Nigeria is a great nation with a rich diversity of ethnic, religious, and cultural groups. However, Nigeria is also a nation that has been torn apart by conflicts, violence, and mistrust among its people. The 2023 presidential election was a bitter and bloody affair, as accusations of rigging, fraud, and violence tainted the process. Many Nigerians are fearful for the future of their country, and wonder if it can overcome its challenges and remain united.
Peter Obi, the Labour Party presidential candidate, spoke to Nigerians on Saturday, July 29, 2023, in a twitter space organized by Parallel Facts, a popular online platform for civic engagement and fact-checking. He shared his views on how he would unite the country with inclusivity, not division. He answered questions from Nigerians on various topics, including national unity.
One of the questions he was asked was what his plan was to unite the country after the election that affected national unity and split Nigeria apart. Obi said that he was glad that these issues were coming out, as they exposed the failures and incompetence of the current administration. He said that he campaigned across Nigeria in 2015 with former President Goodluck Jonathan, and that President Muhammadu Buhari made sweet promises but did not deliver on them. He said that he did not see any poverty reduction, cheaper food, or improved security in the North or any other region.
He also said that politicians used ethnicity and religion as tools to sow divisions and manipulate the masses. He asked whether the cost of food, petrol, and bread was cheaper for any ethnic or religious group than another. He said that when he was growing up, he worked and lived peacefully with people of different backgrounds. He said that he studied at the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) with many Muslims and Christians in the late 70s and early 80s.
He said that inclusivity was the key to national unity, and that it was enshrined in the constitution. He gave an example of Air Peace, a Nigerian airline that hosted former Nigerian football players without discriminating based on their ethnicity or religion. He said that Nigerians could do these things effortlessly.
He also said that Nigerians intermarried across ethnic and religious lines, and that he considered a Yoruba woman who lived in the same block of flats with him as a mother. He said that he attended her funeral yesterday. He said that he knew the problems of each region of Nigeria, and that he would address them if elected president. He said that he would revive local leagues, sports, entertainment, and other sectors that fostered national cohesion