By Haruna Salami
The Senator representing Imo West, Rochas Okorocha has explained that his National Unity Day Bill, which has passed the first reading seeks to address the issue of the unity of Nigeria.
He stated this Thursday while speaking with journalists at the National Assembly.
According to him “we all claim that Nigeria is united, but in practical terms, it’s far from being united. Ethnicity, religion, and political parties have divided this country beyond recognition” adding “that is why we are not working as a team and making it is very difficult to govern this country, fight insurgency, handle banditry and other criminal activities”.
The former governor of Imo state said Nigeria’s unity is still a “theoretical fabrication” that does not reflect any practical realities.
“This is why I seek for this National Unity Day Bill to create the consciousness of unity in our nation. We celebrate independence day, the day we assume we got freedom from the colonialists, but we have not celebrated our unity.
He said since the amalgamation of Northern and Southern protectorates, there has not been any conscious effort to unite the country and create the awareness that there is no difference between Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Efik, and Ijaw man; that we are one people. This lack of oneness is what is giving rise to all these economic, security, and political problems.
“Take, for instance, the entire issue of Boko Haram, banditry, kidnapping, and armed robbery, put all of them together, I don’t think they are up to 10,000 people nationwide, I don’t think they can chase away 200 million people. It means the 200 million are not united, but the 10,000 are united.
“The National Unity Bill will help us to understand the need for oneness. One thing I realized as a politician in this country is that our communication system is very bad. What the Southwestern and Southeastern leaders tell their people is different from what they say nationally; what the Southeast and what the North tells their people is different from what they say in Abuja.
“When they go back home, they tell their people “Nigeria doesn’t want us, we are marginalized”, but when they come to Abuja, you see them interacting, visit each other, having tea and coffee. They pass wrong messages to ordinary citizens for selfish reasons.
“We have not communicated love, friendship, and brotherhood to our people. We have not gone back to the Igbo man to say the Hausa man is your brother, he loves you, or to the North to say the Yoruba man loves you.
Okorocha wondered who brought the issue of hate based on “ethnicity, religion and political parties” since when you look at people on their faces you may not even tell where they come from.
“Most of the time when you have your friend in a different political party you stop talking to each other, you are enemies for life. Democracy is not meant to create enemies”.