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Nigeria at war with itself- Ex-CJN


A former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Dahiru Musdapher, yesterday, described Nigeria as a nation at war with itself, warning that Nigerians are treading a path that threatens the continued peace and unity of their country. Musdapher said the 2015 presidential election has also worsened the unity of the country, claiming that the election was marked by division along ethnic, regional, partisan and religious lines. The former justice spoke as guest speaker at a public lecture to mark the 75th birthday of the father of a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chief Suarau Alani Bankole, held in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital. The public lecture, which attracted prominent personalities from across the country, was entitled, ‘The question of Nigerian unity’. The dignitaries include the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; his deputy, Hon. Yusuf Lasun; the Minority Leader, Hon Oyenma Chuchu; Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun; and a former governor of the state, Chief Olusegun Osoba. Others include a former judge of the World Court, Prince Bola Ajibola”, a former governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido; a former Minister of Sports, Mr Taoheed Adedoja; and Oba of Lagos, Rildwanu Akiolu. Musdapher described the celebrant as a detribalised politician who worked for the unity of the country. According to the former CJN, favouritism, nepotism and tribal sentiments have made it impossible to run a merit-driven-system in the country. “Hard work, brilliance, honesty and integrity in our dealings are no longer rewarded. Rather, we celebrate mediocrity soaked in the corruption we claim is our Common enemy”, he said. “I am scared and deeply worried. The situation is grave and the media, the 4th estate of the realm, has a big  role to play in this crusade”. While condemning the role the media played in the challenges facing the country, Musdapher said: “I am  also aware today the most media houses have editorial policy and clear leaning towards sectional and myopic perspectives. Tribal and nepotic leanings are present in most issues debated or reported in our media”. He, however, urged government to develop a tradition of continuity and positive transition from one administration to the next. While lamenting the challenges facing Nigerian unity, Musdapher said: “ It is rather worrisome that after over 100 years since the amalgamation of the northern and the southern protectorates in 1914 ,we seem as divided as ever. “These realities force us to question if indeed Nigerian today was the amalgamation of separate regions in an arranged marriage that some argue only lasted while the matchmakers,  colonial  Britain was still around and in control,”the former CJN said. “The union remains as un-negotiated union in the minds of many Nigerians. Hence,  I am of the view that,  without the clear undemanding of the root causes or our seemingly confused social system, we  cannot even begin to make up with the strategies and solution that are capable of dousing the negative effects of disunity and firmly bringing our nation within respectable or acceptable level of social decency”.In his keynote address at the occasion, Osoba concurred with the submissions by the CJN, pledging to deliver Musdapher’s message to the managers of the media. “My Lord has delivered the judgement and I will deliver your message to the media”, the former governor said. While recasting the relationship with Chief Bankole, Osoba said though, he was two years older than him and did not have many things in common, they relate well.Dogara, in his goodwill message, said the submissions by the former CJN had challenged him in building a nation on justice, unity and equity. He further said the challenges facing the country were as a result of  lack of leadership,  saying with right leadership, the country would bounce back. In his remarks, the celebrant, lamented that he would have celebrated his 70th birthday five years ago, but was stopped following the prosecution of his son, the former Speaker. He urged young politicians to practise developmental politics, saying politics should not lead to hatred.
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