Former President Goodluck Jonathan has said that Nigeria is not yet a nation because of the lack of unity and trust among the people. He also said that the founding fathers of Nigeria failed to build a nation after independence, leaving behind a country with many unresolved issues.
Jonathan said this in his remarks during a national dialogue and public presentation of 21 books, held in honour of Prof. Udenta Udenta, as part of activities to mark his 60th birthday, in Abuja, on Tuesday.
He said that Nigeria needs to embrace dialogue and peace as the only way to achieve nationhood, adding that violence and war will only lead to more problems and suffering.
He said: “We have a country but we don’t have a nation. The basic thing about a nation is the trust and unity among the people. We don’t have that. We have so many unresolved issues that are dividing us. We have not been able to manage our diversity well.”
He lamented that the founding fathers of Nigeria did not lay a solid foundation for nation-building after independence, but rather focused on their personal and regional interests.
He said: “The founding fathers of Nigeria did not build a nation for us. They built a country for themselves and their regions. They did not address the fundamental issues that affect the people. They left behind a legacy of suspicion, mistrust, and conflict.”
He urged Nigerians to learn from the example of Prof. Udenta Udenta, who he described as a public intellectual par excellence, who has contributed immensely to the development of Nigeria through his writings and activism.
He said: “Prof. Udenta is a rare gem, a man of courage and conviction, who has used his pen and voice to speak truth to power and advocate for justice and democracy. He has written 21 books on various aspects of Nigeria’s history, culture, politics, and economy. He has also mentored many young leaders and intellectuals who are making positive impacts in their fields.”
He congratulated Prof. Udenta on his 60th birthday and wished him more years of fruitful service to humanity. He also called on Nigerians to support his vision of increased youth participation in governance and decision-making.
He said: “I join millions of Nigerians to celebrate Prof. Udenta on his 60th birthday. He is a role model and an inspiration to many. I urge Nigerians to support his initiatives and programmes that aim to empower the youth and involve them more actively in the affairs of the nation.”