Former head of state, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), has disagreed with those describing Nigeria as “a mere geographical expression,” a snide attack often used to imply that the nation will fail.
The former Nigerian leader said although those using the phrase may have their reasons, it presents an incomplete picture of the country’s potential.
“Nigeria is more than geography,” General Abdulsalami said in a rare foreword to Nigeria @ 60 Big Book.
“It is the sum total of its rich and diverse cultural heritage, its vast potential in material and human resources and its unique legacy as the world’s most populous black country. That is more than an accident of geography”, he added.
In the foreword entitled, “Our March To Greatness,” the former head of state who is also the chairman of the National Peace Committee, a non-governmental organisation on peaceful elections, noted that Nigeria has more to offer the Black race and the world than most people care to admit.
He stated that if Nigeria was just an accident of geography, it would have collapsed under the weight of trials in the last 60 years of independence.
He recalled that even after his regime transferred power in 1999, people predicted that the civilian administration would be short-lived.
General Abubakar said it was gratifying that the government is doing its best to tackle the myriad of challenges facing the country in spite of the odds.
“In our march to greatness, we have been tried and tested. On this 60th independence anniversary, we must reflect soberly and use the lessons of the past to make a brighter future for our teeming population,” he said, adding that the task of greatness is not for the leaders alone.
“We all – leaders and followers – have a part to play. To slightly paraphrase Alexander Pope, we must act well our part; there all the honour lies,” Abubakar further noted.
While receiving the letter, the chairman of LEADERSHIP Group, Mr Sam Nda-Isaiah, thanked the former head of state.
He said, “The Big Book is a deliberate effort to document the country’s milestones and inspire the collective will to build a better, sustainable legacy.”
General Abubakar’s preamble is the second foreword for LEADERSHIP in 10 years. His letter comes after a historic preamble to the ‘Big Book’ by President Muhammadu Buhari in which the president emphasised that Nigeria is stronger together.
The vice chairman of LEADERSHIP COLLECTION Limited, publisher of the book, Mr Azu Ishiekwene, said he was impressed by the excitement and expression of interest the iconic publication has created.
He also said limited content was already available for viewing at: www.nigeriasixty.com.