Former governor of Imo State and Senator representing Imo West Senatorial district, Rochas Anayo Okorocha has lamented that lack of unity among citizens was contributory to sustained grip of Boko Haram on the country for years.
Speaking with journalists in Abuja, Okorocha said the insurgents were less than 10,000 but are emboldened to confront over 200 million Nigerians because of disunity and the lack of belief in the Nigeria project by some leaders.
He lampooned some political leaders for being hypocritical about unity, which he said was on their lips, but hasn’t translated into unity that would have progressed the nation.
The lawmaker who sponsored “National Unity Bill”, noted that he observed a widening division among Nigerians, the reason he said, would be cured by the bill which has passed second reading already.
“The national unity Bill which I have proposed and even passed through first reading is to address the unity of this country. We all claim that Nigeria is passing a critical time and the point there is that ethnicity, religion, and political inclination is dividing this country beyond recognition and that is why we cannot work as a team.
“That is why we found it difficult to deal with issues of banditry, Boko Haram, kidnappers and others.
“Nigeria’s unity is still undergoing its fabrication. That is why this bill is seeking for national unity. We celebrate independence day, because we assumed that we are free from colonial masters. We have not actually celebrated our unity.
“Since amalgamation in 1914, of the North and South, we never call a day to celebrate our national unity and this gives room for every individual to feel that, I am Igbo, I am Hausa or Yoruba because of lack of national unity.
“Consider the fact that if we put the whole number of Boko Haram, bandits, kidnappers, the total is not up to 10,000 and how come they can chase 200 million people away? It is because the 10,000 of these elements are more united than us.
“So the national unity Bill will be a thing will unite us the more.
“Moreso, if we are in the chamber, we all talk about the progress of this nation, in one united body, but if we go to our constituencies, we will be telling our subjects how other tribes or ethnic group are marginalising us.
“This will further divide us as a nation; that is a wrong message for selfish political reasons; we lack the preaching of love among our people, instead, we stoke hatred among our people.
“In political parties, we lack what is meant to live by example. If you belong to a political party democratically, you consider others as enemies which is not suposed to be so, and it’s one of those things that made me to propose the bill.”
Senator Okorocha urged Nigerians to let go the old ways of thinking and face the future, stressing that unity was sacrosanct to growing the nation.
He called on Nigerians to correct the political anomaly by electing a competent person in 2023, who will not be biased or sentimental in his or her reasoning.
The former governor insisted that the next President must have Nigerians at heart, saying whoever that is ethnically inclined should not be President of Nigeria in the first place.