‘’Fostering hate speeches are means of
building instruments of war , precipitating tension and insecurity, tantamount
to driving away investments in an already stressed economy’’
These was the advice former president Jonathan gave against those sounding the drum bells of
war with hate speeches across the country which according to him, is not what Nigeria
needs if it must get to promise land.
“We should always use this period to know that the unity of the country is
paramount. We cannot develop as a nation; no matter how the people demonstrate,
and no president can perform magic if there is so much tension in the land.
“This is because immediately there is a sense of insecurity in any country
investors go back, and when investors go back, of course your economy will be
The former president also asked Nigerians to pray and work towards the unity of
the nation, as the country celebrates the Eid-el-Fitr festival.
Jonathan commended the former ministers for forming the forum and for finding
time to celebrate Sallah with him and his family.
“We should begin to reduce the cleavages and fault-lines and that the former
ministers can come together to form a political body that will look at things
from a national outlook and advocate things that will be of use to the whole
nation is quite commendable,” he noted.
Also in attendance were Labaran Maku, Dayo Adeyeye and others
He acknowledged that though restructuring and devolution of powers would not
provide all the answers to the country’s challenges, they would however help to
reposition the mindset of Nigerians to generate new ideas and initiatives that
would make the Nigerian union worthwhile.
According to him, even the idea of having federal roads in towns and cities had
become outdated, adding that the country needs to tinker with the constitution
to accommodate new thoughts that will strengthen the country’s nationality.
“The talk to have the country restructured means that Nigerians are agreed on
our unity in diversity; but that we should strengthen our structures to make
the union more functional based on our comparative advantages,” he said.
“We deal with ourselves based on our character and content, and not the
sentiments of what part of the country we hail from.
Babangida, who revealed that he was still nursing the injury he sustained from
the Nigerian Civil War, added that the war was condemnable and must be avoided.
Babangida further cautioned that the drums of war are easy to beat, but their
rhythms difficult to dance.
“I saw Somalia, such a homogeneous conclave, yet one of the most troubled
countries in Africa today. I saw South Sudan, which broke away from the old
Sudan, but peace and stability have eluded them. The Rwanda genocidal
experience is not romantic either.
He stressed the need for the country to commence the process of having state
police across the states of the federation.
“The initial fears that state governors will misuse the officers and men of the
state police have become increasingly eliminated with renewed vigour in
citizens’ participation in, and confidence to interrogate power.
He also urged the Nigerian media to be more circumspect in their news
reportage, adding that the media “should always weigh the security implications
of the contents of their news and the screaming headlines that stare us in the
face every day, especially at this fragile period of our political emanations”.
“Their level of influence is also not in doubt, but as the Fourth Estate of the
Realm, it has a greater responsibility to moderate public discourse in a manner
that will cement inter- and intra-cultural relationships.