By Dapo Akinrefon
Elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai; former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Ghali NaAbba, Prof. Pat Utomi and Mr Tony Uranta, on Friday, warned that if urgent steps were not taken to address the issues bedevilling the country, Nigeria could become extinct.
The notable Nigerians, who met behind closed doors at Sheraton Hotel in Lagos, include Elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai; former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Ghali NaAbba, Prof. Pat Utomi and Mr Tony Uranta, Mrs Nkoyo Toyo, former Commissioner for Information in Ogun State, Mr Kayode Samuel; Sen. Ewa Henshaw, Dr Umar Ardo, Mr Charles Anyiam-Osigwe and Akogun Kola Onadipe among others.
The leaders said they were collaborating to “bequeath the younger generations a united Nigeria.”
In his remarks, Alhaji Yakasai, who spoke on the theme: ‘Nigeria, chaos or community, called on the Federal Government to pay attention to the progressive views of Nigerians saying “at this trying moment in the life of our country, every facet of opinion is relevant and important in the life of our country.”
He, however, expressed worry over the security challenges facing the country.
He said: “As one of the founding fathers, who actively partook in the political processes leading to the attainment of independence, our vision was to build a united and egalitarian Nigerian nation where, irrespective of tribe and creed, you find home wherever you find comfort to live in the country.”
“We must attend openness to our discussions as brotherly and fraternally as possible to come up with practical solutions to douse the threats emanating from across the country. Otherwise, the incendiary wind blowing across the landscape will spare nobody.”
In his opening remarks, Secretary of the Nigerian National Summit Group, NNSG, Mr Tony Uranta said the country is presently divided calling on the present crop of leaders to take steps in dousing the tension in the land.
He said the issues facing the country gave birth to The Initiative, which seeks to address the country’s problems.
Uranta said: “No doubt, Nigeria of today is gradually sliding into an anarchical situation. We are all sitting on a pandora box, which could explode anytime if urgent steps are not taken promptly to diffuse it. Evidence abounds of deep-seated suspicion, distrust, escalating insecurity that have continue to threaten lives and property with adverse consequences on the unity of the country.
The centropetal forces at work are ferociously pulling the country apart, and except we act swiftly, it could spell the collapse of the entity called Nigeria.”
In addition, he said: “It is on this score that the Nigerian National Summit Group, NNSG, in collaboration with the Osigwe Anyiam Osigwe Foundation and the We Care Foundation decided to initiate this discourse for selected Nigerians to fashion a plausible strategy that could arrest the current slide before Nigeria becomes extinct.”
Also speaking, Anyiam-Osigwe said that as Nigeria approached her 60 years as a nation and with discordant voices from every corner of the nation as to the basis of its corporate existence, the Foundation thought it urgent to initiate a dialogue to confront and proffer workable solutions to douse the palpable tension and forge a peaceful and prosperous country.
He urged the discussants to finds ways of engendering peace in Nigerian communities.
Utomi in his remarks said there was a need to act fast as the people were already getting tired of the challenges that confronted them daily.
“It should not be talk as usual. The agitations are getting worse every day. We must act fast and change the leadership pattern and come up with lasting solutions that are implementable and acceptable to all Nigerians,” Utomi said.