Ibukun Awosika, Chairman Board of Directors of First Bank, says the ongoing conversation around the dissolution of Nigeria is not an option because the country “is many decades too late to disintegrate”.
The business woman, motivational speaker and author made her position known on Thursday in Kaduna at a Town Hall Meeting on National Security.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the town hall meeting, with the theme: “Setting Benchmarks for Enhanced Security and National Unity in Nigeria,” was organised by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.
The event was attended by Governor Nasir el’Rufai of Kaduna State and his Deputy, Dr. Hadiza Balarabe, while the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, led six other ministers to the meeting.
Awosika, who was one of the discussants at the event, said the forefathers, who fought for the independence of Nigeria, did not come from the same tribe, rather from diverse background.
The discussant, who joined the town hall meeting virtually, said Nigeria was not the only country made up of combination of many tribes, ethnic groups, culture and tradition.
She said: “One of the blessings is that the combination that created Nigeria presented us the opportunity in terms of talents, diversity, natural and human resources that were brought to the table.
“When you look at what Nigeria state represents in terms of the size of market and population, the country is richly blessed.”
Awosika said every Nigerian desired to be able “to live in peace, want food on their table while every father and mother want to provide for their household.
“Everyone want to be able to meet their obligation, educate their children and have opportunity for health facility when they need it and have a peaceful coexistence with their people.”
She recalled her youthful age as a young Nigerian raised in a Muslim home with huge Islamic heritage, but later converted to Christianity,
She said as a Christian, many of her family members, friends, business associates are Muslims and they live in peace and harmony.
Awosika blamed political leaders for not doing enough and for playing politics with the issue of disintegration.
She noted that in creating division for political power, if the politicians succeeded in destroying the country, there would be nothing left to govern,
She said: “I challenge the political class to review the approach of gaining power to understand that we cannot attain leadership at all cost.”
Awosika concurred with Prof. Jubrin Ibrahim, the lead presenter at the event, that farmers-herdsmen clashes was being largely fuelled by economic activities engendered by space.
She, therefore, suggested that the private sector should be encouraged to actively engaged in livestock and meat production business.
In encouraging this, she said the government should remove all of the barriers that had resulted from the traditional limitation of the sector.
She said: “We must address some structural systemic situation in terms of engagements that will allow private sector involved in that space and introduce modern ways of approach.
“Government has no business in setting up cattle ranches but it can create an inspired atmosphere that will encourage independent private sector to participate in the space to be sustainable.”
Awosika also underscored the need to invest in education to grow democracy as well as the need for Nigerians to challenge the political class and make them accountable.
Other discussants at the event were Prof. Saka Nuru, Prof. Kokunre Eghafona and Prof. Chudi Uwazuruike, who also joined the meeting virtually.