3rd May, 2012
Worried by the persistent calls by some people for the disintegration of Nigeria, a Fellow of the Nigerian Historical Society and Director of the Centre for Trans-Sahara Studies, University of Maiduguri, Prof. Nur Alkali, has stressed that what the country needs is national integration, not disintegration.
Prof. Alkali made this position known last Thursday while speaking at the 2012 Annual Lecture of the Nigerian Academy of Letters, with the theme “Nigeria’s road to nationhood: Some highlights”.
Alkali cautioned those calling for the disintegration of the country along ethnic and geopolitical boundaries, saying that national disintegration is not in the best interest of Nigerians. He stressed that disintegration is an elite agenda and the masses should resist it because it is neither in the interest of the ordinary citizens nor is there national consensus on the matter.
His words: “Along the line of national integration some re-structuring of the polity in our political and economic systems must be done. The leadership of both the Executive and Legislature should take the centre-stage and make this possible. No one has given them or any other group of Nigerians the mandate to promote the agenda for the breaking up of this great nation. We have gone too far on the road to nationhood to begin to look backward. The concept of unity has a divine injunction.”
The lecturer noted that Nigerians are a highly enterprising people if given the opportunity to apply their skills, talent and professions. He submitted that Nigerians are found in almost every country of the world or every plane flying from one continent to the other. He regretted that so much valuable time, energy and resources are wasted due to the lack of guidance, leadership and the political will.
Alkali argued that corruption is the greatest evil involving the entire strata of our society, adding that presidents, governors, legislators, the judiciary, civil service, the military, the police, the academics, the business class and all kinds of professionals are guilty.
“Even the anti-corruption agencies and outfits are accused of this evil called corruption,” he stressed.
The don submitted that other vices confronting the country are crime in their various forms, poverty, unemployment, electoral crime and malpractices. He emphasised that the theft being perpetrated in the country is in trillions of naira and billions of dollars as reported daily in media or prosecuted in courts. “To be frank, these negative traits in our polity exist and we cannot deny them. When I did not receive my salary for two months in my university, I simply said the country is broke and the treasury is empty”, he remarked.