The Chairman, Senate Committee on Works, Sen. Kabiru Gaya, has urged Nigerians to be patient with the present administration as it works towards entrenching good governance.
He made the call while speaking with newsmen on the sidelines of the 137th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly on Sunday at St. Petersburg, Russia.
Gaya, who is the Vice President of the IPU, Africa, urged Nigerians to engage in constructive criticism of government policies rather than castigating the leadership.
While admitting that Nigerians had a right to hold their leaders accountable, he said it was imperative to do so with caution.
“Nigerians need to be patient with our leaders.
“When you have a leader, you pray hard for them because if you keep on castigating your leader, you will only end up frustrating them or hurrying to take bad decisions.
“So, I urge Nigerians to support the present government and President Muhammadu Buhari, make constructive criticisms and offer advice on the way forward,” he said.
On the theme of the 137th IPU, “Promoting Cultural Pluralism and Peace through Inter-Faith and Inter-Ethnic Dialogue’’, Gaya said it was apt in view of increasing level of conflicts around the world.
He said that there could not have been a better time when people were resorting to violence in expressing their grievances.
He said that Nigeria was not insulated from the trend as there were increasing agitations in different sections of the country.
The parliamentarian, however, called for dialogue across board.
“Generally, in any governance in a country where there are crisis or people are oppressed, dialogue is the easiest and best solution.
“This is because unless people open up and express their grievances, there may be no solution and violence is never the answer to any problem.
“Whatever peace cannot give, violence will not give. So it is better to discuss with the people and come up with solutions.
“That is why in Nigeria’s government, most of the time falls back to dialogue.
“For instance, the Biafra and Niger Delta issues were partially resolved on dialogue.
“It is only the issue of Boko Haram that we were not able to resolve with dialogue and you can see the casualty figure,’’ he said.
The chairman commended the Buhari-led government for its effort in keeping the country one in spite of the daunting challenges.
On causes of agitations, the lawmaker said that there was a need to do more to carry every section of the country along.
He said; “the issue of marginalization, for instance, is not peculiar to any section of the country but we in the National Assembly will continue to champion the course of dialogue.
“This 137th IPU assembly is timely as those of us who are able to attend will carry home the language of dialogue.
“On restructuring, particularly the issue of devolution of power, during the Constitution review, we looked at areas that are less controversial and we agreed on them.
“We in the parliament are prepared for restructuring but let us first understand ourselves.
“If the issue of devolution of power comes up again, we will open up and speak with the interest of Nigerians at heart.’’
Gaya said that more needed to be done to get every region to be on the same page before proceeding with the process.
According to him, times have changed and it will take continuous dialogue to get everybody on the same page.
“Nigeria was united under only three regions; people were not complaining at that time. Our leaders were honest and dedicated.
“Nigerians were committed to being Nigerians but these days, it is different. However, we are prepared for dialogue,’’ he said.