Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria At 100 - Don't Take Our Unity for Granted - -Atiku

On the occasion of the country's centenary, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, yesterday, called on Nigerians not to take the continued unity of the country for granted even as he cautioned against distractions that could impede the future prosperity of the nation.

Atiku, in his centenary message to the country, urged Nigerians to look above the structural fragments that divide the nation, saying that the victims of the ineptitude leadership were neither divided by ethnicity, tribe nor religion.

He lamented that 40 years after the civil war, the country's leaders could still be playing ethnic and religious games to gain power.

He said: "As we mark the centenary celebration of the amalgamation of the Lagos colony with the Northern and Southern Protectorates by the British Colonial occupier forming one country, Nigerians need to pat each other on the back for we have truly come a long way. However, we must redouble our efforts towards building a stronger and more united Nigeria rather than concentrating energies on division or breakup.

"The recent clamour by some of Nigeria's leaders for a renegotiation of the continued being of Nigeria are dishonest and an unnecessary distraction from the future that we can build. Such leaders need to concentrate their efforts on tackling the challenges ranging from lack of security to addressing poverty and unemployment through infrastructural investments.

"The victims of structural ineptitude are not distinguished on the basis of their ethnicity, tribe, religion or region. It is also a truism that both the perpetrators and their victims are Nigerians, and secession will not fix these woes.

Rather, if our leaders devoted more energy to dealing with these basic challenges facing the ordinary Nigerians, ethnic and religious differences would have sunk to the background as people are able to focus on opportunities available to them."

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