Senior lawyers, Human rights activists, and fighters for democracy and good governance have blamed bad governance and mismanagement of public resources as the main reasons for constant demands for secession in Nigeria. They want government to embrace an all-inclusive coordination of affairs of the country to stem the ugly trend. They spoke at the 20th
Senior lawyers, Human rights activists, and fighters for democracy and good governance have blamed bad governance and mismanagement of public resources as the main reasons for constant demands for secession in Nigeria. They want government to embrace an all-inclusive coordination of affairs of the country to stem the ugly trend.
They spoke at the 20th Annual Gani Fawehinmi Lecture organised by the Nigeria Bar Association Ikeja Branch, titled “Right to Self Determination and Agitation for Secession in Nigeria”. They addressed the issue of democratic degeneration, with the stance that without conscious effort from the citizens, the country might not be developed.
The 20th annual lecture in the series focused on the late Fawehinmi’s legacy and principles of justice, fair play, human rights, democracy, and true federalism.
Speaking at the event as a discussant, Senator Shehu Sani, a former Senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District, decried predominant tribalism and ethnic segregation in Nigeria, noting that Nigerians should be aware that the political degradation in the country is a result of poor leadership.
He called on the Nigerians to stand up for the right cause which is good leadership and dividend of democracy instead of tribalism which will only continue to create tension in the country.
“We can’t find justice simply because the perpetrators are from our tribes or religious groups and we keep quiet. Villagers now pay terrorists in Nigeria, there are some places where villagers pay terrorists to protect them from Bandits. It is impressive for us to stand up against issues.
“We must accept the fact that as a people, if this country is going to survive we must not lose our touch as men and women of consciousness to stand for what is right. If this country is to move forward, we must learn to speak truth to power regardless of their ethnic groups.
Speaking to the several calls for disintegration of the country, Ezenwa Nwagu, a human rights activist condemned the political class who push the room for tribalism due to their personal gain. He added that the same people who are after divisionism in the country are only manipulating the sensitivity of the people, adding that rather than looking for secession, there is a need for bad governance.
Those who are called to divide the country are not different from those who are making the country worse. In the last forty years, no new housing for the poor people. The idea of secession is only used for dubious activities of the elites of the country to continue to oppress the poor people, they are all the same. Secessionism is not the problem of the country but they are only manipulating the sensitivity of our people for their thieves. For instance, nobody cares about the separation they only want basic amenities from the government.
Speaking on the need for active participation in the governing system, Pedro Lawal, the Attorney-General of Lagos, who represented the state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, urged all human rights activists to emulate the late Gani Fawehinmi by getting involved in government.
He also advocated for the incorporation of History into Nigeria education system for the coming generation to be more aware of the heroes of the country.
‘If the comrades had come together into a political group, the participation would have been different. Even in the house of assembly here in Lagos, we rarely see the agitators participate in the public hearing. History has also ended in the country, now we are saying that history must be taught in our schools so that the way our democracy is fought for is remembered.
In similar vein, Dele Adeshina, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, also opined that there is a need for another constitution in the country for good governance in the country. “Good governance will cater for us and internal determination to intervene to our people. I have said that there is a need for another Constitution because if you amend the Nigeria Constitution, the document is an illogical document with unitary components but operates in federal forms, so there is a need to revisit the Constitution.”
In his submission, a renowned human rights activist, Femi Falana appealed to the Nigerians to hold the government officials accountable in the spending of taxpayers funds and to be persistent in demanding for good governance in the country