At Africa Day parley, discussants review options for Nigeria
By John Eche
Discussants at the seventh edition of the annual Africa Day Colloquium convened by The Difference Newspapers and partners at the Oak Gardens Event Centre, Isheri, Lagos on May 25th, 2022 nave risen with a call on Nigeria to brace for its rightful place in the affairs of the African continent.
In the text of the communique released at the end of the parly, the participants at the session that were drawn from different segments of the Nigerian population, resolved as follows:
- That it is most important that steps continue to be taken to dispel the growing climate of ignorance among our people about their history and pan-African linkages. We must get our history right.
- That as part of getting our history right, it is important to critically situate and highlight the fact that the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern Protectorates was firstly, not a Nigerian but an alien project whose intentions and execution continue to have distorting effects.
- That Nigeria yet occupies a prime place in the African experience and the resolution of its political and social challenges would have a booster effect on the dignity and self-worth of all people of African descent.
- That Nigeria is at the moment a crippled giant, one with troubled institutions, a questionable constitution and inchoate social order requiring very deliberate acts of visionary reformulation and strategic reconstruction.
- That at the centre of the crisis of Nigeria is a selfish elite that has even been most atrocious in projecting and advancing what ordinarily should have been its enlightened self-interest.
- That the current manifestations of widespread poverty, violence and state failure are outcrops of this manifest inability of the country’s elite to develop a fitting and workable governance plan for the country.
- That there is therefore an urgent need for the development of a foundational creed, an inclusive vision of Nigeria that is acceptable to its diverse peoples, and the cultivation and aggregation of a true nation-building elite in the country whose task is principally to build a true giant of Africa – along the lines of best practices in Federalism – and make it work.
- That the nation is in dire need of a structure reset while the elite need to be schooled on what to do with power.
- That in realisation of this, every step be taken to ensure the replacement of the extant Lugardian Architecture that has continued to constrain Nigeria’s political evolution and its replacement with a more agreeable, consensually negotiated and development-inclined Nigerian Project.
- That the new giant should place utmost premium on building its peoples and their capacities.
Africa Day is an annual commemoration of the founding of the Organisation of African Unity in 1963.