September 21, 2023

Nigeria can surmount current challenges, Abdulsalami encourages Nigerians

Abdulsalami Abubakar

Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd)

Former Military Head of State, Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd) has said that Nigeria will surmount its current challenges and emerge stronger in the comity of nations.

He stated this at the public presentation of the book “The Making of Modern Nigeria: From pre-colonial Era Till Date”, published by the Sun Publishing Limited in Abuja on Thursday.

Abdusalami, who was the chairman of the occasion, said that although the country had been through a lot, the future was bright.

“A few days from today, our country will be celebrating its 63rd independence anniversary. It has been 63 years of continuous efforts at making the country better and for us as a nation to achieve our full potential.

“We have seen the good. We have seen the bad. And we hope for the best in the future.

“Nigeria is, no doubt, going through some challenges. No matter what we think or say, this prevailing atmosphere of faltering steps, great anxiety, and recriminations is not peculiar to Nigeria. It is a global phenomenon.

“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,” he said.

Abdusalami said that a necessary first step for the much-desired progress was to examine how the past was charted, stating that was where the unveiled book became auspicious.

He said that when Nigerians knew about the country, they would have invaluable insights into understanding the present-day challenges and the way out of the quagmire.

“Knowing Nigeria’s rich past and its present will serve as a springboard for us to work for the realization of a Nigeria of our collective aspirations and dreams in the no distant future.

“I believe that the Nigeria of our dream is possible when we contribute our quota with every sense of patriotism and nationalism,” he said.

Abdusalami called on young Nigerians to rise up and contribute their quota to the development of Nigeria.

“It is commendable that this book is dedicated to Nigeria’s founding fathers and those who believe that some good will still come out of the country.

“Our generation has played its part in the making of a modern Nigeria. The future belongs to the rising generation.

“It is therefore for today’s and future generations to play their roles for the making of a supersonic Nigeria,’’ he said.

Abdusalami said that the post-independence Nigeria had continued to struggle for enduring success in an increasingly complex and competitive world and called on Nigerians and friends of the country to join hands in making Nigeria better and greater.

“This we can do by ensuring, peace reigns in our Country, being each other’s keeper. We should also support our Security Agencies in whatever way we can.

“The Sun Publishing Company, by this book, that we are here to unveil, has played its own part creditably.

“It is left for us here and those not here to not only acquire the book but also read it, in order to understand Nigeria and Nigerians. I have no hesitation whatsoever in recommend this book to you,” he said.

In his address, the Editor-in-Chief, The Sun Publishing Ltd, Mr Onuoha Ukeh, described the book as a book on Nigeria by Nigeria, a project that took extensive research, time, energy and intellectualism to tell the history of the country.

Ukeh said that the project which started in early in 2020 by the Sun Publishing Limited, Bridgehead Communication Limited and Compact Communications, Limited was conceived, with the target of using it to commemorate the 60th independence anniversary of Nigeria.

He said that the project at the conception was titled Diamond Nigeria, but due to COVID-19 epidemics the book was put on hold, adding that it was after the pandemic that full attention was given to the project, with a change of concept and focus.

He said while the book was completed in 2022 the preparations for the general election and the conduct of the election, delayed the public presentation.

“This book is a work that tells the Nigerian story, highlighting different aspects of our national life. It talks about events, people, institutions and places. It is a book on Nigeria by Nigerians,“ he said.

Ukeh urged Nigerian children to learn the history of the country.

‘’Our children and students deserve to learn history in school and at home too.

“Thankfully, History as a subject is back in the curriculum of Nigerian schools. The earlier suspension of the subject could have made our children have limited knowledge of our history.

“The study of history is an education on a tribe, country, the people and traditions.

“No matter how dark a people’s history may be at any particular time and the fear that its remembrance could affect national peace and cohesion, the children should know the history generally.

“Countries with worse historical challenges teach history in their schools. It is, therefore, good that Nigeria has reintroduce history,’’ he said.

He added that if students avoided the subject in the past, one way for it to stay and flourish was to make it compulsory in all years in junior secondary school and then optional in senior secondary.

“That way, nobody would pass through secondary school without offering the subject at one time or another. In the university, Nigerian history should also be a compulsory General Studies (GNS) course for all courses in first year,” Ukeh said.

He said that the book was for general use, research and for teaching.

“After reading the book, our children would be inspired by the fact that there was a time when vehicles were manufactured in Nigeria – Peugeot, Volkswagen, etc.

“Reading the book, they would be proud that a Nigerian woman once won the Miss World – Agbani Darego,” he said.

The Chairman/Publisher, the Sun Publishing Limited, Mrs Neya Kalu, in her remarks, said that the book was not merely ink on paper but about the history of Nigeria.

Kalu commending the contributions of all stakeholders to the success of the book said it was important to the future of the country.

“We cannot change the past, but we can change our blindness to the past.

“The Making of Nigeria cannot begin without taking note of our history and this is what this book was created to achieve.

“We take you through Nigeria’s journey in former years and how that has influenced her later years.

“It asks us to open our minds, to engage our heroes’ past and all the formidable Nigerians who have paved the way for us all.

“In the pages of this book, we will find heroes from public to private institutions, politics, sports, education and the arts and perhaps a reflection of our own hopes, fears, and dreams,” she said.