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“Those who want Nigeria to break up, want to be kings in tiny islands” – Jonathan, IBB, Gowon
As drums continue to roll for the disintegration of Nigeria by different ethnic groups, religious leaders and activists, President Goodluck Jonathan Thursday affirmed that the entity called Nigeria would not divide. He stressed that those calling for the disunity would not succeed, noting that his government is committed to moving Nigeria forward and will not submit to any antics.
Jonathan said this in Abuja yesterday at a national summit and rally organized by the national leadership of Nigeria Labour Congress, (NLC) with the theme: Labour for Peace, Unity and Development.
According to Jonathan: “For you to move a modern society there must be peace. Even in those days, for a king to move a kingdom forward, there must be peace. I listened to the guest lecturer, who talked about balkanising and cannibalising Nigeria and I think those who are thinking that way want to be kings in tiny Islands.
“Those saying they want their own nation, which is Igbo nation, Yoruba nation and the rest are people who want to be kings in a tiny island, and they will not get it because Nigeria will not divide. I am committed to moving Nigeria forward and will not submit to any antics.”
The president maintained that it is unpatriotic for any man to call for the division of the nation, which our late heroes labored to build.
He condemned the recent attacks on telecommunication masts in some parts of the country by the outlawed Boko Haram sect, adding that “no matter what we think has been eroded, in contemporary society, there must be peace for development. For a nation to develop, the first thing you talk about is communication power.
“Now, in the Northern parts, communication power has been threatened because of insecurity; there is no way that will not impact on the economy. For us to move with the modern society there must be peace.”
President Jonathan maintained that the challenges currently confronting the country will be handled, assuring that the country would surely come out of this turbulent sea.
“No matter what we feel might be our modest achievements, without peace, development would not be possible. We must put in place strategies to win this economic war: by paying special attention to homegrown strategies of confronting our challenges. This gathering should provide a refreshed thinking to Nigeria unity.” He added.
Babaginda who is now a Peoples’ Democratic Party [PDP] Chieftain said contemporary global trends point to the fact that the future belongs to big nations with large populations that can stand on their own in the international community.
According to him, “the historical association among the different ethnic and religious groupings in Nigeria predated the creation of the country long intertwined by crisscrossing political, cultural, and economic ties that cannot be untangled.
“China and India as good examples of big and diverse nations attending to the twin challenges of development and nation building successfully and they have not attempted to break up for ones.
“For the Nigeria to develop there must be an evolution of a truly Nigerian citizen so that our particularistic sense of identity in ethnic, regional and religious terms graduates into a patriotic sense bond between the citizens and their nations.”
Gowon, who was chairman of the NLC summit, lamented how most Nigerians see themselves in terms of their ethnic nationalities first before being Nigerians, saying this is unacceptable.
He noted that without a unity of purpose and unity of all ethnic nationalities, there would be no peace, security, and meaningful development.
Gowon expressed his reservations about the general notion of minority and majority nationalities saying that Nigerians must see themselves as one.
He said the event was a departure from what labour was erroneously known for militancy, civil disobedience, and opposition to government’s policies.