By Angela Atabo
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says Nigeria remains unbreakable and its people indivisible in spite of the challenges facing the country.
Osinbajo said this at “The Nigeria Social Cohesion Dialogue and Unveiling of the 2021 Nigeria Social Cohesion Survey Report” by the Africa Polling Institution (API) in Abuja .
According to Osinbajo, a major feature of Nigerians is their optimism, as they are forever hopeful about their prospects and take their destinies in their hands working hard for better life .
He said that it was this capacity for hope that made Nigerians resilient in the face of incredible odds.
“This is who we are as a people and it is why I believe that we will prevail over today’s tribulations .
“We must remind ourselves of certain truths, the first is that our present challenges are neither unique nor exceptional .
“Various nations at various points in their histories underwent similar tribulations.
“Many nation throughout history and across the world have had to tackle this same task, many are still doing so. It is within our powers to address these challenges and emerge from them even stronger as a people,” he said
Osinbajo said that in spite of the divisive rhetorics of demagog and utterances of those who make profit from disharmony, Nigerians do not hate each other .
“Everyday, millions of Nigerians with different ethnicity and creeds intaract, make common goal and forge friendships across our fable fault lines.
“They partner to do business, to engage in philanthropy and advance their political goals, they are trading, they are intermarrying and migrating across this land in search of better livelihoods.”
According to him, in any diverse society with such a variety of persuasions and pedigrees, degrees of fiction and conflicts are inevitable .
“While we have our share of such acrimony, the situation does not support the narrative that we are a nation of fragments condemned perpetually to be at each others throat .
“What matters is how committed we are to constructive management of diversity and the peaceful resolutions of such conflicts, this is where we should certainly work more harder.”‘
Osinbajo said that the fair swift and equitable dispensation of justice to address both everyday grievances and long suffered wrongs was essential in fostering social cohesion .
He said that Nigeria had what it took to perform favourably so they should fight for the unity of the nation.
The keynote speaker, Dr Hussaini Abdu said that the topic “Fostering Peace and Unity in Nigeria: The Imperatives of National Social Cohesion” was apt.
Abdu said that although Nigeria was faced with a lot of challenges, changing the narrative by taking some steps would address the challneges .
He said that identity politics and cultural segmentisation, poor policies choices, lack of accountability and punishment for crimes among others were some of the issues of the nation.
According to him, these challenges can be curbed through proper social cohesion which involved building shared values, reducing disparities and generally enabling people to have a sense of belonging .
He, therefore, advised that the Federal Government should convey a national security summit to get the opinions of Nigerians on the situation as security agents could not tackle it alone.
Abdu advised that there should be massive recruitment in the security architecture to increase manpower, use of technology, especially satellite to detect people carrying weapons in the forests.
He also expressed the need to decolonise Nigeria’s history by rewriting it in truth in the light of what cultures stood for with a right message .
” The situation of our problem is internal, so we must find it. We need to find the political will to solve it and leadership is key .”
Prof. Bell Ihua, the Executive Director API ,said that the institute was an independent, nonprofit and nonpartisan research think-tank which conducts opinion polls, surveys, social research and evaluation studies for good governance .
” The concept of social cohesion refers to the willingness of citizens to cooperate and work together toward ensuring the survival and prosperity element .
“The 2021 Nigeria social cohesion survey is a national citizens perception survey that sought to develop a national social cohesion index for Nigeria and gauge citizens perception regarding the state of social cohesion in Nigeria .’
Ihua said that the 2021 survey focused on 10 key indicators of sub-indices in examining the concept of social cohesion, identity trust, social justice, participation and patriotism among others .
He said that the institute considered the report timely and germane to the current conversation bordering on Nigeria’s unity ,stability ,progress and peaceful coexistence which had been threatened in recent times.
He said the institute recommended that the three tiers of government identify new tactical measures that would promote social cohesion ,peace and interrelations among citizens .
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event was attended by Royal fathers ,members of the National Assembly, and Civil society groups among others .(NAN)