(By Iheanyi Ezinwo) – More than 60 years after political independence, Nigeria is badly divided along ethnic, religious, political and socio-economic lines. There is also growing citizens’ distrust in government and in one another. The leaders are yet to build a nation, making Nigeria to be existing as a socially in cohesive nation.
These were the thoughts of Dr. Ike Neliaku, Chairman of National Planning Committee of South – South Citizen Summit for National Integration, Peace and Security, which was hosted by the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, NIPR, at the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, on Thursday, with the theme: ‘Re-open the Conversation: Rebuild the Trust’.
Dr. Neliaku, who harped on the need for more proactive actions towards building a better Nigeria based on inclusiveness, restored hope and peaceful coexistence, hinted that NIPR initiated the summit as part of her mandate and contributions towards fostering understanding, mutual respect, rebuilding and maintaining relationships that are broken down among Nigerians, and with government.
While observing that new Nigerians were required to build a new Nigeria, the Chairman of National Planning Committee of the summit further emphasized that NIPR was in a mission to raise the new Nigerians that will rebuild Nigeria, and solicited for the support of all to ensure successful implementation of the vision.
Earlier in his address, Chairman of the Rivers State chapter of NIPR, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, who also doubles as Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, noted that Nigeria was at cross roads, and that the Governing Council of NIPR came up with the initiative to explore ways and means of breaking the barriers of ethnicity and religion, even as he noted that Nigeria lacked leadership to galvanise her abundant resources for the benefit of all.
Other speakers at the event including MallamMukhtar Sirajo, NIPR president; Chairman of the occasion, Prof. Ndowa Lale, former Vice Chancellor at the University of Port Harcourt; Dr. Solomon Arase, former Inspector General of Police and guest speaker at the event but was represented; Alhaji Nasir Uhor, Vice President General, Rivers State Council for Islamic Affairs; Prof. Nlerum, Vice Chancellor at Rivers State University, and Prof. Emenike Wami, President General of Ogbakor Ikwerre National Convention, World Wide, attributed the restiveness in Nigeria to the promotion of injustice in Nigeria, and that the solution remained a leadership that is inclusive and responsive to the yearnings and aspirations of the citizens, irrespective of their tribe and religion.