Former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abass, as well as Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State, were among dignitaries who converged on Thursday in Abuja to chart the way forward for the country.
The event was the public presentation of a book entitled, “The Making of Modern Nigeria: From Pre-Colonial Era Till Date”, published by The Sun Newspapers.
Noting that the past 63 years of independence had seen Nigeria making continuous efforts to realize its full potentials, Abubakar stated that Nigerians have seen the good, the bad and hope for the best in the future, adding that Nigeria is, no doubt, going through some challenges.
“The good news is that we have all it takes to surmount our challenges and press forward for a better Nigeria. To make this happen, all hands must be on deck to change our trajectory and make it possible for Nigeria to have its pride of place in the comity of nations,” Abubakar said.
Ok his part, Speaker Abass, who was represented by the Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Media, Philip Agbese, felicitated with the Management team of The Sun Publishing Limited on the launch of book.
He said it is surely a contribution to shape the political knowledge of our journey to nationhood.
Gov. Uzodinma his speech lamented that despite the National Political Reform Conference, NPRC organized by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2005 and the 2014 national conference by former President Goodluck Jonathan, to address the country’s problem, nothing had change.
He however stressed the need for a united nation, saying he believes in one Nigeria.
“It is far more beautiful and rewarding to belong to a larger union. I share the belief that the unity of Nigeria is non-negotiable,” he said.
Represented by his Deputy, Professor Placid Njoku, he said: “In 2005, President Olusegun Obasanjo convened the National Political Reform Conference, NPRC.
“The aim of the conference, which included members from different regions and sectors of the country, was to negotiate the framework for Nigeria’s existence as a nation.
“The conference essentially agreed on 187 out of 189 subjects deliberated upon, but tellingly failed to find common ground on the subjects of resource control and the tenure of the president and governors.
“I’m sure by now you can see that just like in 1949, when Zik addressed the Ibo State Union in Aba, self-determination and resource control go hand in glove. And to this day, we have not resolved them.
“In 2014, President Goodluck Jonathan, following much agitation, convened the National Conference. Delegates were drawn from states (through senatorial zones), political parties, professional groups, the less privileged, civil society, etc.
“The conference recommended some consequential adjustments to the polity, which many believe could correct the foundational defects of the Nigerian nation.
“Unfortunately, the recommendations have yet to see the light of day. All these attempts are palatable, but each fails to satiate the hunger for self-determination within a Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“I have not seen any compelling evidence to suggest that any section of Nigeria wants to secede for the sake of it.
“Indeed, there is no merit in that. I have continued to argue that the socio-economic benefits of staying together far outstrip the marginal and rather uncertain benefits of parting ways.
“It is far more beautiful and rewarding to belong to a larger union. I share the belief that the unity of Nigeria is non-negotiable.
“However, I also strongly believe that we need to do what we should have done at the very beginning. This includes determining how we would like to co-exist and we agree on what kind of nation we want in the first place before we belabour in building it. It is time to quit blaming the British”, he stated.
Earlier, Chairman, The Sun Publishing Limited, Ms Neya Kalu, said the making of a new Nigeria is tied to the knowledge of the past
“Nigeria is a land of great diversity. We are a nation of entrepreneurs, innovators and dreamers. We are a people who are resilient and determined to succeed. Today, we come together to honour a group of people, who have dared to dream. Who have woven words into a tapestry of history and emotions.
“The making of a new Nigeria cannot begin without taking note of our history and this is what this book is created to achieve. We take you through Nigeria’s journey in her former years and how that has influenced her in the latter years”, she stated.