Nigeria’s former president, Goodluck Jonathan, has said one major problem confronting the country is its inability to manage diversities, noting that democracy thrives on the mutuality of trust between government and the people and among the different groups within a state.
The former president who made the remarks at the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation’s Policy Dialogue on Democracy and Unity of the State in Abuja on Friday, noted that Nigeria was going through many challenges that have continued to pose threats to its unity and corporate existence.
Jonathan said the country and the rest of Africa need to harness and draw strength from diversities, rather than allowing it to be a source of weakness.
“In Africa, we need to harness our diversities and differences and translate them to strength for a more peaceful and prosperous future. Our diversity is often misconstrued to be the source of our challenges, but I feel if properly harnessed, it will be the source of our greatness,” Jonathan said.
“One good way to make progress in this regard is to strengthen government institutions to improve integration, equity and social inclusion in our various nations.
“Let me affirm that the weapons of our warfare in times like this should be love, justice and hope. The pursuit of these virtues will guarantee sustainable peace and unity in Africa.
“While guns, drones and other artilleries may win the war, to win the peace we need to constantly engage in meaningful conversations in order to reach compromise on issues, affecting us all.
Lawan moves again zoning, says president can come from anywhere
Speaking at the event, Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, said lack of said trust among political leaders was creating tension in the country, noting that it was also responsible for the many challenges bedevilling the nation.
Lawan argued that rotational presidency as being strongly being advocated in many quarters is unnecessary, as according to him, what Nigeria needs is a “leader that will give sense to the people and provide everything within the constraint of resources.”
The Senate President said lack of mutual trust between North and South was constituting a clog on the wheel of the country’s progress, advising that Nigerians shun mutual distrust for necessary progress.
“When we have a marriage and there is mutual suspicion between the parties, that means the marriage may begin to suffer a bit. What we need is to be open as leaders to all manners of people. And we shouldn’t allow suspicion among us because when political leaders allow for suspicion among themselves, the outcome is that the ethnic nationalities will behave the same way,” he said.
“Our major problem is the suspicion between the different ethnic groups. Otherwise, why will someone bother where the president comes from? Let the president come from anywhere but what we need is leadership that will give sense to the people and provide everything within the constraint of resources that the people need. But when we suspect each other, that is when people crawl back to their ethnic enclaves.”
Lawan said leaders must continue to unite and engage one another to make the country a better place, as according to him, the country could be great if the political class decides to be selfless and honest.
He described Jonathan as a man with abundant traits of humility, fairness, equity and justice, adding that, “what you are doing as a former president is to show an example of what our leaders can do outside of the office.”
Lawan said of Jonathan, “You are a man of peace because you believe in Nigeria and the unity of this country.
“After you left office in 2015, you decided to work for the unity of this country and its leadership to ensure that the country remains united. You are a unifier and we believe you mean well for this country.
“When you were in office, I was in the opposition but I supported many of your policies and opposed some. My belief is that you have demonstrated very clearly that this country can be great.”