Speakers at the second Never Again Conference (NAC), which was held virtually yesterday, have declared that only a new constitution, justice, equity and obedience to the rule of law could guarantee Nigeria’s unity and stability.
The speakers were: Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah; Ayo Adebanjo; Mbazulike Amaechi; Peter Obi;Tanko Yakassai; Pat Utomi; Hakeem Baba Ahmed; Shehu Sani; Onyeka Onwenu; Godknows Igali; Ahmed Joda; Prof. Ladi Hamalai, Charity Shekari and Ankkio Briggs.
Kukah, who delivered the keynote speech, noted that before Nigerians could sincerely proclaim ‘Never Again’ to a repeat of issues that caused the Nigeria-Biafra civil war 51 years ago, there must be agreement on what the issues are.
The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese said as it obtained in his religion, whoever came for confession must begin by acknowledging that he was sorry for having offended God and profess never to offend his maker again.
“What do we remember of Nigeria, what do we remember about the civil war? The way soldiers remember the war cannot be the way victims would remember it. We must understand what we remember. We must acknowledge and understand the consequences and grievousness of our sins. We might say never again, only to fall into similar situation again,” he stated.
Amaechi and Adebanjo lamented that the country’s constitution had not represented the wishes of the Nigerian people, insisting that the constitution was the basis for the chaos in the country.
While Amaechi recalled that virtually all constitutions after independence were products of military dictatorships, he stressed that none of the constitutions was affirmed through plebiscite.
Also speaking, Adebanjo said the situation in the country necessitated restructuring and that without a new constitution, it would be impossible to conduct the 2023 general elections.
On their part, Onwenu, Hamalai, Shekari and Briggs, noted that the Nigerian women have been deprived and marginalised in the scheme of things.
They canvassed a new thinking that placed emphasis on markets as basis of nation building and not just for economic development, adding that agitations and threats of secession do not guarantee peace and stability of new nations outside Nigeria.
In his contribution, Utomi said the virtual conference, which was organised by Nzuko Umunna, Ovation International and Njeje Media, was aimed at underscoring the lessons of the civil war and promote nation building, forgiveness, healing, reintegration, stability and national cohesion.