By Onozure Dania
Lagos—Former Director-General of Nigerian Institute for International Affairs, NIIA, Professor Bola Akinterinwa, has said the problems of Nigeria were very complex, to the extent that they needed divine intervention to resolve.
He said this while delivering a lecture, entitled, ‘’The Unity of the Spirit in the Bond of Peace: The Divine Panacea for Strong Nationhood,’, at the third memorial lecture for Prophet Gabriel Olubunmi Fakeye (Special Apostle for Evangelism).
Akinterinwa, who was the guest speaker at the event, said there were critical challenges in Nigeria and Africa indicating that “we are not likely to have peace.”
While speaking about strong nationhood, he said: “You can’t be talking about strong nationhood, if a nation itself does not exist. If you don’t have population, if you don’t have territory and if you don’t have a government that will be effective enough to enforce compliance, to enforce internationally contracted agreements, a nation can’t be strong.
‘’The nation is very critical because in Nigeria today, they are talking about restructuring as a way of building nationhood.”
According to him, Nigeria is currently making efforts to become a nation, and move beyond being a nation-state.
“How can we ensure that Nigeria is able to make progress and become a true nation, when those asking for restructuring, MASSOB and MEND militants are talking in terms of division? If you are talking about division, you cannot be building,” he said.
The former NIIA boss noted that in the political governance in Nigeria, he had, as an individual, come to believe that it doesn’t pay to be honest, it doesn’t pay to be patriotic and it doesn’t pay to want to die for Nigeria.
He added: “Nigeria has become a country where it does not pay to be patriotic, to be honest, and to be loyal. Honours are given to people who should be in jail. It is only in Nigeria that I have seen that governing councils and boards are set up to ensure good administration and good principle but directly frustrate the objective for selfish reasons.’
He said his reason was that when he was the director general of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, he reported a director who falsified promotion examination results in favour of some people but lamented that nothing was done about it.
Akinterinwa said: “When I was the Director General of NIIA, I precisely sought the way of God and I insisted on that, the system tried to frustrate it, the governing council that was supposed to be on the side of righteousness and goodness was just theorising and trying to ensure that I did not succeed.
‘’I left with the happiness that I stood my position. I drew the attention of one director who falsified promotion examination results in favour of some people and I said no I won’t accept that. I reported the matter to the governing council, it was referred to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and it was also referred to Mr President, Muhammadu Buhari himself, what did he do? They kept quiet.
“Then the government will now be preaching about corruption. I drew the attention to the corruption in the Nigerian Institute of international Affairs and nothing was done, so why are we deceiving ourselves? That’s why I think the future is not bright.”