By Angela Atabo
Nigerian youths have resolved to work for the unity and progress of the country by ensuring that its pride is discovered.
They made the promise at the We the People of Nigeria (WEPON) National Reconciliation Summit organised by a Civil Society Organisation, New Nigeria is Possible (NNIP) in Abuja on Friday.
Mr Chris Nwani, Co-convener,New Nigeria is Possible Vision, said that the summit was one idea that could help Nigerians jettison past mistakes and usher in way forward for an egalitarian society.
Nwani who is also the author of the book “A New Nigeria is Possible, said that organising the summit became imperative because in recent times there had been cries of disunity, secession, poverty and other things in Nigeria.
“We have come to realise that what has happened to our nation is because a generation has not risen up to take responsibility for true nation building.
“We have been doing quite a lot, but you can see that must of the things we are doing does not seem to be yielding results because you can’t be doing a wrong thing and expect right result.
“So, we feel it’s high time for those who feel they have the right result to come out and let’s face the reality.
“The reality before us is that Nigeria needs to be revived and realigned,we need to restore hope and the only way we can do it is to come together ,bringing all ethnic groups in Nigeria together to air their grievances ,’’ he said.
Nwani said that the summit was aimed at hearing the grievances of each zone of the country and charting the way forward adding that a document would be produced as a reference point for all Nigerians.
“Youths are willing to repair this country and thwier presence here today proved it, a lot of people applied to be here but we could not take them all,’’he said.
Ms Angel Arinze ,a participant from the South East ,said that the theme of the summit was apt because it would help in addressing the wrongs done to people by region, gender, age and group.
“You can see that all regions are represented here, we have women ,youths ,Muslims Christians all participating here so we intend to handle all the grievances that have affected us as humans then as tribes.
“We will then forge ahead to look for a way to reconcile ,to forgive ourselves and find a workable way on how to forge ahead to build a new Nigeria because we youths of Nigeria are saying Nigeria will not disintegrate,” Arinze said.
Mr Zacks Jatau , a participant from the North West ,said that a New Nigeria was possible in spite of the disappointing slow progression of the country.
According to Jatau ,it is only when true reconciliation and forgiveness sincerely is done that things will be settled.
“That is what we are here to do as Nigerians to acknowledge the pains and grievances caused by the past and present leaders.
“We acknowledge that there are grievances all over the regions and ethnic groups and we are seeking forgiveness and saying a new Nigeria is possible and it is not a rocket science, it is achievable and by us.
“This will go a long way in solving issues of disunity, youth restiveness and general insecurity because we are here to face the core issues and ask for forgiveness among ourselves and to say that humanity is everything.
“ Youths are the centre piece of unity of Nigeria and nation building. Youths should push hard sincerely to take over governance and be relevant in the nation,’’he said.
Mr Olufemi Somotun ,a participant from the South West, said that the time had come for youths to stop talking about the challenges in the country but step out to provide solutions.
Somotun said that going forward ,there was need to focus more on the things that unified Nigerians and this included finding solutions to insecurity and by introducing state policing as a way forward.
“Proper federalism, true restructuring of the economy and giving autonomy to the local government system is key ,so governors should allow the system work and there should also be separation of power between the judiciary, executive and legislature.
“This will help our democracy and make Nigeria move forward ,that being said ,we look forward to a better Nigeria,’’he said.
Mr Nathaniel Zakka-Arewa a participant from the North East, said that reconciliation was one of the fundamental keys for Nigeria to heal the wounds of the past and see how the future would be built.
“As a youth ,the summit is one of the most relevant things I should key into because going forward ,I am looking at equipping myself with the necessary weapon to preach unity ,peace void of tribalism ,religion or any form of prejudice from any sort of thing that has bedeviled Nigeria,’’he said.
Ms Karen Ebenezer ,a South-South participant ,commended the initiative, adding that it gave Nigerian government youths the opportunity to air their voices.
Ebenezer called for an end to marginalisation ,ethnic conflicts and the need to build a new Nigeria where everyone was treated equally.
“So we hope that for this summit apart from just talking ,we will see action following ,from the top to the bottom and we hope that with the new Nigeria we are trying to build it will be a nation where everyone is adequately represented and treated fairly,’’ she said. (NAN)