Our current efforts at nation building and the modest achievements we have made as a nation over the years are the positive outcomes of the time and energy our forebears invested in national dialogues. We must, therefore, continue to embrace the culture of dialogue as a civilised way to settle our differences in Nigeria.
For us a people to make the desired progress, we need to constantly reflect on our journey so far as a nation. We need to understand our history, so as to appreciate the sacrifices our forefathers made to get us to where we are today. Such knowledge will equip us to face and overcome our present and future challenges as a country.
Dialogue is easily the most effective way to build consensus and resolve conflicts in any society. In Nigeria today, where we are faced with many challenges, the need to engage one another in purposeful dialogue has become more urgent. The foundation of our country was laid on dialogue. Our forefathers constantly engaged one another in national conversations and dialogue at every stage of our political development, from the colonial period to independence. The many constitutional conferences in Nigeria and in London provided opportunities for thorough discussions, leading to consensus and agreements on the issues, concerns and fears of the different nationalities that make up Nigeria.
Our current efforts at nation building and the modest achievements we have made as a nation over the years are the positive outcomes of the time and energy our forebears invested in national dialogues. We must, therefore, continue to embrace the culture of dialogue as a civilised way to settle our differences in Nigeria. This programme today has come at a good time to help remind us of the need for dialogue in our interactions at every level of the society, especially as the next election cycle is approaching.
Democracy thrives on dialogue and it functions to build consensus, create understanding and enhance national cohesion, even as amendments are made in the constitution and laws of the nation to reflect current realities and create new nerve links to peace and progress.
I am, therefore, very pleased to be part of this national dialogue and public presentation of the book, Remaking Nigeria: Sixty Years, Sixty Voices. Let me use this opportunity to congratulate Mr Chido Onumah and all the contributors to this book for the wonderful work they have done. I have no doubt that the decision to go into this work was driven by share patriotism. I urge you not to relent in making your contributions to the development, peace and progress of our dear country.
Anyim Pius Anyim is a former President of the Nigerian Senate and Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
This is excerpted from the text of remarks delivered on the occasion of the National Dialogue and Public Presentation of the book “Remaking Nigeria: Sixty Years, Sixty Voices” at the Yar Adua Centre, FCT Abuja, on August 19.
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