Nigeria @61: Group preaches tolerance, patience to surmount challenges

A group, Promoters of One Nigeria Ambassadors Group (PRONIG), has advised to be patient and tolerant so that the country can surmount its numerous challenges. 

According to a statement in Abuja Friday by its publicity secretary/PRO, Chibueze Chamberlain Iroka, there is a need for political leaders to begin a process of national reconciliation and healing in order to continue keeping the country united.

The statement read in part, “At 61, Nigeria has covered a considerable milestone and has navigated triumphantly and safely through many troubled waters. There have been challenges; indeed so many challenges. There has even been a civil war. But the country, Nigeria, which is destined for greatness has always overcome.

“Therefore, in this time of a challenged economy, post Covid-19 challenges, insecurity, secessionist agitations and other forms of sociopolitical strife, Nigeria will yet prevail. We therefore salute the Giant of Africa, Nigeria, at 61.

We also congratulate and celebrate Nigerians for their resilience, steadfastness, focus and faith. 

“The country has come this far because of the sacrifices of many of her citizens. Nigerians are the best. And in spite of many challenges and agitations, we urge all Nigerians to be patient, defend their country, work for peace and unity, and remain hopeful. The Nigeria of our dream shall surely emerge. It is a work in progress. It could appear slow. But it is an assured reality.

“However, as a group completely committed to Promoting and defending the cause of a United Nigeria Project,we must admit our worry over escalating divisions within the country. PRONIG commissioned a countrywide research in August this year to understudy the faith-level of Nigerians in the United Nigeria Project. The result though not damning, is actually worrisome because of the percentage of Nigerians that appear to be losing hope. And this is some of the reasons for the national upheavals and secessionist agitations.”

He added: “PRONIG is totally apolitical, and therefore do not care about the politics of our present national tension and obvious division along ethnic, regional, and religious lines. We however must note that though Nigeria has always dealt with the issues of ethno-religious divisions, it has never been this obvious since the Nigerian Civil War. The country is evidently divided. And unfortunately, politicians are making a dangerous capital out of it. And to some others, it is just a question of the political-economy of a national crises and therefore the embers of hate and division must be flamed.

“It is time to stop, and make a sincere review so that we do not carelessly lose this beautiful country given to us by God. It will be unconscionable, even criminal for us to pretend that things will somehow be fine by some stroke of luck or magic. It is criminal because allowing this country to slide is a crime against the country itself. Therefore, the leadership of this country has a duty of dire urgency to begin a process of national reconciliation and healing.

“Consequently, we urge President Muhammadu Buhari to convoke a National Dialogue. We should not assume that these crises and agitations are mere politics. As a people, we have a duty to keep discussing. It is the absence of healthy discussions that fuel hate and divisions. Now is the time for Nigerians of different persuasions to discuss and dialogue eye-to-eye, honestly and frankly. 

“This National Dialogue will eliminate many narratives fueled by promoters of hate and division, and bring the real issues into discussable and soluble perspectives. It will be one of the greatest achievements of Mr. President because Nigeria needs peace and unity than any amount of infrastructure. We therefore plead with him to take the courage of a war-tested General that he is and convoke a National Dialogue.

“Once again, we reiterate our unwavering commitment to a Nigeria that is united, peaceful, just and progressive. We salute President Muhammadu Buhari specially on this special occasion. And we extend our felicitations to all levels of the leadership of this country, and all those ordinary Nigerians performing their little patriotic duties to make Nigeria great.