By Adeyemi Adeleye
Prof. Adepoju Tejumaiye of the Department of Mass Communications, University of Lagos says there is huge strength in Nigeria being together as a country as against its dismemberment.
Tejumaiye made the assertion at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lagos State Council Public Lecture with the theme: “Nigeria and Nation Building: Overcoming The Challenges Of Security, Restructuring and Self Determination For Progressive Development”.
According to him, Nigeria does not need disintegration but devolution of powers to return the country to the pathway of growth and development.
“This country belongs to everyone of us. I am not someone that subscribes to the dismemberment of Nigeria. There is a big strength, huge strength in unity.
“Let us be together, we are going to achieve our goals but let there be sense of belonging for everybody.
“Population should not be used to shared the national revenues, let revenues be shared on equal percentages and we will see that things will change,” he said.
Tejumaiye, the Professor of Media Studies and Political Communications said that the present system was spoiling and breeding indolence because it didn’t allow people to use their initiatives.
“Every state in this country has resources, huge. There is no reason why Nigeria should be in debt, that is the truth. What can solve it is devolution of powers.
“Decentralisation is the best way to go. Anything outside that will make this country to remain as it is. There is an urgent need for the devolution of powers to the respective federating units.
“Decentralisation of everything-The Police, Tax System, Revenue System, etc need to be decentralised. If we can get that done, then Nigeria is going to change for better,” he said.
Tejumaiye said that the system in operation before the first coup in Nigeria, where different parts of the country were developing at their pace, was the best.
He said that the country needed to go back into that system because it would solve most of the problems confronting the nation.
“Every state in this country has resources, we should not deceive ourselves, it is just that we have been enslaved by the ruling class and they have enslaved us for their own selfish interest.
“There is need for serious rethinking and this is in our hands. This is the time to get things right,” he said.
Earlier, Mr Adeleye Ajayi, the Chairman, NUJ, Lagos State Council said that Nigeria had raised the stakes especially in tackling the incidents of economic-induced kidnappings and other crimes.
According to Ajayi, security remains a major challenge in Nigeria but unlike what obtained in the pre-independence period, security problems escalated partly due to the diverse nature of the country.
“The trends leading to this situation are reversible, if seriously proactive and sustained measures could be adopted by the government.
“The implication of this is that policy makers have the duty to arrest this drift through social justice and development,” he said.
The NUJ boss said that if Nigeria was to develop, there must be leaders who were broadminded enough to campaign for justice, equity and fairness beyond narrow group interests.
“Therefore, a major challenge of nation building in Nigeria revolves around how to produce truly national leaders.
“The main question is how can we manage our diversity and build confidence of citizens across every part of the country to have a sense of national belonging,” Ajayi said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the lecture was delivered by Mr Segun Adeniyi, Chairman, Editorial Board, This Day Newspapers, and the occasion was chaired by Prof. Ralph Akinfeleye.
The panel of discussants include Prof. Adepoju Tejumaiye, Head of Department, Mass Communications, University of Lagos and Dr Jide Johnson of the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ).
The press week, which started on Media with a news conference to unfold lined up activities, witnessed novelty matches on Tuesday while Thursday is slated for Chapels’ Rendezvous.
A Jumaat Service at Lagos State Secretariat Mosque and a Gala /Award Night, at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja are slated to hold on Friday.
The council would pay a visit to the Little Saints Orphanage, Abule Egba and Regina Mundi Old Peoples’ Home, Mushin, on Saturday while a Thanksgiving Service at the Chapel of Christ The Light, Alausa, Ikeja is billed for Sunday.