The former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, yesterday said Nigeria will work if Nigerians eschew separatism and embrace unity.
Ribadu, who spoke while delivering the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka 11th Convocation Lecture with the theme: ‘Leadership and Challenges of National Unity in Nigeria’, said it was only in unity that Nigerians could find strength and ability to fight and conquer corruption, Boko Haram, insecurity and other evils bedeviling the country.
In preaching unity, Ribadu who described Nigeria as a huge promise to the black man, insisted that Nigeria needed a honest and modern leadership that would be a rallying point for citizens.
“What we missed at Independence and for most of the years that followed is a true national leader with a clear determination and focus to unify the country. Having such a unifying person would have been one big leap because it would have taken care of the most central challenges of our country.
“Most nation states, as we have seen from examples in sister African countries and elsewhere, succeed largely when you have a leader that is focused, open minded, cosmopolitan, yet firm and unrelenting. Outside Africa, we can also point to the shining examples of Singapore and Malaysia.
“Leadership, therefore, has meaning only when it emphasises unity in diversity, and lifts up the people, investing them with hope and promise. It is so when it sets up purposeful action through the force of example. I am convinced that the leadership that will lead us to the next mile cannot tolerate degenerative values that allow discriminatory practices to thrive, and cannot stamp its feet to affirm than ‘an injury to one is an injury to all’ ; that violence and impunity will not be tolerated and will be met with overwhelming counter violence in the interest of the large Nigerian community.