By; MATTHEW UKACHUNWA, Lagos
Government and leaders of Nigeria have been urged to desist from managing the affairs of the country in a way and manner that can cause political upheavals and war.
Professor (Senator) Banji Akintoye called for this caution in Lagos at a conference marking the 50th anniversary of the end of the Nigerian Civil War titled “Never Again.”
Akintoye expressed fear that events that are happening in the country at present are similar to those that led to the civil war.
He said, “I have good reasons to fear that the character of the affairs of our country these days, and the prevailing mood among us Nigerians, are chillingly similar to the character of the affairs of our country in the months leading to our civil war.”
According to him, the government of Nigeria is being managed in ways that make it look like an exclusive preserved of a particular minority.
He emphasized that there seems to be agenda being pursued to establish a minority in all positions of command in the Executive, Administrative, Judicial and Security services of Nigeria.
The lawmaker pointed out that protest by the majority is being ignored.
Illustrating his standpoint, Akintoye said: “The state of law is patently being subsumed to the needs of that agenda, with seriously damaging effects on human rights.
“These situations are inevitably fostering, among the peoples of the Middle Belt and South of our country, the feeling that they are being reduced to the status of conquered peoples in Nigeria.”
He narrated that some persons of the would-be minority conquerors are loudly threatening to over run and seize the ancestral homelands of the said peoples of the Nigerian Middle Belt and South.
The professor stated that the government seems to be purposed not to defend the threatened citizens.
Akintoye recommended restructuring of the country. “We Nigerians”, he remarked, “must restructure our country, with the objective of giving our country a true and generally acceptable federal structure under which the different sections of the country will be able to develop their resources.”
He advocated resect for rule of law, mutual respect, order and peace in Nigeria.
Nigeria is a country of many nations, he stated, adding that by ignoring this fundamental fact, “we have almost continuously let our country wobble and teeter on the brink of violent implosion.
“We fought and ended a civil war, but we have never really moved measurably away from the brinks of civil war.”
Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, in his message on the occasion enjoined leaders and citizens to create platforms to dialogue and proffer ideas on how Nigerians can live in peace with one another.
He declared: “I urge all Nigerians to ensure that we avert another civil war in Nigeria.
“Our commitment to Nigeria must be total and patriotic. To me our Nigeria of today of over 500 ethnic groups of diverse socio-cultural and religious colorations and spread across 774 local government areas and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) is worthy of your support and defence.”
Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, said that one of the ways to say “Never Again” is to enthrone principles of democracy in Nigeria, warning: “No nation has ever survived two civil wars.”
During his presentation at the event, Soyinka often repeated the question: “When is a nation?”