The immediate past president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, has passed a damning verdict on the unity of the country, saying it is questionable. This is even as he said it is too early to ask if he will be contesting the 2023 presidential election or not.
Jonathan spoke during an exclusive command performance by the Port-Harcourt Male Ensemble International tagged ‘Peace for All Nations’ at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abuja.
Jonathan further said as a former President who had been vice president and president for eight years and equally played at the state level as a deputy governor and governor for eight years in the slums of the Niger Delta, he knew the meaning of peace.
He also said it worried him everyday when he looked at the issues bothering the country as a nation. He stated that Nigerian youths sometimes engaged in all kinds of confrontation, recalling his conversation with one of his friends.
“And I was discussing with somebody, one of my friends and I said look, in Nigeria, they appear not to even have a national youth body, because in most cases, the regional youth bodies are stronger than the national youth body.
“Ordinarily, the national youth body is supposed to be stronger than the regional youth body. If you go to my state, Bayelsa state for example, if I am a national member of the Nigerian Youth Council, the IYC, Ijaw Youth Council, feels that they are your boss.
“If you go to the Southwest and to the North, the Arewa Youth Group, they feel they are superior to the national youth body.
“If you go to the Southwest, the same thing. If you go to the Southeast, the same thing. That shows clearly that as a nation, we are in trouble. The unity of the country is questionable,” Jonathan said.
Focusing on the essence of the event, Jonathan further said: “So, when you see young people come together to perform with the theme: ‘Peace for All Nations,’ I am quite impressed.”
Asked to comment on the way forward regarding the insecurity bedeviling the country, Jonathan said Nigeria was not the only nation affected by insecurity, adding that the whole world was facing insecurity because of the excesses of terrorists.
He said the Nigerian situation was somehow unique as the country feels it everyday, even as he said he believed the government was doing its best.
“I was there before and of course, you know there was a lot of insecurity. So, I am the very wrong person to make comments on the insecurity in the land.
All what we can do is to collectively support the government, encourage the soldiers and other security operatives to do more for our safety,” Jonathan stated.
Also speaking, the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, said nothing could be more important than peace.
Osinbajo who was represented by his Special Assistant on Religious Matters, Pastor Seyi Malomo, further said peace in the society is one of the invincible cement that makes everything to work.
“If you remove that peace, everything will somehow collapse. So, peace cannot be coming at a more appropriate time when we are in the season of celebrating our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who the Bible says is the Prince of Peace,” Osinbajo said.
Speaking earlier, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, said the event marked the commencement of the execution of the mandate that has been entrusted through the choir by the Commonwealth.
Onyeama said despite the mandate, the choir was expected to undertake a global tour of the Commonwealth nations for the purpose of promoting peace and development through music.