Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said Nigeria is in need of a rebuilding and restructuring plan that would be developed by the Federal Government of Nigeria, in collaboration with the state governments.
He made the disclosure in the 2021 public service lecture, entitled: ‘Nation-Building in a Time of Turbulence’, organised by the University of Ibadan Alumni Association (UIAA), held in Ibadan on Friday evening.
Gbajabiamila, who was represented by Prince Hakeem Adeyemi, representing Oyo Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, stated that Nigeria must draw lessons from is the story of Western Europe at the end of the World War II. He noted that though the continent then laid in ruins, physically, economically and psychologically devasted to a degree, unlike anything the world had ever seen.
“Now, despite the destruction, the strategic importance of western Europe in the global order was evident to those paying attention. For us in Nigeria, our conditions are not quite the same. Nonetheless, securing our future requires us to think in similarly broad terms. We must recognise that structural factors, historical choices, and contemporary dynamics have created a dangerous vortex of insecurity, social upheaval and economic uncertainty that requires urgent and strategic action to overcome.
“We must act in the conviction that despite our present circumstances, we still have it in our power to make decisions and take action to prevent the worst outcomes. In effect, we need a Rebuilding and Restructuring Plan developed by the Federal Government of Nigeria, in collaboration with the State Governments.
We need a program that is honest in its assessment of our present realities and draws upon our unique strengths to deliver a proposal for the future that is both realistic and immediately implementable. We need a plan that addresses economics and national security, infrastructure development and healthcare, job creation and social welfare. We also need a program of broad structural change that addresses the foundational issues of identity and history that have too long troubled us and inhibited our ability to rise to our highest potential.
“Something else that happened at the end of the second world war was the formation of the United Nations (or the United Nations Organisation as it was then called). The UN replaced the League of Nations, which was created at the end of the first world war but proved ineffective in delivering its mandate to maintain world peace.
“The formation of the United Nations marked the birth of modern multilateralism and the broad recognition that we achieve more when we band together to pursue shared objectives. Multilateralism has had more than its fair share of failures. However, the fundamental truth of strength in unity cannot be reasonably disputed. If anything, we are reminded once more in our present circumstances that the alternative portends a far greater danger to world peace, economic prosperity, and social development.
“Let us take two lessons from this. The first is that national unity is an essential requirement for peace, progress, and prosperity in a heterogeneous society such as ours. However, we must understand that unity by itself is not the objective. This understanding is the missing component in our conversations about the unity of our country.
“Too often, when we speak about Nigerian unity, we talk about unity as if that by itself is the objective, without clarifying the goals of the unity we seek. Unity is merely the means to an end. Unity is required for effective national collaboration. This is, in turn, the essential condition for Nigeria to make the hard decisions necessary for successful nation-building.
The second lesson is that for us in Africa, we must actively seek partnerships that allow us to address our common challenges and prepare ourselves and each other to respond more effectively to future threats. We have institutions in place to pursue the sort of partnerships we need. The goal now is to develop the political consensus to support those institutions to make them more responsive to our needs and more effective in delivering on our expectations.
“In the coming months and years, all Nigerians, regardless of religion or creed, partisan affiliation or political history, tribe or ethnicity, will have to decide if we are willing to take the lessons of history and build for ourselves a nation capable of meeting our highest expectations.
“Citizens and leaders alike have to make hard choices about the kind of country we want to live in and leave for the next generation. Let this present crisis be for us a moment of discovery when with love and honesty, we inspire each other and our nation to greatness beyond the limits of what we have previously allowed ourselves to imagine.”