By Samuel Oyadongha, Yenagoa
Former American presidential candidate and civil rights activist, Rev Jesse Jackson yesterday described Nigeria as a country having all the potentials to emerge as future global economic power bloc appealing to Nigerians to strive towards peaceful coexistence and work towards national unity.
Rev Jackson who led other Nigerian politicians to dismiss the doomsday predictions that the ongoing security challenges and agitations by politicians ahead of the 2015 presidential poll that the country will disintegrate, said Nigeria must remain a united nation.
His position was supported by the Ijaw National Leader, Chief Edwin Clark, former Presidential Adviser to Alhaji Shehu Shagari, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai and the Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson.
They all spoke in Yenagoa at the Major Isaac Adaka Boro Anniversary colloquium.
Rev Jackson who was a guest speaker at the event with the theme , “Oil and Peace:Compatibility for Sustainable Growth in Nigeria,” said issue of terrorism is a global phenomenon and the people involved are killing innocent people to attract attention.
His words, “it should be known that when one has democracy issues can be resolved through non-violent means. You can create a new leadership and take over leadership with the right message of change. You have have the right to peaceful protest and the free press. So, you don’t need to kill somebody before you can be heard. You can be heard by simply sitting down and talking.
“There is problem in democracy when people can’t talk and be heard to change things.These people tend to speak in a voice that would be heard. When people fail to be heard and participate, it become a valueless democracy.”
Jesse Jackson noted that the reported deployment of drones and troops to troubled areas of the country is a decision that can be made by the President and based on facts and intelligence available, but pointed out that the American example on the deployment of drones has not been palatable.
“The country must spend more time on conflict resolution. You can not put out the pains of the suppressed people in that way. You must resolved conflict with justice.
“Nigeria must be determined to achieve a united Nigeria to achieve joy. That is a Nigeria decision. States have their place and tribe have their traditions. But the ultimate protection should be one Nigeria. One Nigeria must be achieved for the country to achieve power. Nigeria must not disintegrate and must remain strong. With or without doomsday predictions on the acts of violence and terrorism, the issues must be resolve through negotiation and not separation. In America we had the South threatening to secede, but the President fought to keep the union.”
He challenged the leadership and citizens of the country to unite and utilize her huge human and material resources to better the lives of the people and foster national integration.
Recalling the crucial role Nigeria played in dismantling apartheid in South Africa and the liberation struggle in the Southern hemisphere of Africa, the former US congressman said the entire African continent and the backs in the diaspora were looking up to Nigeria for leadership.
He noted that only peaceful coexistence would ensure the country occupy its rightful place in the comity of nations.
Specifically, the renowned civil rights activist, lauded the Bayelsa State government for organizing series of activities to immortalise Major Isaac Adaka Boro whose struggle for justice and equality he compared to the efforts of Dr Martin Luther King Jnr.
In his remarks, Governor Seriake Dickson pledged that the state government would continue to celebrate the legacies of Isaac Boro.
The governor said despite the contradictions in the country, Nigeria remains a nation of endless opportunities and possibilities.
On his part, elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark stressed the need for equality for all sections of the country where no group would be excluded from the mainstream.
The discussants presents at the colloquium including Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, Prof Godini Darah and Dr. Emeka Enejere called for socio-economic justice as canvassed by late Major Isaac Adaka Boro, urging Nigerians to strive towards national unity.