Ahead of the 2023 general election, Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has said distrust among political leaders was creating tension in the country, noting that it was also responsible for the many challenges bedevilling the nation.
“Our major problem is the suspicion between the different ethnic groups. Otherwise, why will someone bother where the president comes from? Let the president come from anywhere but what we need is leadership that will give sense to the people and provide everything within the constraint of resources that the people need. But when we suspect each other, that is when people crawl back to their ethnic enclaves,” he said.
Lawan stated this at the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation’s Policy Dialogue on Democracy and Unity of the State yesterday in Abuja.
He added: “When we have a marriage and there is mutual suspicion between the parties, that means the marriage may begin to suffer a bit. What we need is to be open as leaders to all manners of people. And we shouldn’t allow suspicion among us because when political leaders allow for suspicion among themselves, the outcome is that the ethnic nationalities will behave the same way.
Describing the political class as a clan irrespective of their political parties, Lawan suggested that leaders must continue to unite and engage one another to make the country a better place.
According to him, the country could be great if the political class decides to be selfless and honest.
He described Jonathan as a man with abundant traits of humility, fairness, equity and justice, adding that, “what you are doing as a former president is to show an example of what our leaders can do outside of the office.”
“After you left office in 2015, you decided to work for the unity of this country and its leadership to ensure that the country remains united. You are a unifier and we believe you mean well for this country.
“When you were in office, I was in the opposition but I supported many of your policies and opposed some. My belief is that you have demonstrated very clearly that this country can be great.”
According to him, democracy thrives on the mutuality of trust between government and the people and among the different groups within a state.
He observed that one of the major sources of problems in the continent was the inability to manage diversities, maintaining that war won’t bring peace to the continent.
“One good way to make progress in this regard is to strengthen government institutions to improve integration, equity and social inclusion in our various nations.
“Let me affirm that the weapons of our warfare in times like this should be love, justice and hope. The pursuit of these virtues will guarantee sustainable peace and unity in Africa.”
Speaking, Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, said having a dialogue on Nigeria’s democracy to make it work rather than the divisive tendencies of the moment was most pressing especially as gladiators begin to take a position for 2023 general election.
He maintained that the concept of ‘One Nigeria’ must come to mean more than it currently does to the average citizen.
On his part, Governor of Bayelsa State, Douye Diri called for the abolition of the state of origin and indigeneship from the 1999 Constitution.
“We can’t continue to blame our colonial masters for our problems. We should look inward. As Nigerians, we should forget our colonial masters and live together. Those who drafted our constitution prescribed state of origin but we need to expunge some of these legal limitations by removing that. We should replace it with the place of residence,” he noted.