that the five-letter word, unity, has prevented us from getting to where we should be, ” though badly bruised by the absence of national unity, we’re yet to conquer.”

UNESCO Laureate and Crown University Vice Chancellor Prof (Sir) Bashiru Aremu
He continues:”We are yet to achieve this dream of oneness, a state of tranquility and togetherness. Yes, we adopted mantras such as “the unity of the nation is not negotiable” but we have failed to prove it.”

Aremu retorted: “Counting from 1914, we are over 100 years old and even when we received our independence in 1960, we aimed for solidarity and unity.
He said it is appropriate to take giant strides to work together rather than clamoring and singing for sycophancy, ethnicity and lastly religious bigotry.

The professor opined that these elements were also buttressed by the fact that if the country needs to attain successes the following three elements must be tackled diligently.

He pointed that what must be our major priority in this country is how to address corruption and infrastructure gap.

He, however, said that all we got was disagreement and controversies among the diverse people and communities, threatening the nation’s coexistence and development.

“Maybe we just don’t understand the significance of national unity and the important role it plays in the sustenance of democracy especially as we are an internationally recognized republic, ” he stated.

Aremu rather relied on Abraham Lincoln saying, “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” to drive home his point.

He said with the quote, we are made to understand that unity builds tolerance towards difference which yields cooperation, adding but cooperation as a value brings forth growth alongside many other attributes such as integrity, freedom and most importantly, patriotism.

While asserting unity is the secret spice for a solid foundation for democracy, he agreed that unity promotes development across all ramifications of the society, be it social, economic, political, sports and tourism.

He retorted that unity equals good guidance.
He said a lot of people misconstrued and misinformed that our ranging problems be attributed to what they refer as the mistake of 1914, or the idea that Nigeria was a mere geographical expression.

“As such, in moments of anger and distraction, some youths have simply say in many occasion, well, let every group go its way because we were never meant to be one country in the first place, “he recalled.
But he said he considered it as broken tongues, stating “I argue that our differences should be an asset not a liability. Rather than come together to pull these threads of differences into a beautiful mosaic, our leaders have often sought halfhearted solutions, more out of ignorance than malice.”

“Devoid in the art of statecraft, at the level of geopolitics, we have been used against one another, divided into many factions and fractions, through the creation of new states, local government, new cultural spaces (Chieftaincies).

“Thus, wherever the pieces fell from this balkanization, new identities and new animosities emerged as yester night’s victims became today’s oppressors.

“If you can see many top Nigerians grew up, attended the same schools with other tribes and religions and had big dreams for our dear country, but found each other to be used cowardly to the womb of ethnicity and religion bigotry, ” he stated.

He identified that over the years, it is evident that unity is the most vital element for Nigeria’s overall development because though the government has fulfilled some other requirements necessary for development, the absence of unity has brought other efforts to ruins.

He recalled how the government has tried rendering solutions from one regime to the other, but pointed out that they should understand that if you cut a moringa tree from the stem, the root stump will grow again.

The academic called on the nation to sit down, both the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, the militant and the civilian, the rulers and the ruled, to ponder over the root of our problem.

He opined this will help us in getting to the root cause of division in Nigeria.

In addition, he equally identified the major hindrance to achieving national unity as the colossal scale of corruption from the federal government down to the grassroots of our government. The same way we have failed to fight corruption is the same way we have failed to become united.

Quoting a United Nations Report on Nigeria’s common country analysis- “Nigeria is a deeply divided society considering the plurality of ethnic, religious and regional identities that define her political existence.

“Since independence in 1960, Nigeria has struggled to sustain national integration. For decades, different segments of Nigeria’s population had, at different times, expressed feelings of marginalization, of being short-changed, dominated, oppressed, threatened, or even targeted for elimination.”

He , however, said since United Nations is more or less an umbrella for the world and this statement goes to show that national unity in Nigeria is a dream not close to being achieved.

The Vice Chancellor also agreed that the nation’s ordeal is not entirely hopeless, qouting:Mattie Stepanek once opined, “Unity is strength…when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.

“We may not be united today but if we work hand in hand, putting away our differences, national unity can become a reality. Achieving national unity is a struggle that involves both the government and the people.”

He concluded that government, can contribute to national unity solely by putting the Constitution first, saying, “if the leaders can adhere to the dictates of construction on unity sincerely, all would be well.”

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