The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, on Wednesday called on Nigerians to stand firm and defend the unity of the country.
Tambuwal made the call at the 10th Daily Trust Dialogue entitled: "Nation Building: Challenges and Reality", organised by the Media Trust Limited in Abuja.
He said the country may be facing numerous challenges but if Nigerians would stand together in unity, we would succeed.
"This nation is facing a lot of challenges, but we do not face a hopeless situation. The future is bright even though the horizon appears cloudy.
"More than ever before, this is a time for us to stand together, to count our blessing and guard our hard fought unity.
"The random act of violence, which some critic call sign of a failing state, are in reality clear indications that we still have work to do. The challenges of nation building are huge in a place like Nigeria.
"The diversity of culture and character, the difference in religion and tradition, the clear gap in values and orientation and the dubious legacy of our colonial history, made the prospect down.
"But if we resolve to work together, we can push them all," Tambuwal said.
He said that the job of nation building is not done with yet, adding: "we must continue to tolerate each other knowing that we are as well to others as they appear to us".
In his remark, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Rev. Matthew Kukah, stressed the need for all to defend the nation's democracy and encourage politicians, rather than criticising most of the time.
"I am convinced that this nation will succeed. We need people to fix things right, we can't continue to call the names of our founding fathers. We must learn to encourage our politicians.
"We must defend this democracy not because it is perfect but because of our future. We should concentrate on the achievement and build on it," Kukah said.
According to him, we must be conscious that we are leaders in our respective fields and it is the aggregate of our responsibility that builds the nation.
The Director, Africa Research and Development Agency, Dr Sule Bello, in his speech said that the problem of nation building in Africa was not solely about bad leadership but the influence of foreign powers.
He said nation building was a major way through which political entities were created and it was on the basis of the same principle governing the creations of nation states that international relationships were organised.
Bello said Pan African leaders were constantly being opposed by the west and "what we have in return are agents of the west.
"Africa is not independent of other nations and we must fight to be independent. This fight must not be based on ethnic or religious difference," he said.
Bello said Africans should clearly define unity in the interest of the continent and follow it to a logical conclusion.
However, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, has also urged Nigerians to imbibe the culture of tolerance as the country celebrates Eid-El- Maulud, the birth of Prophet Muhammad.
This is contained in a message issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Malam Imam Imam, on Wednesday in Abuja.
Tambuwal enjoined Nigerians to eschew bitterness and primordial sentiments in their dealings with one another.
He said Prophet Muhammad's life was an example in forthrightness, diligence, hard work, and commitment to set objectives.
According to him, when imbibed, these virtues can help propel any nation toward rapid growth and development.
He said that on this occasion of the celebration of Eid- El-Maulud, Nigerians should collectively reflect on how the prophet's life and ideals could help the country to overcome its present challenges.