Gbenro Adesina/Ibadan

Nigerian Academy of Letters, NAL, has expressed concerns over the various ills that bedevil Nigeria and which threaten her corporate existence.

According to a communique issued at the end of the 20th convocation, scientific session, and investiture of new fellows held recently, the academy observed that Nigeria has not been able to rise above the issues that divide Nigerians.

According to the communiqué, which was signed by its newly elected President, Professor Francis Egbokaire of the Department of Linguistics, University of Ibadan, UI, Nigeria’s inability to rise above religious, ethnic, and other sentiments since independence, deviance and impunity in polity and national life, litany of massacre in Nigeria, failure to accept that Nigeria’s cooperate existence is negotiable, call for concern.

Stressing that all Nigerians are stakeholders in the development of the country, the association noted that there is an urgent need to rediscover the sense of humanity and fraternity with a view to preserving the dignity of the Nigerian life.

The academy, therefore, recommended, among other things, that concerted efforts should be made by intellectuals as well as the political class to rigorously critique the state, essence and nature of Nigeria’s political life; the Nigerian state should consciously patronize and nurture programmes that would assist in deploying the nation’s diversity as a source of strength, not weakness, at the national level; the leadership and political elite should respect public opinion; the nation should prioritise constitutional order and humane value; and also, that a negotiated restructuring of the country, which does not amount to dissolution of the federation, is long over due.

The communique continues: “Being cognizant of a fundamentality of loyalty as an indispensable element for state prosperity, NAL calls on the government at the centre to improve on its welfare programmes for the citizenry as it is the first precedent to the prevention of disloyalty. Such welfare programmes would equally prevent the emergence of non-state violent actors, such as Boko Haram, that feed on citizens’ disillusionment with the state in perpetrating atrocities and brigandage.

“The academic sector needs to be empowered through research funding opportunities to be able to examine issues on nationhood fairly and deeply. Academics in the country need to discard their biases and examine national issues impartially to be able to make meaningful contributions to national development and Nigeria must reinvent political parties; that is, our political elite must establish political parties that prioritise politics of ideas, ideologies, and sustainable growth and development.”