Anyaoku makes case for national conference
On January 27, 2012 · In News

BY TONY EDIKE
ENUGU—FORMER Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, yesterday made a strong case for  urgent convocation of a Sovereign National Conference to discuss Nigeria‘s issues, even as he highlighted benefits of a united Nigeria.

Anyaoku spoke as chairman at the 41st convocation lecture of the University of Nigeria delivered by former President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.

He spoke against the backdrop of bombings in major cities of Northern Nigeria by Boko Haram and what he described as the “growing fissiparous tendencies” in the country.

Anyaoku said: “We must never forget the advantages offered by the demography of Nigeria. There are advantages for development of the self and actualisation of the collective.”

He warned about the seriousness of current developments, especially continuing threat to the security of the citizenry and integrity of the state.”

These developments, Anyaoku stressed, have brought “added urgency to the need for a national conference of the representatives of the people of Nigeria to discuss the root challenges to the cohesion and unity of Nigeria.

Chief Anyaoku also urged leaders in the Northern part of the country “to recognise the agony and anger of relatives of victims of the bombings” by Boko Haram in all parts of the country.

He recommended that leaders of Northern Nigeria should convene a meeting with the Federal Government to address the challenge posed by Boko Haram to the security and well-being of Nigeria.

The diplomat also had words of consolation for Chief Olusegun Obasanjo who he disclosed as his friend and in-law.

According to him, the controversies around the two-time President of Nigeria are not unusual.

“It is a common phenomenon all over the world that national leaders become subject of controversy in their nations in the first 10 years after leaving office. Chief Obasanjo fits the pattern.”

In the case of Obasanjo, however, Anyaoku submitted that in time to come, dispassionate chroniclers of the history of Nigeria would “judge as truly outstanding the contributions of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo to our  still faltering steps towards building the Nigeria of our dreams.”

Anayaoku was paying his second visit to the University of Nigeria in three months. He said he was enamoured of the institution because “this university believes so much in original research in areas that aid our national development.’

The 41st convocation of the University of Nigeria holds on Friday, January 27 and Saturday, January 28 at the Margaret Ekpo Convocation Arena in Nsukka.

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