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Disintegration, Not An Option For Nigeria - IBB

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ABUJA, September 20, (THEWILL) - Former Military President, Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida has urged Nigerian citizens and leaders to accept the realities of the country’s diversity, as they would not disappear any soon and disintegration is not an affordable option.

Babangida stated this view on Thursday while delivering a lecture at the public presentation of the Blueprint Newspaper, which held in Abuja.

Speaking on the topic, Development and Economic Growth in a Multi-cultural Society: An agenda for Nigeria, he lamented that the Nigerian state, supposed to be the main instrument for enabling development process, remains constantly blighted by issues of legitimacy.

“We have no option but to face the fact that our diversity is not going to disappear, and disintegration is not an option that Nigeria and its people can afford,” he said.

“In the first place, the historical association between the different communities currently in Nigeria predated the creation of the country. Consequently, we have been long intertwined by crisscrossing political, cultural and economic ties that cannot be untangled.

“Secondly, contemporary global trends point to the fact that the future belongs to big nations with large populations that can stand their own in the international community. China and India readily come to mind as good examples of big and diverse nations attending to the twin challenges of development and nation-building successfully in an integrated and systematic manner.”

Babangida noted that the process of economic growth must prioritise job creation while all policies, programmes and projects should be justified in terms of their potentials for generating employment for unemployed Nigerians.

He equally emphasised the need for deliberate and conscious efforts to promote small and medium-scale enterprises, as well as encourage agriculture and agro-allied industralisation.

Speaking earlier, former vice president and chairman of the occasion, Chief Alex Ekwueme, said that Nigerian leaders should not misconstrue the present agitations for transparent governance as calls for disintegration.

“Amidst the economic and political challenges that confront us as a nation, Nigerians have at one time or the other been inundated with calls from ethnic groups for self-determination,” said Ekwueme, who was represented by his brother, His Royal Highness, Eze Laz Ekwueme.

“While it is the dream of every Nigerian to have transparent governance that would place premium on the common good of the majority, Nigerian leaders should not misinterpret the present rancour for a call for disintegration.

“Sincerity of purpose and political will by government, coupled with the determination to create a symphony of mutual trust among our ethnic groups, remain the means of triumphing over our present challenges.”

In his welcome address, chairman of Blueprint Newspapers, Mohammed Idris, promised to use the paper to address the challenge of efficient information dissemination in the country while strengthening the extent to which information can be used as power to build a more prosperous society.