For Nigeria to fulfill its great promise, there must be mutual respect between its diverse people and freedom of the federating units to utilise their natural endowments for self-development and fair competition.
Former Minister of Petroleum, Prof. Tam David-West, said this on Tuesday in Lagos during the launch of a book, “When Citizens Revolt: Nigerian Elites, Big Oil and the Ogoni Struggle for Self-determination”, written by Dr. Ike Okonta.
David-West frowned on what he called the country’s present ridiculous imitation of federalism and the attempts to discriminate between red-blooded and blue-blooded Nigerians.
“Either there is a true Nigerian federation or there is no Nigerian state. It’s as simple as that. Either we have a Nigerian state in which all of us are equal or there should be no state; we go back to our ethnic nations,” he said.
The professor of Virology believed Nigeria harboured too many destructive contradictions that must be resolved before it could make progress.
Very critical here, he said, was the situation where states of the federation went, almost on bended knees, to the Federal Government for resources to run their affairs.
Referring to the recent people's revolt in Thailand, David-West said: “We have revolutionaries, no sustained revolution. Until we have sustained rebellion, sustained revolution, the Nigerian political elite will not change.
“The Nigerian state is a state of contradictions. I don’t believe in arm struggle, except it is necessary. If you make peaceful existence impossible, you must be prepared to have violence. And violence is the only word Nigerian leaders understand.”
He described Nigeria as “a nation that hates corruption by mouth, but worships at the shrines of corruption every day, every night.”
In his own contribution, Senior Special Assistant to the Acting President, Mr. Oronto Douglas, said every Nigerian has a duty to speak up for equity and bond across ethnic, religious, economic, and political divides as the country strives to resolve its various contradictions.
“We are all on a mission here and that mission is to reclaim our humanity, reposition it within a global context that will ensure respect and dignity of us all as citizens and people in a common humanity,” Douglas said.
Among those that attended the launch were poet and social critic, Odia Ofeimun; Managing Director of THISDAY, Mr. Eniola Bello; Director, Environmental Rights Action (ERA), Mr. Nnimo Bassey; lecturer in the Department of Political Science, Lagos State University, Dr. Abubakar Momoh, who reviewed the book; presidential aide and former THISDAY Deputy Editor, Mr. Bolaji Adebiyi; and Mr. Doifie Ola.