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‘’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.

Jonathan, who gave the advice when he
received a delegation of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Former Ministers’
Forum, which paid him Sallah homage at his Abuja residence, said no president
could perform magic if there is so much tension in the land.
Jonathan said no nation or its economy
could grow where there is no peace.

“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
doomed.
“What improves the economy is confidence
and what makes investors to have confidence is peace. Nobody wants to invest
where there is no peace, except those that invest in arms and ammunition,” he
said.

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.
He said that he was particularly elated
to see the former ministers coming together under one platform saying, Nigeria
is a country that we should do everything that will bring its citizens
together.

“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.
Alhaji Tanimu Turaki, chairman of the
forum, said the delegation comprised of the former ministers from 1999 to 2015
and it had come to pay homage to Jonathan to mark the end of the Ramadan fast.

Also in attendance were Labaran Maku, Dayo Adeyeye and others

 Mean while, Former military president, Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida
(rtd.), has thrown his weight behind the calls for the restructuring of the
country and devolution of powers to give more responsibilities to the states.
Babangida has also condemned what he
described as the ongoing altercations and vituperations of hate across the
country, warning that “starting wars or political upheavals comes with the
slightest provocation, but ending them becomes inelastic, almost unending with
painful footages of the wrecks of war”.
In his message titled, “I am a Nigerian”
to mark the Holy month of Ramadan, a month in which the Muslim faithful
dedicate their lives to seek closeness to God, Babangida, who also called for
the establishment of state police, argued that if the country has repeatedly
done certain things and was not getting the desired results, there was the need
to change tactics and approach.
Babangida, who also called for the
establishment of state police, argued that if the country has repeatedly done
certain things and was not getting the desired results, there was the need to
change tactics and approach.

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.
Babangida advocated the devolution of
powers to give more responsibilities to the states, while the federal
government oversees the country’s foreign policy, defence, and the economy.

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 former military ruler noted that
restructuring has assumed a national appeal, noting that its time has come.

“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.
“In those hours, moments and duration of
friendship and camaraderie, no one talks about origin, geopolitical zones or
even states. The issue of religion does not dictate the flow of discourse.

“We deal with ourselves based on our character and content, and not the
sentiments of what part of the country we hail from.
“The inalienable fact that Nigerians can
live in any part of the country to pursue their legitimate aspirations is a
strong indication that we have accepted to invest in the Nigerian project, and
are no longer driven by mutual suspicion but mutual respect.
“That we have not fully realised our
potential as a great nation is not enough reason for us to want to demolish the
foundation of our nationhood or rubbish the labours of our heroes past; both of
which are borne out of our collective efforts to build a truly great nation,
and great people,” Babangida added.

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.
He also condemned the current
altercations and vituperations of hate across the country by individuals,
well-known leaders, religious leaders, group of persons and organisations, and
called on Nigerians to apply caution in their utterances, body language and
news reportage.

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.

“But a president from the minority
ethnic group has repositioned the country to assume its pride of place in the
comity of nations. That a people share common identity, language, history,
doctrine, culture, mores and values is not synonymous with development, growth,
stability and peace,” Babangida explained.
“I am a Nigerian, a citizen, patriot and
concerned stakeholder. It is my strong belief that Nigeria can attain greater
greatness if we all nurture our minds in the direction of building a nation,
and accepting responsibility for its successes and failures,” he added.

He stressed the need for the country to commence the process of having state
police across the states of the federation.
According to him, this idea was
contained in his manifesto in 2010 when he attempted to contest the
presidential election.

“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.
“We cannot be detained by those fears
and allow civilization to leave us behind,” he added.

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”.

He acknowledged the important and
remarkable role of the media in shaping the flow of discourse.

“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.

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