In order to create a country free of racial prejudice, former president Goodluck Jonathan has urged Nigerians to study Rwanda.
Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu celebrated his 80th birthday on Saturday, and Jonathan gave the keynote address at the event in Owerri, Imo State. In his speech, Jonathan urged Nigerians to learn from the Rwandan people in overcoming their country’s difficulties.
According to the former president, Nigerians had engaged in ethnic politics at the expense of their country’s unity.
He urged Nigerians to use the general elections in 2023 to make things right. Jonathan praised the Igbo for their enormous contribution to Nigeria’s growth.
He said, “As a nation, we have challenges, but we should not be slaves to our challenges. Let us get over the obstacles and move forward.
“We have to adapt. We must not conform to perceived aberrant behaviour considered to be politically correct.
“Let us look at the case of Rwanda after the genocide, they reconfigured their nation. In today’s Rwanda, the tribe is no longer an issue. They all see themselves as one people.
“The incoming Nigerian leaders must take deliberate steps to whittle down the ethnic cleavages pulling us apart and pulling the nation backwards.
“So, my appeal to all Nigerians is to de-emphasise our differences and focus on the issues that bind us.
“Luckily, we are in an election cycle, so my challenge to the youth is to take charge of their future; by electing those who believe in our unity and will promote peace and progress, not those who will erect ethnic walls and religious barriers among our people.
“We have over-ethnicized our politics to the detriment of our country and collective growth. We need to stop this.
“Collectively, if we work together and accommodate our differences, we can build a nation where everybody will have a sense of belonging, and everyone’s rights will be guaranteed.
“That is the way we must go; a Nigeria where equality and justice reign.
“Let me conclude that I am happy our father, Chief Iwuanyanwu, has added a decade to the biblical three scores and ten; I wish him more years of celebrations in good health and prosperity.”