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Abdulsalami: Nigeria not a failed nation

…condemns activities of secessionist groups

Former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), yesterday, faulted some prominent Nigerians and groups who have tagged Nigeria as a failed state. The former military dictator described their perception as negative and unhelpful to the development of the country.

Some prominent Nigerians, including former President Olusegun Obasanjo; Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka and a host of others, recently reviewed the state of the nation and declared that Nigeria was fast becoming a failed state. Although, Abdulsalami did not make any direct reference to these personalities, he was apparently addressing the concerns raised by them a few weeks ago.

Abdulsalami, who spoke to newsmen in Minna, the Niger State capital, on Nigeria’s 60th independence anniversary, admitted that the country has security, economic and political challenges, but said these were not enough to classify her as a failed nation. According to him, Nigeria still commands respect in the comity of nations in spite of these challenges. The ex-military ruler said that like every other nation, Nigeria has had “its ups and downs” but that does not make her a failed nation in the true sense of it. “It takes two to tango. When you say a nation has failed, what causes that failure? You point accusing fingers at the government, but who is the government? It’s me and you.

“It is always good to remain positive about the country, individual contributions is key to nation building. What have we contributed to trying to make the so-called failure? Have we done our citizen’s right? Have we done our citizen’s duty? Are we obeying the law of the country? Are we paying our taxes? “Nigeria has problems, there is insecurity, there is poor economic situation and so on, but does that make us a failed nation? In a true sense, I will say we have problems.

But are we on the way to becoming a failed nation? It depends on which side you are coming from and where you are looking at. “I agree a lot of things could be done better, so if we as a people are having a feeling that we are becoming a failed nation, what are we doing that is making us a failed nation and what is it that we should do to get out of this bad perception? We could do more. The only way to do more is for all of us to put our hands on deck to ensure that we do the right thing,” he said. Abdulsalami canvassed the need for all Nigerians to think of what they can contribute to nation building while also ensuring more equity and justice for every citizen.

He also expressed desire to see a new Nigeria where there will be equal representation in all facets of national life so as to disabuse the minds of Nigerians on religious and ethnic differences. On the agitation for secession by different groups in Nigeria, Abdulsalami reminded the separatist groups that Nigeria’s strength lies in togetherness of the diverse groups in the country.

“One thing we should take note of is, there is an advantage in unity. There is strength in togetherness. Nigeria is being seen today as the biggest black nation in the world and I believe this way we can make an impact in world politics in ensuring that we represent the black nation in the world. Let’s unite, not split Nigeria. “We should have a bigger voice in maintaining this leadership. That can only be achieved when we are together as a nation.

When we try to split this country, we just become a nonentity; our voice will not be heard. “For Nigeria to remain as one, we must ensure that there are equity and justice and to make sure that there is equal representation as we move ahead.

“We must be a disciplined society. It is very unfortunate that there is still indiscipline in this country. People don’t obey rules, they do not obey orders, they flaunt anything you can think of. So, first of all, you must impose selfdiscipline,” he said.

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