Text of Remarks By Oseloka H. Obaze, MD/CEO Selonnes Consult Ltd. Chairman of the UNIZIK Faculty of Social Science International Conference. Theme: The State, Identities, and Power Structure in Nigeria. Awka, 26 April 2018.
It is gratifying that UNIZIK is living up to its statutory mandate and responsibilities. This conference is most propitious given its mandate.
We must continue to debate, analyze and deconstruct our governance model and even our Constitution, in order to make them more efficient and responsive to the needs of our people.
Our nation is challenged. It is our task and duty to find solutions and to speak truth to power.
Just like our physical infrastructure has been adjudged poor, our governance infrastructure are glaringly weak. But we cannot lose hope. We must work hard at nation building and salvaging our nascent democracy.
Yesterday, I attended an event in Enugu, where Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe spoke. He highlighted several national interest issues. I will paraphrase him here on the issues of security and structure because I subscribe to those views. His exact words:
“It is obvious that the security situation of the country has become dicey in view of the various conflicts and rampant killings in various parts of the country.”
“The present structure of the country does not reflect equity, justice and fairness in many aspects of our national life. It is therefore necessary to take up the issue of restructuring to achieve equity, fairness and freedom for the components federating units of the country.”
Recently in faraway Harvard University, Nigeria became a case study. The contentions were not salutary.
Let me just quote one or two assessments.
“Nigeria, sub-saharan Africa’s largest economy, epitomizes both the promise and the problems the continent faces in the 21st century. The country had failed to thrive for its first thirty years as an independent nation, despite having a developmental head start relative to countries like China and India, as well as hundreds of billions of dollars in oil revenue.. Now, after pathbreaking reforms followed by signs of retrenchment, Nigeria’s new President faced both vast opportunity and grave challenges. Would the country flourish or founder in this new era? We will analyze key reforms in Nigeria’s economy, significant political developments, and the choices facing the country’s fast-growing private sector.”
Against these backdrop, we must as we gather here, speak forthrightly and seek answers to our various national challenges. I thank you.