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Nigeria needs bridge-builders to unite the nation – Okowa
Governor of Delta and Vice-Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Sen. (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa says Nigeria needs men and women of goodwill who will see the various parts of the country as one in order to unite the nation.
He said that the nation was in dire need of leaders who would see the strength in the nation’s diversity rather than using it to divide the country.
Okowa made the call on Monday when he received on courtesy visit, the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, and His Majesty, Dr. Benjamin Ikenchukwu, Keagborekuzi I, the Dein of Agbor Kingdom at Government House, Asaba.
He said the visit of the Kano monarch to Delta was the kind of relationship that would help unite and bring peace to the nation and called on Nigerians to see themselves as brothers irrespective of the diversity.
“I welcome you on behalf of the government and people of Delta State and I want to thank God that you truly found time to visit us.
“We are truly very excited that you found time to be in Delta to pay a condolence visit to our brother, Prince Nduka Obaigbena and also visit the Olu of Warri on his first coronation anniversary.
“This is actually the kind of relationship we look forward to in our nation, Nigeria. A relationship that builds bridges across this nation and makes us realise that we are one people in this nation.
“We are very thankful for this visit because there is a need to build this bond of unity in this nation and we must truly thank you for the roles you have played in our nation Nigeria because, I know that you are a very very influential royal father in this nation,” he said.
He called for the harnessing of the experience and wisdom of traditional rulers in the country by creating statutory roles for them in view of their contributions to the growth and development of society.
“I am one of those who believe that our royal fathers need to be assigned even greater roles in the governance of this nation because they have a very important role to play in terms of keeping our people closely knit together.
“And if we are to find solutions to the challenges we have at the moment, we definitely need to have a working pact with royal fathers in this nation because, beyond being the custodians of traditions of our people, God has placed it on them to be able to pull the people together.
“So, working closely with our royal fathers will definitely help us in solving the problems of insecurity that we are faced with in our nation today.
“We look forward to a Nigeria in which we continue to see our nation as ours. Unfortunately, there are many voices that tend to divide us and we hope that in the next few years, we are able to change this narrative,” the governor added.
Okowa said he believed in the unity of the nation, saying “Nigeria is stronger together and I do believe that when we learn to love ourselves and work together in the best interest of each and everyone of us, then it would be better for us.
“When we begin to realise this, l am sure that we will build a much better country. It is our hope that our royal fathers will take up the challenge to begin to build the voices of hope.
“Because it is not good when the voices of anger tend to dominate the nation. There are many challenges right now but those of us in government cannot solve these problems alone.
“So, it is our hope that we work together with our royal fathers to provide the solutions to these problems. I believe that these problems can be addressed. It may take time but Nigerians must all agree that we must collectively work together.
“As we look forward to that, we believe that collective governance and the need to devolve power to the sub-national government like the state and also find prominent roles for the traditional institutions to play in the course of governance, proper management of resources; would all help to rebuild the cracks we have in Nigeria today.”
The Delta Governor further expressed concern over the continued ASUU strike saying that it portends grave danger for the educational development of the country.
“We are now beginning to hear that JAMB and the Universities are likely to face issues because of the over six months ASUU strike. If it extends into the seventh month, the implication is that those that would ordinarily have been admitted, would not find space in the Universities because the old students need to move up for the new ones to come in.
“So, this could be a major problem for the universities. However, in the state, we have four Universities now and they are all fully in session.
“We need to give priority to education, which will help to develop the minds of our people and when that is done, it becomes easier for them to have a clear understanding of what they have to do for a greater future,” he stated.
Earlier, the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, said his visit to the state was to cement the age-long relationship between Kano and Delta State.
“It is a pleasure for me to be in Delta. This is a special visit and we pray God will continue to guide and bless you as Governor and Vice-Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“This visit is to develop the special relationship that exists between Kano and Delta States. Be rest assured of our support and prayers of success in your political career.
“Let us believe in ourselves and be honest with each other and if we take that into consideration, we all know that the differences between us are less than what we share together.
“The talks of disunity in our nation today is something we can sit down and talk about because we have done it before and we succeeded.
“As a traditional institution, we believe that the government cannot be blamed for everything because everyone has a role to play and I believe that with the right leadership, things will get better,” the Emir of Kano said.
On 2023 campaigns, the monarch urged politicians to encourage their followers to be of good behaviour while urging the people to go for what is good in the interest of the nation.