Former Head of the Interim National Government (ING), Chief Ernest Shonekan, Tuesday lamented the growing cases of insecurity currently prevalent in different parts of Nigeria, noting that the country “is actually in crisis.
” But he expressed optimism that the country would survive the myriad of socio-economic and political challenges undermining her growth if her human and natural resources could be vibrantly harnessed and developed.
The former head of state expressed the standpoints at the 2013 annual lecture of the Lagos State University Alumni Association held at the institution’s new auditorium and delivered by the state Governor, Babatunde Fashola (SAN). Shonekan, who was the chairman, of the lecture titled: ‘Good Governance: A Tool for Revitalisation of the Socio-Cultural, Values for Social Development’, acknowledged the diverse crises currently undermining Nigeria’s peace and stability daily.
He said Nigeria would have ordinarily been an interesting place “to live, there is no arguing that today the country is actually in crisis. The state of insecurity masterminded by the Boko Haram sect is disturbing and regrettable.” Shonekan also cited the worrisome case of abduction and kidnapping for ransom, which according to him, has become prevalent in some parts of the country and appears “to be spreading. Such people in our midst must be got rid of at all cost.
It is also disturbing that we are a group of people who have no regard for the sanctity of human lives.” But the former head of state said irrespective of what may be confronting Nigeria under the present political dispensation, “there is still hope if the country can harness and develop her human natural resources meaningfully. “We have enormous human and natural resources, which we need to develop. If we look at the whole West Africa, Nigeria has the largest share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Nigeria has the largest population,” he said. He added that God “has put us in a very strategic position. So, we must utilise our human and natural resources very well.
If we fail to do so, God can have a rethink or change His mind about our beloved country.’ Nigeria had the history of pulling back from the brink, especially when the situation was getting worse.” Despite the imperfection of the present democratic governance, the former leader suggested that it “has endured and still remains the best system of government. But we need to upgrade it so that we can reap the dividend of democracy. “We have come to embrace reforms that we need to facilitate rapid growth and national development of our economy.
We can still see rays of hope around us. Fashola is an example of such. Lagos is the most sophisticated state in the country with a lot of challenges and opportunities; yet he has excelled,” he said. In his lecture, Fashola called for the need to revisit family values, which he said, had degenerated and its consequences were responsible for the manifestations of anomalies in the public life as witnessed today. For the country to be efficiently and effectively governed, the governor explained that the place “to start is family.
If we succeed in our families, we will also succeed in our states and by extension, in our country.” On this ground, Fashola argued that it “is the family values that will ensure, and not the government programmes, that our children are properly raised; elderly ones well catered for and cultural heritage revamped.”