By Michael Eboh
Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Hassan Kukah, yesterday, disclosed that the quest to achieve a united Nigeria, devoid of regionalization and fractionalization, remained an illusion.
Speaking at the National Conference and Annual General Meeting of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, NIPR, Kukah also described Nigeria as one of the most dangerous country in the world to live in.
He bemoaned the fact that quacks have taken over every institution in the country, including the country’s political space.
He argued that the problems in Nigeria had very little to do with the things that had been ascribed, but that it has everything to do with our inability and sheer incapacity to manage the country’s diversity.
He said, “The quest for national cohesion remains an illusion and the result therefore is that marketing Nigeria becomes an act of frustration. In part because too many issues have still not been resolved. Tragically as the population has increased we have not been able to craft a narrative.
“Is there any institution in Nigeria that has not been taken over by quacks, including our politics? There is no institution you can blame in this country, everywhere. That is why it is even so dangerous and so important to think about how to advertise Nigeria. I mean, where do you start?
“I think that the problems in Nigeria have very little to do with the things that we ascribe, but is everything to do with our inability, sheer incapacity to manage diversity. Managing diversity is a science. If we do not have a sense of direction and purpose; a nation that does not have a clarity of vision as to where it is going, and what the tools that are required.
“When you live in a country like Nigeria, where people are safer with their nephews, cousins, brothers, sisters, as special assistants, personal assistants, then we are in trouble. How we manage diversity in Nigeria then becomes an issue.”
Fractionalised, regionalized politics
Continuing, he said, “The question then is if you want to market Nigeria, where do you start from. We are practicing politics of a very poor quality. Our politics have become so regionalised, fractionalised. Whenever I look at the map of the last elections, I do not feel proud as a Nigerian. That you will have an election where very clearly, the country is divided into two and the lines are precise.
“If this is the kind of country that we have, how do we develop the capacity to manage diversity.
When a president is travelling, the governors are struggling to go with him. And yet in reality, for those journeys, like when the president is going to China, there must be an academic expert who understands China, who should be able to brief the President.
“This is the only country where the only experts are those manufactured by those in power. Does it not surprise you? The country has become averse to expertise, to intellectual contribution. The incredible capacity of our people is in suspended animation.
It is really frightening what is happening in Nigeria. With the kidnapping in Katsina yesterday, there are no more sacred spaces in the country.”
He added that, “it is a mortal sin and a massive scared on Nigeria’s face the millions of young people who are moving around and have turned to crime. It is totally unacceptable that we would live with so much and so many of our people are objects of humiliation around the world.”
Nigeria degenerating into culture of hatred — Sirajo
Also speaking, President and Chairman of Council of the NIPR, Mallam Mukhtar Sirajo, disclosed that the institute had noticed with grave concern the degeneration towards the strange culture of hatred, intolerance and disaffection, tending towards the brink of collapse.
“This would cause patriotic minds to ask, what went wrong? What has happened to our once cherished culture of unity? From politics through security to religion, the sound in the atmosphere is echoes of hatred, war and reckless wastage of human lives. What has gone wrong and how did we get to this point, we may ask?” he noted.
Sirajo urged everyone to continue to put Nigeria first in whatever we do, noting that our national interest is much bigger than our individual and group interest.
He said, “The responsibility of changing our current narrative and building a better tomorrow for ourselves and our children, is squarely in our hands. May we use it well?”
FG to partner NIPR — Lai Mohammed
Speaking in the same vein, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the Federal Government, in recognition of the need to effectively project its image, had mandated that all spokesperson of ministries, departments and agencies be members of the NIPR.
He added that the NIPR should work hard to completely eliminate quacks from their fold, adding that the ministry would partner with the institute to remove quacks and effectively project the image of the country.