Nigeria @61: Secession Not An Option-Southern Senators
The 51 senators from the Southern Nigeria, under the umbrella body of Southern Senators Forum, have declared that secession is not the best option, in spite of the myriads of problems facing the country.
They insisted that a united and indivisible Nigeria remains the best option that could profit all Nigerians, regardless of ethnicity, religious and political inclinations.
They warned against divisive actions being demonstrated by some political and apolitical actors in the build up to the 2023 presidential poll, saying making uncouth and incendiary comments at this pulsating period would further widen the gulf and threaten the country’s survival instinct as a nation.
The forum also congratulated Ekiti, Ebonyi and Bayelsa states on the celebrations of their 25 years of creation by the late General Sanni Abacha, lauding the giant strides the past and present leaders have made in the midst of pessimism that confronted them at inception.
These were contained in a congratulatory message to Nigerians, signed by the chairman and secretary general of the forum, Senator Opeyemi and Senator Chukwuka Utasi, respectively marking the Nigeria’s 61st Independence Day celebration.
Rather than uniting and make headways in view of enormous human and materials resources that are abound in Nigeria, the Forum, however, lamented that the country has faltered in so many ways, thereby creating colossal economic and political burdens that are bugging the nation down.
The senators said the country still have a bright future, if the ruling elite could share the same dream and shun proclivities for unwarranted cleavages in the polity, and restated that now is the right time to embrace unity of purpose.
They applauded the country’s founding fathers, including Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe and Sir Ahmadu Bello, for jettisoning ethnic and religious cards and puttinh the country’s above narrow sentiments, culminating in Nigeria’s Independence on October 1,1960.
“Our sincere appreciation goes to these founding fathers for rising above pedestrianism and pettiness and gave us a nation called Nigeria.
“Whether we like it or not, Nigeria is phenomenal in so many ways, being the largest and most populous country in Africa and also occupying a strategic position in the world economy, diplomacy and politics.
“We have made a lot of mistakes in our national life regarding the levity with which we handled and treated our democracy at inception, thereby giving unfettered latitude for military to make incursion, seized power and destroyed every stride our founding fathers had made before the coming of the holocausts.
“As fallible as our founding fathers were, they led us with finesse, patriotism, commitment and ultimately with the fear of God. Material acquisition, ethnicity and political affiliations were not the prime target, but national interest and lives of the commoners.
“Disturbingly, the reverse is the trend today. The country is now being ripped off by ethnic,political and religious cards being used by ruling elite to create a wedge that is affecting us adversely.
“Time has come for all of us to work harder, close ranks and mend all fences for us to be able to convert our huge human and material capital to economic gains to benefit our teeming populace.
“Looking at the trajectory of our economy and politics, they are turning so derisive at every dispensation that passes.
“We are retrogressing rather than progressing each day to the extent that one could conclude thatbour economic problems have defied every solution and theory. Now, we must rethink, for we have the options to either survive or sink deeply.
“As incurable optimists, we hold that unflagging view that Nigeria can still be great again. We are making some gaint strides that, if well complemented, would yield results that can lift us up.
“But this may be a mirage as long as the menace of insecurity and economic challenges abound and expand in leaps and bounds,” the forum warned.
The southern senators congratulated Ekiti, Bayelsa and Ebonyi states for fighting hard to give their citizens new lease of life in spite of the challenges inherited at inception.
They said the states have not really met the dreams of their founding fathers, but are gradually initiating programmes that actually make them forces to be reckoned with in the comity of states, by their contributions to the economic and political survival of the Nigerian nation.
“At inception, the military regime of the late General Sanni Abacha didn’t give take off grant to these states. They were created and allowed to grow, based on the vision the people had.
“Though they are still faced with a lot of challenges, but they have not done badly. They are also pulling the string of survival and making gradual development.
“A lot still needed to be done in the areas of Infrastructures, employment generation for the youth, general insecurity and improvement of the people’s standards of living and these are achievable when people stand united.
“We congratulate the governors of the states: Dr. Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Duoye Diri(Bayelsa) and Dave Umahi (Ebonyi) on the 25th anniversary of their states’ creations and wish them well as they exhibit the glowing passion to make a positive mark in the lives of their people,” the senators stated.