Prominent elder statesmen under the auspices of Burdened Elders on Thursday called for urgent reprogramming to rescue the nation from its multi-faceted problems.
They said killing, insecurity, kidnapping and tribal tension will continue to pervade Nigeria until it is reprogrammed for mutual benefits.
Addressing reporters in Lagos, the elders led by former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Dr Chris Kolade, expressed shock over the level of bloodshed and ethnic bigotry in the nation.
Some other members of the forum include: Prof Anya O. Anya, Dr Shyngle Wigwe, Prof Akin Mabogunje, Ambassador George Obiozor and Dr Philip Asiodu among others.
The development, they said, was programmed by the colonial leaders who injected Nigerians with mutual suspicion and divisive tendencies to retard peace and progress.
To stand a chance to salvage Nigeria, the elders said Nigerians must embrace a new programme that values peace, mutual respect and productive engagement of diversities.
According to them: “Many people are calling for restructuring of the nation at all costs but we will plead that such exercise must be preceded by a reprogramming of Nigeria to erase animosities and strife so that all conversations can then be conducted in an atmosphere that is productive, fruitful and peaceful.
“Research also teaches us that we were all programmed to act as rivals and fight one other for resources through the colonial heritage.
“The opportunistic forces that are tearing us apart today may have taken advantage of the centrifugal forces engineered and embedded in our souls but we shall surely overcome.”
On how to fix Nigeria, they said: “Divisive programmes have a life span that runs into centuries. Before Nigeria can ever succeed, we need to be de-programmed and then re-programmed and that is what the bridge of peace we are constructing is all about.
“There is really no problem in Nigeria except the problem programmed into the Nigerian. Once this can be fixed, we will overcome all challenges with ease.
“The immediate challenge then is to discover and project a new Pan-Nigerian nationality beyond our ethnicities, fractional identities, inchochate diversities and fragile values.”
Kolade took a swipe at the drumbeat of wars across the nation, stating Nigeria is too important in the continent to be allowed to fragment.
He said Nigerians must leave behind the history of animosities and define a future path that is prosperous and productive.
Anya, on his part, said the elders were prepared to build bridges of peace across the nation, stating “all the artificial divisions we see are nothing compared to the commonalities we share.”