Prof. Tajudeen Akanji, Director, Institute for Peace and Strategic Studies, University of Ibadan, has urged Nigerians to strive to promote common national identity rather than ethnic cleavages.
Akanji stated this on Friday while delivering a lecture, entitled: “Peace and Conflict Resolution in an Ethnic- Religious Diverse Society” at the Institute of Peace and Strategic Studies, University of Ibadan.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the lecture was held to mark the send-off and retirement of Mrs. Dolapo Dosunmu, the immediate past Director of National Orientation Agency (NOA) in Oyo State.
According to Akanji, it is important to develop a common sense of national identity instead of ethnic ties in order to prevent conflicts and address the common security challenges confronting the country.
Although the don noted that insecurity had existed in virtually all multi-ethnic societies, he, however, said that the ability of such societies to develop structures for effectively handling it was crucial to their survival.
Such structure, he said, had been able to integrate people in a way that they had a common focus.
While stressing the need for every Nigerian to ensure the survival of the country, Akanji said that this must be uppermost in the minds of everyone rather than ethnic affiliations.
“The nation’s structures have so much separated us as to see that we are different from one other despite the coexistence of people of different ethnic groups for ages.
“As long the notion of ‘I am different from you’ continues to be in our minds, we will be in the struggle for so long,” he warned.
The don expressed the regret that appointments into public offices were now being viewed by the masses from the perspective of ethnic affiliations instead of qualifications and experience.
He, however, suggested a three-pronged solution to the issues, which he termed: ‘People, Policy and Enforcement of the existing laws’.
Akanji maintained that security should be the concern of all Nigerians rather than being left alone for security agencies, stressing that the kind of security the society would have would be determined by the contributions of all and sundry to it.
Insisting that security operatives were not magicians, he said that they needed intelligence to be able to perform, saying that this had to come from people.
“Nigerians must take the bull by the horns, as they also need to protect themselves, in conjunction with security agencies,” he said.
Akanji also urged policy formulators to do the needful by evolving more effective policies in tackling the country’s security challenges.
He called for synergy among the security agencies in the country in order to ensure effective service delivery.
The don said that the conventional security organizations also needed to cooperate with the local ones to be able to achieve the desired security result.
NAN reports that other personalities, who spoke at the occasion, described Dosunmu as an embodiment of excellence.
According to the new NOA director in the state, Mr Moshood Olaleye, his predecessor is a good manager of men, having brought a lot of positive changes to the agency.
In her remarks, the retired NOA director expressed gratitude to the management of the agency and everyone who graced the occasion.
She urged members of staff of the agency to continue building on the legacy she left behind.
NAN reports that representatives of the 2 Div., Nigerian Army, Ibadan, the police, NSCDC, Immigration and FRSC were among the dignitaries who attended the ceremony. (NAN)