A Professor of Economic History at the Bayero University, Kano (BUK), Professor Muhammed Sani Abdulkadir has said for Nigeria to integrate as a nation and enjoy the benefits of democracy and political stability, it is imperative to entrench a supportive public culture where Nigerians can understand, respect, accommodate and tolerate the socio-cultural differences occasioned by our cultural diversity.
He has also called for the development of institutions and mechanisms that will peacefully address issues of poverty, inequality, revenue allocation and other national issues.
Abdulkadir, a former Vice Chancellor with the Kogi State University, Anyingba made this call on Thursday, October 7, 2021 while presenting a paper as Guest Lecturer at a Public Lecture, organised by the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), at the Mambayya House, Aminu Kano Centre for Democratic Studies, Bayero University, Kano.
In his paper, titled “Cultural Variables in Managing Diversity in Nigeria, Prof. Abdulkadir said a supportive public culture in Nigeria will go a long way to create the kind of values shared by almost all groups as well as constitute a common ground for citizens to appreciate the Nigerian State, irrespective of our diversity.
According to him, the need to transform ethnic politics into mutually beneficial relationships under good leadership and the provision of the people’s basic needs are not only paramount, but remains a major strategy that would lead to lasting peace and harmonious living amongst Nigerians.
His words “To manage our diversity, we should strive to create multicultural organizations in which members of all socio-cultural backgrounds can contribute and achieve their full potentials; recognise and affirm a positive development for our common heritage and collective good; develop a robust and diversified culture that will help in constructing an effective and efficient management of resources; and ensure policies are designed for the inclusion and participation of all citizens, irrespective of differences so as to guarantee social cohesion.
He maintained that a proper integration of Nigerians and management of our diversity will give room for a climate of flourishing and self-sufficient cultural diversities through the incorporation of both the dominant race with the visible and invisible ethnic cultures in the society that contribute to diversity; tapping into the positive potential of diversity and transforming its potential to a reality; and dialoguing amongst others to accept our differences.
While acknowledging that managing a multi-cultural society like Nigeria may be an enormous and problematic task, Abdulkadir strongly held the opinion that if we carefully work out our variables between competing groups, we can provide sufficient room for co-existence among fleeing forces.
“In federalism, when a form of government where the component units of a political organisation participate in sharing powers and functions in a corporate manner through the combined forces of ethnic pluralism and cultural diversity, very often, they pull their people apart”.
“Indeed, where the people agree sometimes, concerning goals and means of cooperative government of this kind, frictions and conflicts will certainly occur, but when their system works as planned, conflict resolution is quite possible through the timely and effective intervention of accredited authorities and government organs”.
He further lamented that despite several efforts by successive governments to wish away our socio-cultural differences and work towards achieving the attached benefits of national integration, the Nigerian nation is yet to stand and unite itself.
“National integration in Nigeria over the years has always been an attempt to forge universality in diversity and aggressive attempts to ignore or resolve historical differences, but the more these projects were pursued, the more the contradictions become, the more conflicts erupted and the more problems were created that pose a serious hindrance and obstacle to unity and peaceful co-existence”.
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