The Nigeria Political Science Association has said that Nigeria, under the watch of President Muhammadu Buhari, is more divided than ever seen since Nigeria civil war.
The association therefore called on President Buhari pay close attention on nation building to help tackle issues leading to the polarisation of the Nigerian nation.
Professor Shuaibu Ibrahim, president of the association, during a press conference in Abuja, urged the Federal Government to restore the defunct Centre for Democratic Studies established under the Babangida regime to help in the cultivation of democratic values among Nigerian political leaders.
“One of the most contentious issues in Nigeria today is the structure of Nigerian Federalism. While there appears to be a consensus that the current structure of the federation where the states and local governments depend on allocations from the federal government to pay even the salaries of their staff is unsustainable, conversations around the nature of our federalism or the direction in which it should be restructured, seem politicized,” Ibrahim said.
“The lack of consensus on the type of federalism that the country needs in order to optimally achieve unity in diversity in turn, accentuates suspicion and undermines the nation-building process.
“One of the consequences is that we have groups and individuals rapidly withdrawing from the Nigerian state and retreating into primordial identities and often regarding the state as their common enemy.
“The government needs to realize that the country is deeply polarized, perhaps more divided today than at any other time in its history since the end of the Civil War. For this reason, the government urgently needs to put the issue of nation- building on the front burner. This simply means deliberately using state instruments to re-build trust and give a sense of belonging to the different constituents of the federation.
“We strongly feel that there is a need to re-invigorate some of the past strategies used in fostering the nation building process such as the use of the federal character principle in appointments and distribution of infera structure as the noticeable lop-sidedness in appointments at all levels of governance is not only being bemoaned by all segments of the population, it is equally serving as a kind of manure that feeds the deafening calls for restructuring of the nation.
“The fact that virtually every part of the country has its own sense of being unfairly treated or marginalized at one point or the other in our political history makes a conversation on the nature of our federalism and nation-building strategies an absolute imperative. Indeed, unless the current crisis in our nation building process is resolved – and quickly too –the most convenient and temporary solutions being thrown at the country’s numerous challenges can quickly become part of the problems.”
“We will like to sincerely commend the government for taking the fight to Boko Haram and manifestly degrading the group’s capacity to inflict terror on Nigerians, especially the people in the North-eastern part of the country.
“However, while we are supportive of the government’s fight against Boko Haram, we will also like it to pay attention to the underlying factors that give rise to terrorist and insurgency groups. The fundamental grouses that mutate into terrorism and insurgencies need to be tackled at their root.
“In this sense, we advise the government to prioritize dialogue and constructive engagements over military solutions when it engages insurgency and the separatist groups so that when Boko Haram is finally defeated in the North-east we will not have other ‘Boko Harams’ springing up in other parts of the country,” he added.