By Abdulateef Bamgbose
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has advised Nigerian leaders not to ignore concerns by any part of the country decrying the marginalisation of its peoples.
He warned that doing so would only decimate their patriotism and erect walls of division among the country’s regions, as well as further inflame calls for secession.
Lawan, gave the warning on Wednesday, in an address delivered at the presentation of a book titled, “Foundations of Nigeria’s Unity.”
The book was authored by Senator representing Cross Rivers Central and Governorship Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party in Cross River State, Sandy Onor.
The Senate President was a special guest at the event which held at the NAF Conference Centre, Abuja.
Speaking, he said, “There is no part of this country that does not cry about marginalisation from time to time, but, I think, some of these tendencies of pull-away are centrifugal tendencies created by the elites.
“It is our duty as leaders to look into those genuine calls when our citizens complain.
“Where we find justifications, we shouldn’t shy away from addressing those calls to make our citizens more patriotic.
“It is a proven fact, as the book argues, that nations are made by men and women, by peoples and communities, who are painstaking in efforts at staying as one, and harnessing their diversities for greatness.
“This process has been the hallmark of nations in history, which is why some of the greatest nations on planet earth are neither completely homogenous nor heterogeneous.
“They have moved on to higher levels by deliberately working on their diversities, and making the best out of it through resolves, regulations and the instrument of good governance.
“Growth and development are neither a function of the commonality of culture nor the disparities in traditions.
“Progress come through the determination of a people to stay together, leveraging on the vision and mission of the constitution and the leadership.
“Calls for separation are therefore inimical to efforts at nation-building, especially if the consequences of this are put into proper perspective.
“It is the reason we often desire a good understanding of history for all to be better guided in our calls and agitations.
“Distinguished Senator Onor has provided a thorough understanding through this intellectual analysis, focusing on the past to interpret our present, and concluding that our heterogeneity can be a foundation for unity.
“This patriotic and nationalistic effort is a step in the right direction, in the bid to expand our knowledge of nationhood, such that our challenges would not be seen as unusual and insurmountable.”