Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd), yesterday raised the alarm that considering the challenges of insecurity, all is not well with the country.
This is coming as President Goodluck Jonathan cautioned politicians in the country to focus more on developing the country saying democracy is not by quarrelling like Motor Park touts.
Both leaders spoke at the official presentation of the Kukah Centre, yesterday in Abuja.
According to the former Head of State, who was chairman of the occasion, all is not well with Nigeria and it should not be taken for granted. He stressed that Boko Haram and their sponsors were waging war against the people and the unity of the nation for which many fought so hard and died for, adding that there was no alternative but for the people to urgently join hands to rid the nation of the menace.
He however gave the hope that despite the nation’s troubles, the country continues to march on.
According to him, “we have come a long way from pre-colonial to colonial state, to post –colonial to independence and from a civil war to military coups and to democracy. We have made our mistakes, but we have also never wavered in our struggle to build a strong and united nation.
“All has not been well and is still not well. Therefore, we cannot take this for granted. Boko Haram and those who sponsor it are waging war against the rest of us, and against the unity for which so many have fought so hard and so long and died for. We have no alternative but to urgently join hands to rid our nation of this menace.
“It is against this background that I wish to renew my appeal to Nigerians to remain vigilant and be their neighbours’ keepers. We must never allow our rank or our collective resolve to be defeated. This is why I want to charge all members of the political class to renew their commitment to democracy as the bedrock for building a united country,” Gowon said.
The founder of the centre, Bishop Matthew Kukah of the Sokoto Catholic Diocese, said his experience with life gave him the courage to establish the place.
According to him, his experience at Oputa Panel helped sharpen his ideas and opened his eyes to the fact that some parts of the country felt marginalized whether as minority, religious or ethnicity, adding that what he took away from the panel was that every Nigerian was accusing one another of being behind their woes except themselves.
He said the Centre is a platform which will enable ideas to lead ethnic and religious sentiments adding that Nigerians have shown commitment to the democratic process, a source of encouragement that will help them to recover their memories.
Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan, in his speech, said, “I think we are over-defining our democracy today by quarrelling as if democracy is about competitors quarrelling just like motor park workers.
“I believe that our democracy should be strengthened by robust debates, generation of innovative ideas and development, patriotism and progress in our country. I therefore call on everyone, the political class, our ordinary citizens but even more importantly, the academic community, to rise up to these challenges posed by this initiative.
The President urged politicians in particular to see the 2015 elections as another opportunity for them to renew their commitments to deepening the nation’s democracy and strengthening its bond of unity.