Nigeria too old to disintegrate –Jonathan
President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday said despite the various challenges currently facing Nigeria, it was too old to disintegrate.
Having been together for about 100 years since the amalgamation of the North and South protectorates in 1914, the president said it was too late for any region in the country to ask for a “divorce.”
Jonathan spoke during the Armed Forces Remembrance Day inter-denominational service at the National Ecumenical Centre, Abuja.
He said, “In 2014, we are going to celebrate our centenary; our 100 years of existence.
“You cannot stay in a marriage for 100 years and say that is the time you will divorce. If there are issues that we have been managing, we will continue to manage them. We will not talk about separation.
“I always say that all nations of the world have their own history. Sometimes, people question the unity of this country, especially when you talk about the amalgamation of the South and North in 1914.
“If you look at the history of very big countries, some have very ugly past. It is for us who are alive today to reshape our future. We should begin to talk about those things that will bring unity and development.”
The President also warned leaders at all levels to desist from divisive tendencies, saying the country would overcome some of its challenges if the citizens loved one another and live in peace.
He said, “ If our leaders at all levels, whether political leaders, community or religious leaders, talk more about those things that divide us instead of those things that bring us together, then we will be encouraging younger ones who know little or nothing about the history of this country to do things differently.
“So, the best gift we can give to the armed forces and sister organisations, is for us in our daily utterances and activities to emphasise the need for us to live in peace, love ourselves and unite.
“Some people talk about disintegration of Nigeria. Even at political level, some people take it as a weapon of self-seeking when they want to discuss politics.
“My conviction and I believe that of everybody here is that Nigeria will continue to remain a united nation.
“Nigeria will not disintegrate. Anybody who is doing any research on sociology, psychology or political science can do his work, but Nigeria will remain one.”
Jonathan, who spoke also on the country’s greatness, attributed it to its size and diversity.
He said, “I always say that they say Nigeria is big, it is not because of the oil. There are smaller countries that produce more oil than us. What is the quantity of oil that we produce after all?
“Yes, we do produce but our oil per unit person is insignificant. But we are appreciated and we are still reckoned with in spite of our challenges because of our size and diversity both of the human beings and the environment.
“But when we work together, we will take this country to where we want to go. Where our children, our grandchildren and children yet unborn will be happy.”
On the security challenges, the President noted that security agents were doing well.
Jonathan said, “We sleep because our security agents have to stay awake. In some cases where things happen, people blame them. But for those of us who get daily reports about the security challenge we have, we know that these men and women have been doing very well.”