Udom challenges Nigeria to emulate America in forging unity from diversity
By Joe Effiong Uyo
Akwa Ibom State Governor Udom Emmanuel has challenged Nigeria to look to the American example by working through the country’s ethnic tensions and emerge as a model of freedom, progress and of growth.
Governor Emmanuel, who launched the challenge during the Executive Leadership Course on the History and Future of Nigeria, organized on Monday by the Historical Society of Nigeria and Development Consultants for Peacebuilding in Uyo, said that Nigeria, though a deeply heterogeneous society, defined by religions and tribal fault lines, can still overcome these differences and emerge as a truly united nation
Represented by the Deputy Governor, Mr. Moses Ekpo, the Governor said; “I think Nigeria has a lot to learn from the American example. We are a deeply heterogeneous society, defined by religious and tribal fault lines. Rather than crossing our differences as America unfortunately has, we have widened the fault lines and taken a largely zero-sum game approach to solving our national problems.
“From our unfortunate fratricidal war of 1967 to 1970, to the current insecurity in the country, to the deepening of ethnic accords and religious differences, to the gross inequality that exists in our nation, I believe that we, as as leaders, we have much more work to do, to bridge the chasm of division.
“I have no doubt that the distinguished resource people you have assembled to speak here will do an excellent job of shedding light and bringing new perspectives to this issue.
“If America has solved its problems and is today the undisputed hegemon of the world, applying and deploying both soft and hard power to shape the world in its own image, which it has done with success since 1945, Nigeria too will by no means. The distant future also emerges as a truly united, indissoluble and equal charged entity where, in the words of our first national anthem, “although tribes and language may differ, we stand in brotherhood”.
The Governor stressed that Nigeria would realize its potential if its people worked collectively with one accord,” he said.
The chair of the session and former Minister of Home Affairs, Lt. Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazzau (Retired) suggested in his address the need for a collaborative approach to addressing security challenges in Nigeria.
The former military leader alleged the lack of political will in the face of the challenges facing the country and instructed the country’s security sector stakeholders to review their strategy so that a workable security plan can be achieved through the use of kinetic and non-kinetic approaches to solving security issues for the country.
According to Dambazzau, “there are certain steps to take; for example, some of the deep-rooted problems are socio-economic and I think addressing these problems would go a long way to reducing the incidence of criminal violence in the country.
“I would like to see us take a comprehensive approach, where every stakeholder in the country’s security sector partners with others to solve our security challenges, rather than operating in silos. A situation where physical security and the Intelligence security personnel would work as a team.
Speaking on the expectations of the four-day executive course, the President of the Historical Society of Nigeria, Prof. Okpeh Okpeh Jnr, said the exercise aims to establish the cross-currents of Nigerian history, history Africa and World History; deconstructing the trajectory of Nigeria’s pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial history; examine the changes and challenges to Nigeria’s political unity.
The Executive Course according to Prof. Okpeh also seeks to interrogate the causes, courses and consequences of separatist unrest in Nigeria; and assess the military interruption in Nigeria’s democratic work.
“Some of the expected outcomes of the course for participants would include: deepening formal knowledge of Nigerian history; identify key policy issues with an informed capacity to address them; demonstrate the ability to study the past and draw informed and relevant conclusions for the future.
“We also hope to isolate persistent issues that challenge the existence of Nigerian businesses; make strategic decisions in their various areas of responsibility both at personal and corporate level; and demonstrate personal and corporate leadership skills in the performance of their duties to Nigeria”. He said.
Okpeh gave assurances that the executive course would not be another discussion workshop as he was ready to partner with other non-governmental organizations and civil rights movements to ensure that issues policies raised at the end of the fiscal year be pushed to the appropriate quarters for the desired needs. attention and action.