The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, has said that Nigerians should go back to their roots and rediscover the cherished cultural values that guaranteed respect, justice, and co-existence.
Dr. Jonathan, who stated this at the opening ceremony of the two-day National Conference, with the theme, “Culture, Peace and National Security in Nigeria: The Role of Local Government Chairmen and Traditional Rulers,” and organized by the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), at Shehu Musa Yar’Adua International Conference Centre, Abuja, said this was necessary because there had been great dislocations and distortions in our cultural values, heritage, peace and communal security.
Represented by the Special Adviser on Special Duties and Ethics, Mrs Sara Pane, President Jonathan assured that his administration would be seen beyond cultural differences, and urged Nigerians to promote national unity, adding that he is determined to transform Nigeria socially, culturally, economically and politically.
Continuing, Mr. President explained: “We need an atmosphere of peace and security for us to attract foreign investments. The widely known concept of “The Nigerian Factor,” should be transformed from the negative to positive to our cultural behaviour. The traditional institutions and Local Government Councils constitute veritable agents of grassroots mobilization in cultural orientation. I implore our traditional rulers to pay more attention to the preservation and promotion of our cultural values and heritage. The cultural diversities of our country should be the source of strength and unity rather than division and ethnic strife. It is sad to note the level of destructions of lives and property caused by ethnic and religious violence in our dear country Nigeria.”
He therefore called on traditional rulers to wake up to their statutory responsibilities and obligations to the society, also reminded the Local Government Chairmen to rise to their role, as the chief security officers of their areas of jurisdiction, for the sake of peace and security, because: “Peace and security are now the most ostensibly sought after commodities in the world today. We all know the immense and material resources that are being committed to the pursuit of peace and security in Nigeria over the years.”
President Jonathan, who also assured that security agencies in Nigeria were being empowered with enhanced modern equipment and technical gadgets in crime prevention, said Nigeria is going through a phase but that efforts were being put in place to make it a thing of the past.
In his remarks, the Executive Secretary, Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, expressed his happiness over the event, saying the event was informed by the need to let the Traditional Rulers and Local Government Chairmen to know the vital role they should play in the sustenance of peace and security in Nigeria.
He said: “Following the spate of rising violent crime, youth restiveness, ethno-religious crises and general insecurity, NICO had to initiate this conference as part of its statutory mandate to bring together all the stakeholders in finding sustainable solution to these vices. I strongly believe that this is a good opportunity for us to deliberate on the plausible ways of confronting our present challenges.”