Some eminent Nigerian leaders from across the nation on Friday held a closed-door meeting in Lagos on the need to preserve continued unity and peaceful coexistence of the country.
The meeting, chaired by a former Presidential Adviser and founding member of Northern Elders Forum, Tanko Yakassai, was convened by Nigerian National Summit Group (NNSG) in collaboration with Osigwe Anyiam- Osigwe Foundation and We Care Foundation.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that those in attendance included leaders of thought from various ethnic nationalities across the country and representatives of some civil society and socio-cultural organisations.
In attendance were Prof. Pat. Utomi, a former Speaker of House Representatives, Alhaji Ghali Na’abba, Dr Ferdinand Ikwang, Mr Tony Uranta, Femi Ayo-Adebanjo, Rasaq Oladosu, Charles Anyiam-Osigwe and Mr Paul Toun.
Others were a former Commissioner for Information in Ogun State, Mr Kayode Samuel; Sen. Ewa Henshaw, Dr. Umar Ardo and Akogun Kola Onadipe.
Also at the meeting were Mrs Nkoyo Toyo, Habiba Abiola, Abdul Bako, Mrs Barong Tony-Uranta, Ahmed Tijani, Shex Ladipo and Abdul Bako, Wale Ajayi, among others.
In his remark, Yakasai appealed to government to pay greater attention to the progressive views of Nigerians who showed genuine commitment to preserving the unity of the country.
“At this trying moment in the life of our country, every facet of opinion is relevant and important to assist calm the turbulent waves of our existence.
“As one of the founding fathers who actively partook in the political processes leading to the attainment of independence, our vision was to build a united and egalitarian Nigerian nation where, irrespective of tribe and creed, you can find home wherever you find comfort to live in the country.
“Our forbears lived together peacefully and undertook social-economic activities unperturbed in search of livelihood at anywhere in the country,” he said.
Yakasai noted that given the security challenges the country was facing, particularly the persistent threats from Boko Haram and “the defiance with which those in authority interrogated and selectively applied the rule of law, the sense of communal security and unity had waned”.
Uranta said the conveners of the meeting decided to initiate the discourse for selected distinguished Nigerians to fashion out a plausible strategy that could arrest the current slide in Nigeria.
“We are determined to, with your creative inputs and support, further this initiative to galvanise all centrifugal forces to not only pull our country together but cement the pillars of unity founded on core democratic values, equity, fairness and justice,” he said .
Anyiam-Osigwe said that as Nigeria approached her 60 years as a nation and with discordant voices nationwide, the Foundation thought it urgent to initiate a dialogue to confront and proffer workable solutions to douse the palpable tension and forge a peaceful and prosperous country.