General Yakubu Gowon, Nigeria’s former military Head of State at the weekend, said that Nigerians should not expect a perfect country without problems.
The former head of state made assertion while delivering a speech at the 17th Wole Soyinka Annual Lecture held at the June 12 Cultural Centre in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
General Yakubu Gowon
Speaking at the lecture titled: “This house must not fall; Renegotiating Nigeria’s social contract after 100 years of nationhood”, which was organized by the National Association of Seadogs (Pirates Confraternity) as part of events marking the Nobel Laureate’s 80th birthday, Gowon expressed the believe that despite the countries numerous challenges, it would not collapse.
“Every nation has a problem, even the advanced countries. I am optimistic that thing will take shape in this country,” he said. “The major problem that we have today is that people want a perfect Nigeria of their own making. But we need to understand, learn and respect each other’s’ point of view. No matter what happens, I am confident that this nation will not fall. I have a great belief and faith that the younger ones will do it better”.
The retired general, however, urged the federal government to stop looking for external solution to local problems, and advised politicians against the habit of discontinuing projects started by their predecessors, pointing out that such development could pull the nation down.
Speaking also at the lecture, Oby Ezekwesili, the former Vice-President of the World Bank, stressed the need for Nigerians to renegotiate a new social contract by demanding for good governance and rule of law.
The #BringBackOurGirls campaign coordinator urged Nigerians to be more conscious and proactive in the democratic structure, and that citizens should be prepared to pay any sacrifice to achieve it.
“The willingness to come to the table and negotiate the social contract is depended on the fact that even the rich cannot sleep because they know that the poor are awake,” Ezekwesili said. “Unfortunately, we don’t have sufficient time to demand for a renegotiation of the social structure.”
Mathew Kukah, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese who described the Noble Laureate as a genius added that, Soyinka could be described as a ‘secular prophet’, who remained one of the greatest human beings from Africa.
The Bishop tasked the Association of Nigerian Authors to publish works of great literary icons like Soyinka into various languages in order for everyone to have a glimpse of his message.