By Gbade Ogunwale, Abuja
Former Vice President Atiku abubakar has called on 36 governors to convoke a national unity summit to proffer solutions to the challenges facing the country.
In a statement he personally signed yesterday, Atiku urged the governors to apply wisdom in tackling the challenges, admonishing them against looking up to the Presidency for solution.
Instead, he canvassed a summit to be convened by governors to iron out the thorny issues affecting the destiny of the nation with a view to figuring out a way to resolve them.
He said: “Forget about your party. Forget about your tribe. Respect your religion and allow it to bring out the better part of you. Meet together. Talk together. Come up with the solutions to all our collective challenges.
“And then go back to your states, and consult with your federal and state legislators, with a view to getting them to work with their colleagues to implement the solutions you came up with.
That is how to save Nigeria.
“To keep waiting for this Federal Government to take the lead and effect the changes that Nigeria needs to stop drifting, is to keep waiting for Godot. And that is a luxury we cannot afford”.
The former vice president warned that Nigeria is drifting, stressing that it is not only drifting politically and economically, but also, the people are drifting apart from one another.
Noting that the drift is no longer between the North and the South, but between good and bad, the former vice president charged: “Those who are good should come together to show those who are bad that we are in the overwhelming majority.
“I have repeatedly said that I am a Nigerian. Full stop. That is my identity. And now more than ever, we must ask ourselves this question: what does it mean to be a Nigerian?
“A Nigerian is one who is committed to the idea of the indivisibility of Nigeria and who is invested in respecting, even if you disagree with, the differences that exist within this nation space, and respecting the right of others to coexist with you irrespective of religious, regional or ethnic differences.
“That is what being a Nigerian means to me. And that is why I believe that all those who believe in Nigeria should stand up to be counted.
“It is un-Nigerian to terrorise fellow citizens, noting that up until about a decade ago, the nation did not have this division. According to him, it is unNigerian to abduct people.
He described abduction as a new menace that has low historical precedence in Nigeria.
“The truth is that if at a national level, we address these unNigerian tendencies immediately and dispassionately, we would not have Nigerians congregating at a regional or sub-regional level to address these issues.
“What our present challenges therefore call for is not fragmentation but concentration. We must concentrate and focus our national willpower and resolve towards fighting these unNigerian tendencies”, he added.
Atiku said there was wisdom in last week’s meeting of the 17 Southern governors in Asaba where they announced a ban on open grazing of cattle and trumpeted a call for restructuring.
He, however, canvassed unity among the various ethnic groups in the country, saying, “no matter how much you try to clap with one hand, the vibrations will not be the same as when you clap with two hands”
Quoting Albert Einstein, he said: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. The problems were created by those with a regional mindset, and will not be solved by those with a similar mindset.
He observed that for too long, Nigerians have erroneously thought that the power to make effective changes was vested in Aso Rock.
Atiku said: “But without the states, nobody can get to Aso Rock. That is why for anyone to emerge as President of Nigeria, he or she must secure enough votes in two-thirds of the states that make up the Nigerian federation”
“We cannot afford it because, according to the Global Terror Index, our beloved nation is now the third most terrorised nation on Earth. We are featuring prominently on the Failed States Index, and the symbols of our nation, our currency, our passport, and our international standing are fast losing value”.
Quoting Einstein again, Atiku said: “Those who have the privilege to know have the duty to act. It’s obvious that the governors know that all is not well with Nigeria.
“That is why they have been meeting. At regional and sub regional levels. That knowledge comes with a duty to act, and to act together. Because if we do not act together, then the alternative is that we fall asunder. And God forbid that should ever be our fate.
“We must be mindful of the fact that one in four Africans is a Nigerian. And one in every seven black people on earth is Nigerian. Therefore, being so centrally placed by God, it ought to be clear to us that it is our duty to be a beacon of light to the black world.
“If we succeed as a nation, our successes will resonate beyond our borders. It will give hope to the Black Diaspora and increase the standing of Black people all over the world.
“That is why we cannot fail. That is why we cannot retreat into our regional enclaves. Too much is at stake. We are too centrally located to be dislocated. Together we must win forever.”
The former vice president noted that Nigerians are far too interconnected to be disconnected, asking, “where would my children, who have a parent from each leg of Nigeria go? Where would your children, who have sunk roots far from their ancestral heritage, go?
“Oliver Wendell Holmes once said that Man’s mind, stretched to a new idea, never goes back to its original dimension.”
“Let me paraphrase him and say, Nigeria unity, stretched to a new frontier, should never go back to its original dimension.
“We must grow in unity. We must glow in community. We must blow away disunity. We have no choice, considering the alternative, which is a calamity that we would not wish to return to. So help us God”.
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