Mr. Ribadu addressed student leaders at the Ahmadu Bello University.
A former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Nuhu Ribadu, has condemned the rising trend of sectional sentiments among politicians, calling it a ploy to further exclude the larger populace by widening imaginary socio-religious differences among the people.
Mr. Ribadu, who was the presidential candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, in the 2011 election stated this on Saturday at a public lecture organised by the Students Representative Council of Ahmadu Bello University, ABU Zaria.
Mr.Ribadu lampooned what he called extremist politicians who, like religious extremists, “spread hate message to serve their selfish interests”.
The anti-corruption crusader also advocated for disregard of institutions or individuals who preach against unity of Nigeria arguing that “unless we put our patriotism away from greed and any undemocratic advocacy, our collective struggle to install a popular government will remain a mission impossible.”
He lamented that “our democracy has become modelled into an avenue where sentiments are highlighted by pro-exclusion politicians to corner the votes of their kinsmen because they cannot do so on grounds of their individual reputation or records.
“This careless stratagem is a pathway to self-destruction begging for our collective, and very immediate, effort at snatching our future from the hands of those who ride on such ethnic, religious and regional sentiments towards self-enrichment,” he said.
Mr. Ribadu faulted claims that Nigeria is a contrived nation, adding that no nation is made up of the same people with uniform racial and linguistic identity. He therefore called on Nigerians to dismiss “ethnic irredentists” whose purpose is to divide the country along sectional lines in order to cover up their corrupt tendencies and incapacity.
“Our ability, in spite of the divides, to come to a consensus or sacrifice a cause or compromise a stance, is what makes us a nation. But we have chosen to play the politics of exclusion where the trust of the people is first for their kinsmen or religion before alignment with the nation.
“This dangerous departure from patriotism, which saw to rise in ethnic advocacy, nepotism, bigotry and militancy, has been used by enemies of change to subdue and destroy any quest for the Nigeria of our dreams—a Nigeria where we abandon our bloodline in our service to the nation,” he said.
While charging the youth to remain steadfast as leaders and participate actively in bringing about the needed change, Mr. Ribadu admonished them to make good use of the social media for political participation by translating their internet activism into actual real life participation.
“Change, in this era of internet evolution and revolution, is the maximisation of the privileges offered by the internet in which every man with a laptop or tablet or mobile phone has a valid voice that must be heard.
“The increase in internet access enhances the speed of dispersion of ideas. It happened in Tunisia. It happened in Egypt. It’s happening here. But, we must be devout apostles of change to realise our dream of Change,” he added.
The All Progressives Congress, APC chieftain warned the youth not to allow themselves to be used for “any campaign that attempts to colour the internal borders of our country. We are doomed as a nation the moment the youth get hoodwinked by the bickering of bitter politicians who ride to relevance on sentiments that only inspire distrust among citizens.
“My experience so far in politics has taught me that age does not guarantee maturity to responsibly play the role of a patriot in an atmosphere of tensed political antagonisms. Thankfully, this is the Age of the Internet; borderless interactions in and out of cyberspace have opened a new door of social and political influences for the youth and the oppressed.
“This age of information has revealed that no people can ever be entirely wrong at the same time; the evil among us are so because of certain disorders in their superficial orientations, education or even mental state. That Boko Haram insurgency was launched in the north does not incriminate the entire northerners or Muslims; neither is kidnapping and the previously ill-famed militancy in the South South translates to crimes of the entire people of Niger-Delta.
“Similarly, the recent massacre of our security officers by certain elements of the largely good-natured Eggon people of Nasarawa state must not be adopted in interpreting the ethnic identities of these people. There is no man on this earth who smiles at the injuries on his body. And these militants, kidnappers, extremists and other agents of exclusions among us are injuries on the collective body of the nation. These events only call out loudly for careful and people-centered leadership. This is our call, and we must be fair to our history,” he said.