By Chimezie Godfrey
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar says it is possible for Nigerians to live as one united nation despite present challenges.
He made the assertion on Thursday in Abuja at a National Dialogue & Public Presentation of the book tittled,”Remaking Nigeria:Sixty Years, Sixty Voices.”
Atiku decried the fact that the APC-led administration has in its six years governance made Nigerians lose faith in the country than they have ever done.
He however, urged Nigerians not to take laws into their hands but be prepared to defend the nation’s democracy through democratic process.
“All it has taken for one administration is six short years to tear our fabric of unity and make more Nigerians loose faith in Nigeria.
“One lesson is that all of us we need to always be vigilant to prepare to defend our democracy, it is through the democratic process that we can more easily promote the unity of our country.
“I strongly believe that Nigeria can and will remain one strong and united country with significant stride in economic development to improve the lives of our people.
“However, we must not take it for granted, we must work hard at it and make necessary compromise to accommodate one another.
“Hard work and compromises are necessary for restructuring the country, especially in the relationship between the center, public and private sectors.
“We do not to reinvent to win, there are numerous examples of successes around the world for us to draw from while adapting to our local conditions.”
The Author and Editor of the Book, Mr Chido Onuma, in his presentation said that the book is a product of eleven years of planning, saying that the original idea was conceived in early 2010 to coincide with Nigeria’s 50th independence anniversary.
“When we couldn’t get enough people to commit to submitting essays, we reworked the concept and moved it to 2014 to mark the centenary of the creation of Nigeria in 1914. Unfortunately, that didn’t work. Eleven years later, we are grateful that the idea has materialized.
“I want to pay tribute to the original cast, Dapo Olorunyomi, publisher of Premium Times, Ohimai Amaize, publisher of SignalNig, and the poet, Chiedu Ezeanah, whose creative genius when this concept was developed eleven years has sustained the ideas of this book. My friend, colleagues and collaborator, Godwin Onyeacholem, and Friday Inalegwu Ejilogo deserve all the credit for the invaluable editorial….
“Nigeria has been described as a country on its third missionary journey to a truly democratic nation. Unfortunately, the problems confronting Nigeria are not problems to be resolved by wishful thinking. What do Nigerians want? How did we get here? Where do we hope to be after 60 years of independence? These are issues that require urgent and practical national attention.
“October 1, 2020, marked Nigeria’s diamond jubilee as an independent nation. There are Nigerians who think one option open to the country is a revolution (like that I’d Jerry Rawlings in Ghana); there are those who say the problem of Nigeria is leadership and that if we get our leadership recruitment process right, every other thing will fall in place; yet, there are others who think the fundamentals of the nationhood are flawed and nothing will work if we don’t fix it.
” This book is the product of discussion on what needed to be done to rescue Nigeria. The aim is to give an opportunity to young Nigerians – the critical change agents – to help the country understand and sharpen its focus on those issues that hold the key to our collective survival as a people.
“The essays that make up Remaking Nigeria: Sixty Years, Sixty Voices critically examine Nigeria’s social, economic, and political situation and explore the options open to us, suggest solutions and how to actualize them. They take a critical look at the country’s democratic experiment since independence in 1960 where the country is today and some the major issues that have dogged the country’s march to genuine democracy and nationhood.
“The essays are focused on different aspects of our national life, including whether the fundamental question of nation building that began six decades ago has been fully and or properly answered and what lessons we have learned or need to learn as a nation 60 years after independence,” he said.
The Keynote Speaker, Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi noted that Nigeria is confronted with several challenges, adding that the loudest of the problems is the clamour for session.
He said that for him, the idea of remaking the nation should not suggest a total demolition of the present structure, that whatever defect that ails the country can be corrected without having to collapse the entire structure of the country.
On what is the imperative of nation building, he said that the task of nation building is never done, but urged that citizens should continue to seek new ways from generation to generation to better the nation. He stressed that the work of nation building is for all generations.
Dignitaries present at the occasion include Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, the reviewer of the book and Editor in Chief, 21st Century Chronicle, Mahmud Jega, Former Ambassador to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to African Union, Ambassador Nkoyo Toyo, the Chief Executive Officer, The School of Politics, Policy and Governance (SPPG) Alero Ayida-Otobo, and a host of panelits.