"Nigeria cannot afford disintegration" - IBB warns

Obviously disturbed by the spate disintegration mongering, Former Military President, Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida has warned that Nigeria cannot afford disintegration because the country is so intertwined and that contemporary global trends point to population as might.

He said this while delivering a lecture at the Public Presentation of the Blueprint Newspaper in Abuja.

Speaking on the topic, “Development and Economic Growth in a Multi-cultural Society: An agenda for Nigeria” IBB however said it is truly unfortunate that many that many key issues relating to our nationhood remained unsettled.

“Our many decades of statehood had failed to create the framework for significantly transforming the particularistic senses of identity in ethnic, regional and religious terms into a strong Nigerian national identity.

“The all important task of nation-building has for long been left to chance or been conducted in a haphazard and half-hearted manner. In this lies the biggest challenge in the country’s quest to register any significant degree of development”

He further decried that the Nigerian state which is supposed to be the main instrument for enabling development process remained constantly challenged by issues of legitimacy as to cripple its ability to perform its role effectively.

“We have no option but to face the fact that our diversity is not going to disappear and disintegration is not an option that Nigeria and its people can afford. In the first place, the historical association between the different communities currently in Nigeria predated the creation of the country. Consequently, we have been long intertwined by criss-crossing political, cultural and economic ties that cannot be untangled.

Secondly, contemporary global trends point to the fact that the future belongs to big nations with large populations that can stand their own in the international community. China and India readily comes to mind as good examples of big and diverse nations that are attending to the twin challenges of development and nation-building successfully in an integrated and systematic manner”

He however said the process of economic growth must priorities job creation as a central objective and all policies, programmes and projects should be justified in terms of their potential for generating employment for unemployed Nigerians.

He also emphasized the need for deliberate and conscious efforts to promote small and medium term scale enterprises as well as encourage agriculture and aggro-allied industralisation.