By AMARACHUKWU OKOROAFOR
The Senate yesterday directed the federal government to urgently adopt and send to the National Assembly the report of the 2014 National Conference organized by the former President Goodluck Jonathan administration.
The directive of the Senate is coming as a necessary measure to evolve solutions to tackle the escalating ethnic agitations in some parts of the country which is threatening the peace and unity of the nation.
The lawmakers said the greatest challenge facing Nigeria is the threat to national unity, as centrifugal forces, ethnicity and religious intolerance have enveloped national consciousness.
It was resolved that senators should quickly intensify their representative role and embark on sensitization campaign in their various constituencies to highlight the importance of harmonious and peaceful coexistence among Nigerians.
Recall that Jonathan had set up a confab committee to discuss issues that concerns Nigeria with the purpose of finding lasting solutions to them and to maintain the country’s indivisibility. The report was forwarded on Wednesday, May 27, 2014 for consideration and necessary legislative actions by the Senate, but it was stepped down.
Yesterday, the Senate Leader, Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan (Yobe North) moved a motion on the urgent need to proffer lasting solutions to ensure unity and harmony in the country and was well supported by all the lawmakers.
Tagged ” The Need for National Unity and Peaceful Coexistence in Nigeria” the motion seek to convey commitment of all Nigerians to live together in unity and harmony as one indivisible and indissoluble sovereign nation.
Leading the debate, Lawan noted that “since Independence, national integration has been the priority of government in Nigeria which saw the establishment of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), the Unity School System, the Federal Character Principles and many other affirmative policies intended to achieve national integration and
Lawan stated that some citizens rather than work for integration into a cohesive nation with a common sense of national identity, are busy preaching primordial affiliation, and clamouring for ethically based and regionally supported threat to one united Nigeria in various parts of the country.
“The amalgamation of the Southern and Northern Protectorates in 1914 was not a mistake, but a design by the Almighty God as a nation of brothers and sisters united in common destiny,” he stated.
Senator Barnabas Gemade (Benue North East) said to properly address the challenges facing national unity, there must be upholding of fairness, justice and the rule of law.
Senator Adamu Aliero (Kebbi Central) said the motion was necessary explaining that the recommendations of the National confab of 2014 addressed most of the national challenges enhancing disunity of Nigeria and urged that it should be adopted.
Senator Shehu Sani (Kaduna Central) said peace is a major hold of a nation and that politicians must unambiguously refrain from sitting on the fence but to seriously evolve a framework on reconstruction of the country.
“Politicians from the all the geopolitical zones must have the courage and must unequivocally, unreservedly and unambiguously, not be sitting on the fence or playing the ostrich in crisis like this. We must look at the possible ways of reconstructing our country and a framework must be established,” Sani stated.
The minority leader, Godswil Akpabio (Akwa Ibom North West) noted that ethnic agitations often start due to anger and feelings of marginalization hence it is not properly addressed at the Federal Character. He said nationalities must shun the negative attitude of pressing down other ethnic groups whenever they takeover leadership of
Senator Jonah Jang in his contribution said the major problem of Nigeria is leadership and that the recent agitations from the youths arose simply because the youngsters are not sure of their future and called for tackling of education and unemployment challenges.
After the deliberations, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu applauded the effort of the lawmakers for charting a way forward for peace and unity to thrive, and said that it is a development that would further impact confidence of the led in the leadership of the nation.