Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has expressed “deep worries over the widening of the nation’s fault lines.”
Ekweremadu attributed the situation to “the lack of clear and deliberate steps to soothe frayed nerves and wield the country together” one year after the fractious 2015 general election which brought President Muhammadu Buhari to power.
In a statement issued by his spokesman, Uche Anichukwu, to mark this year’s Democracy Day, Ekweremadu said whereas ethnicity and other diversities within Nigeria were healthy realities that should actually make the nation thick, the poor management of such diversities and their exploitation for political and other selfish advantages had continued to polarize the nation, thereby constituting a major stumbling block to her progress.
He called on those in authority to see the entire country as their constituency and ensure fairness, equity in the distribution of projects and opportunities to give every constituent part a sense of belonging irrespective of their political choices.
According to him, this was in line with the Oath of Allegiance and Oath of Office, which every political leader swore to on assumption of office.
“Global experiences have shown that people who feel unfairly treated or embittered will never be interested in peace or in wholeheartedly contributing their quota to national development; it is certainly not what we want for our nation”, he noted.
He said further: “I congratulate fellow Nigerians who have made sacrifices to enthrone and also sustain the current democratic dispensation. Indeed, 17 years of uninterrupted democracy is a great achievement for a country that had never experienced anything close to it.
“2015 was particularly defining moment for us as a nation. Left for the prophets of doom, the world would probably have been doing a one-year postmortem on Nigeria, but God pulled us from the brinks. We must, therefore, take clear and deliberate steps to weld the country together.
“It is good to talk about the infrastructure or other achievements we have recorded in the last one year, if any, but it needs to be emphasised that more than anything else, we need to reinforce peace, unity, and patriotism. With these, we can take Nigeria to unimaginable heights”.
Senator Ekweremadu also tasked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the conduct of the remaining rerun elections in Imo North and Kogi East Senatorial Districts, among others.
Describing the affected areas as Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) strongholds, Ekweremadu noted that the continued vacancy of the seats was, therefore, a huge subtraction not only for the affected constituencies, but also for the PDP.
Ekweremadu wished Nigerians a happy Democracy Day anniversary.