BY IKENNA ASOMBA, PRISCA SAM-DURU & VERA SAM-ANYAGAFU
LAGOS—Following political intrigues rocking the polity ahead of the 2015 general elections, former Military Governor of Imo and Lagos states and a leader of the National Democratic Coalition, NADECO, Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, yesterday, said the country would not disintegrate.
Noting, however, that Nigeria is currently at crossroads, he said only dialogue among the various ethnic nationalities could keep the country together.
Kanu, who spoke at the presentation of his book, entitled: “Nigeria: The Unfinished Business, Selected Speeches of Rear Admiral Godwin Ndubuisi Kanu,” at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, NIIA, Victoria Island, Lagos, expressed optimism that the country would not disintegrate come 2015, as, according to him, the bond holding the nation together is very strong.
Adebanjo on Jonathan
His view was also shared by NADECO and Afenifere Leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, who said that those agitating that President Goodluck Jonathan should not contest the 2015 election should have a re-think, as according to him, the forthcoming national conference is more important than the election.
Expressing optimism that Nigeria would not disintegrate, he said: “I don’t believe Nigeria would disintegrate in 2015, like many pessimists but it will not be the same. If as the President has embarked upon a national conference, and he carries it through, allows Nigerians to decide how they want to live together, and for them to have a final say on that decision, Nigeria would be better for it. I must say that what is important today, in this country is that we need a constitution that will bind us together. Whether Jonathan is going to contest or not in 2015 is not paramount.
It’s a secondary issue. We need to have a constitution that the people agree upon, not an imposed one like the 1999 constitution. So, once the outcome of the national conference is implemented the way the people decided through a referendum, without anybody amending it, the unity of the country is certain.
Confab more important
“For me, the national conference is more important than the 2015 general elections because we can’t continue to conduct elections on a fraudulent constitution. The 1999 constitution must be changed. We need to have a new constitution that will detail how we are going to live together as one Nigeria. It’s only the people’s constitution that will tell the future and progress of this country.”
The 260-page book containing about 21 selected speeches of Admiral Kanu was co-authored by Messrs Ndubuisi Ofondu, Ogbonna Oleka and Kalu Onuma. It was, however, reviewed by Rev. Okey Ifionu, former Deputy Managing Director of ThisDay Newspapers.
Kanu said: “I thank you all for the honour you have done me by your presence at this greatful occasion. I thank my colleagues who are also still in this struggle for a better Nigeria, where justice and egalitarianism will hold supreme. I have no doubt that there might be some imperfection in the book, or some issues which some people might not be on the same page with me.
“However, I know I still have a lot to do, especially through the forum NADECO, towards attaining a nation-state that this country ought to be. As 2015 general elections is around the corner and 2014, when Nigeria would attain 100 years of the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern protectorates, we are at the crossroad. Nigeria now is just like a coin with two faces.”