Immediate past governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole and the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof Itse Sagay (SAN) yesterday, expressed divergent opinions on the state of the nation.
While Oshiomhole called for attitudinal change by Nigerians and adequate application of the nation’s natural wealth for the benefit of all states in the federation, Sagay opined that true federalism would be the solution to Nigeria’s problems.
The duo gave their views while speaking at the 20th Wole Soyinka annual lecture with the theme: “Nigerian State in the aftermath of the Centenary: Prospects for its indivisibility”, held in Benin City.
Oshiomhole said Nigeria, having survived 103 years as a nation should not talk of restructuring and division, but should think of how to do things right as its problem was centered on leadership.
“To me, Nigeria is likened to a man who has got married to his wife 103 years ago. He cannot say he is tired of his wife, because of a little misunderstanding and therefore, calling for a divorce. It will not work. What he will do is to look for a solution to the problem and make the marriage work.
“This should be the state of the nation. What we should be talking about is how to make the country work rather than calling for division and restructuring”, he said.
The former labour leader said Nigerians needed the country more than the country needed them and that all they needed to do was make the project Nigeria work , noting that there was no nation in the world without its own challenges.
On his part, Sagay said it was pertinent at this time in the history of the country to embark on restructuring, as it would foster development in the federating units, rather than centering the entire wealth of the nation at the centre.
He observed that with the current state of the nation, the federating units had been made to suffer and live at the mercy of the Federal Government.
According to him, the pseudo federal system of government being practiced had made some part of the states in the country to abandon cotton and groundnut production for crude oil.To him, the country should return to the 1963 constitution.
On his part, former governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, said Nigeria was at the verge of extinction and that all hands must be on deck to salvage it.
Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State said the state believed in the unity of Nigeria, saying that was the reason his government was bent of deepening democracy and providing good governance for the people of the state.
The Delta State governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, represented by his Chief of Staff, Mr. Tam Brisibe, said Nigerians should preach peace rather than division, noting that should there be any conflict, it should be resolved through dialogue, with the unity of the country held sacrosanct.