Nigeria must invest in civic education and grassroots political emancipation to salvage the country from total collapse.
The executive director, Lux Tera Leadership Foundation, Rev. Father George Ehusani, stated this yesterday at the fourth annual lecture organised by the Just Friends Club of Nigeria in Abuja themed, “Beyond The 2023 Elections: That Nigeria May Be Saved.”
Ehusani, who was the guest speaker, said millions of Nigerians were suffering from post-traumatic disorder due to many years of bearing the several challenges facing the country but may not even be aware that they are sick.
According to him, citizens are crying under the crunching impact of a failing economy, increasing poverty, terrorism, religious and ethnic rivalries, yet the government has not done enough to tackle the myriads of challenges.
He accused the political class of recklessly looting the public treasury while the younger ones have taken to internet fraud and drugs.
“Islands of affluence cannot continue for long amid the sea of destitution. How can individuals be richer than the institutions they superintend? Those in key positions are building family dynasties by positioning their children in key government agencies. There is general injustice and we cannot afford to continue like this and expect a better nation.
“Let’s trace the good-old path of mutual respect for religious and ethnic differences. How can one be judged by the tenets of another religion? Let’s frankly discuss why minority groups cannot have a say on who becomes the president,” he stated.
He added that a boiling pot without letting out the steam could lead to explosion and called for mutual dialogue, tolerance and mutual respect to curb suspicion and agitations.
“After the Rwandan genocide, tribe was abolished; hence their speedy recovery and growth. In Nigeria, when one is in trouble and he cries in English, help is hard to get but when you cry in your dialect, help comes more easily. Until we cry in English and get help, we can’t kill ‘tribe and ethnicity’ in Nigeria,” he said.
He expressed surprise that fuel queues were resurfacing in the country even when the nation has the commodity in abundance in crude form and urged those in government to put on their thinking cap.
Rev Father Ehusani advocated rule of law, equal citizenship, devolution of powers, reduction in cost of governance/ merging of some ministries and agencies as solutions to several challenges bedeviling the country.
President of the club, Fred Ohwahwa, said Nigeria would become a reference point in Africa and called on citizens, especially the political class, not to do anything that could jeopardise the 2023 elections.
Panelists including Mrs Zainab Jaji, Frank Tietie, Mac Amarere and Emeka Ibe said it was not enough for citizens to identify the challenges facing the country but proffer solutions in their own little ways, stressing that if Nigeria did not break up in 2015, it can only get better in 2023 as citizens cooperate and participate in the electoral process.