By Tunde Oguntola |
A former president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan has said that the nation cannot restructure in isolation without tackling the challenges of tribalism, nepotism and religious extremism.
Jonathan insisted that nepotism, ethnic and religious differences as well as lack of patriotism have continued to limit the unity and progress of the nation.
Speaking at the 18th Daily Trust Dialogue with the theme: “Restructuring: Why? How?” Jonathan said Nigeria cannot be restructured without tackling the challenges that polarised the country.
He also called on Nigerians to restructure their minds.
According to him, “We cannot restructure in isolation without tackling the challenges that polarise our nation. These include nepotism, ethnic and religious differences as well as lack of patriotism”.
“The issues of tribe and religion have continued to limit our unity and progress as a nation. My conviction is that discussion on restructuring will not help except we restructure our minds because some of the challenging issues at the national level still exist at the state and local levels”.
“How do we restructure to make sure that those things don’t happen again? This shows restructuring alone may not solve all the anomalies in our system. I believe that restructuring for a better nation is good but there are other fundamental issues we should also address.”
Speaking further, Jonathan disclosed that the restructuring of Nigeria into 12 states by former military head of state, Gen Yakubu Gowon (rtd) at the outset of the civil war was to protect Nigeria from disintegration.
He, however, said Nigerians have intensified the calls for restructuring because the federal system of governance handed to the country by the British can no longer accommodate the complexities of the nation.
The former president said he believed that the amalgamation of northern and southern protectorates to form Nigeria is not the problemof the country, adding that divisive politics has greatly affected the nation’s unity.
“As president, I had the privilege of celebrating our nation’s golden jubilee in 2010 and the centenary of our amalgamation in 2014. When we were to celebrate these milestones, some Nigerians saw our intention, arguing that the amalgamation was faulty”.