Nwabueze, Ezeife, others chart path to better Nigeria
A group of eminent Nigerians known as The Patriots at the weekend lamented the hardship in the country and suggested ways of improving the lot of the citizens.
The elder statesmen spoke at a symposium titled “Nigeria, Yesterday,Today and Tomorrow” to mark the 70th birthday of Mr. James Ezike in Lagos.
Members of the group who attended the event include Prof. Ben Nwabueze (SAN); former governor of Anambra State, Chief Chukwuemeke Ezeife; the Amayanabo of Okpoama Kingdom, King Ebitimi Banigo; Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe; former Rivers State governor, Celestine Omehia; Senator Dipo Odujinrin; former Director General of Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Mr. Shyngle Wigwe; and Alhaji Idi Mohammed Farouk.
The Patriots were disgusted by the news of Nigerians being forced into modern day slavery in Libya.Nwabueze said Nigeria’s precarious situation had dominated the political space in recent time and exacerbated by the Libya slavery incident.The foremost constitutional lawyer, who looked frail at the event, said he managed to attend because of the choice of the topic, noting that “Nigerians no longer tell themselves the truth and are easily deceived.”
According to Nwabueze things were not bad in Nigeria of yesterday because the colonial era even offered food security and Nigerians never experienced starvation and poverty.“Today millions of Nigerians are dying for lack of food, thousands have been forced to travel through the Sahara Desert, people trying to escape from death, from hunger. They knew the hazards facing them, but they are tired of staying to die in hunger and they die in the Mediterranean Sea.”
According to him, Nigerian’s destinies are in their hands and therefore must accept responsibilities, 2019 will be the milestone.
Ezeife, who chaired the event, said Nigeria had not been created even though God used the instrumentality of the British imperialism to start the process. He called for return to the federal system based on the regions and canvassed appointment of more women in position of leadership”as they appear to have more integrity than men.”
King Banigo expressed regret that traditional rulers no longer have roles in governance and left at the mercy of the governors. “We have jettisoned merits and justice, we need to come to the table to discuss the future of Nigeria in order to make it a country of our dreams where justice and fairness should reign.”
Minister for Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, who was represented by a director in the ministry, Dr. Judith Momoh noted that despite all the challenges, Nigeria had moved forward but needed to leave ethnic differences and teach the younger ones what would promote unity and development.
Omehia stressed the need to revert to the regional government. “It is one way to be prosperous and to address the leadership challenge in the country.Odujinrin called for the proper funding of the education sector, saying “if we cannot educate our people, we cannot get good leadership.”
Abaribe said Nigeria was running a system that did not reward merit. He called for a change.The celebrant, Ezike blamed the nation’s woes on failure to follow the constitution since return to democracy. He said Nigerians should rise up to create Nigeria for themselves because the British created Nigeria for their own purposes.
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