By Ahmed Ajikobi
The Nigeria Political Science Association (NPSA) has harped on dialogue as way to put an end to political challenges confronting the Nigerian nation.
This was contained in a statement made available to this medium on Saturday and signed by the President of the NPSA, Professor Hassan Saliu.
The association observed that some prominent Nigerians were fanning embers of discord with their unguided utterances.
The statement said, “Admittedly, Nigeria is in a state of anomie characterized by various forms of agitations and contestations. Virtually, everything in the nation now generates concerns and apprehensions among the citizens. “Some citizens and groups have taken the extreme position of calling for the break-up of the country, while some others believe in restructuring.
“Even among the silent majority, the feeling of uneasiness is evident. The Nigerian State is, no doubt, overwhelmed by the challenges facing the country. Evidently, the role and capacity of the State to effectively mediate in the on-going social conflicts and resolve them, are being debated by the citizens.
“The activities of some citizens and groups in recent times have posed the most potent threats to the monopoly of the state in the control of instruments of coercion as there are several arms bearing groups that are increasingly turning their guns against the state and citizens.
“They regularly issue threats and carry them out with impunity. Indeed, there are ominous signs of challenging times in the land!
Inter-group relations have been assaulted as suspicions, disaffection, intolerance, and contempt are now defining how the various ethnic groups relate with one another. Some Nigerians in and out of government through their utterances and actions, are not helping matters as they are more divisive than craving for national unity with their offerings on the state of the nation.”
Saliu stressed that NPSA is deeply concerned and worried about the unfortunate turn of events in Nigeria.
“Citizens who had lived peacefully together in the past are no longer ready to tolerate one another based on their social identities, with a negative consequence on nation-building efforts.
“Indeed, the level of cultural secularization has critically waned.
“While our Association agrees that the problems facing the nation are multifaceted and multi-layered and are becoming more intractable, we still believe that the situation is not beyond redemption as to warrant calling for secession from the nation. All what is required is the development of more awareness of the problems and the readiness to apply a mix of therapies that are people’s centered.
“To be sure, the NPSA believes in a strong and united Nigeria and as such, it frowns at the incessant drum of disintegration being beaten by some aggrieved Nigerians. We believe in one Nigeria where all its citizens will enjoy justice, equity, fairness and peace. We thus disapprove of extreme posturing and agitations, verging on the dismemberment of the country as being demanded by some groups.
“As Political Scientists, we do not grudge against some Nigerians who have grievances with the current state of affairs in Nigeria and are ready to canvass their views within the confines of the law. “However, we reject the option of breaking-up the country for its many consequences that some countries that have passed through the route are still living with. Fortunately, we are in a democracy with its avowed principles guiding its operation. Its time-tested principles such as dialogue should be embraced by all in navigating the country away from the path of the precipice and thus strengthening the bond that exists among Nigerians. Political problems, require political solutions.
“The NPSA considers dialogue as a crucial option for addressing the current challenges facing the nation. It is indeed a far better alternative that costs less than the long-term high cost that will attend the wedge that has been erected to frustrate more flow of conversations between the government and citizens to arrive at a national consensus. Democracy does not anticipate that there will ever be obstructions to dialogue.
“We therefore call for the broadening of our understanding of democracy to underscore the essence of citizens’ engagement with government and vice-versa to resolve national issues and hence, promote national unity.”
He urged those beating drum for secession to stop, while the political elites address the root cause of the nagging issues that laid the basis for the various agitations being witnessed in the land.