Monday, December 11, 2023


Chidi Odinkalu: 2023 polls is proof that Nigeria needs reset on coexistence, citizenship

Chidi Odinkalu: 2023 polls is proof that Nigeria needs reset on coexistence, citizenship
August 03
11:39 2023

Chidi Odinkalu, lawyer and human rights activist, says Nigeria needs a reset to continue to coexist.

Speaking on Wednesday at the 10th anniversary annual lecture of Just Friends Club of Nigeria (JFCN), with the theme ‘Resetting Nigeria’, Odinkalu said the nation’s inability to treat its citizens equally is a problem that needs to be tackled.

Making reference to the 2023 elections, he said insecurity could be difficult to surmount as long as Nigeria continues to dwell on ethnicity and tribalism at the expense of citizenship.

“The elections this year suggest to me that there is a resetting that needs to be done on coexistence. This was the year that the disenfranchisement of Nigerians was the mechanism for attaining power,” he said.


“If you looked a particular way or came from a particular part of the country, you could not vote. Nigeria is a genocide theater waiting to happen.

“The country’s dysfunction with civics and citizenship itself is reflected in a leadership ethos that is incapable of treating citizens with dignity as well as a national preoccupation with discrimination.

“In Nigeria today, the only significant minorities are Nigerians.


“We are all polarised along a multiplicity of lines: Christians vs Muslims; militants vs Boko Haram; men vs women; ruling party vs opposition; indigenes vs settlers; poor vs rich; Army vs police and police vs bloody civilians.”

The lawyer said while Nigeria’s diversity is a positive resource and not a curse, the country’s leaders have failed to go past the narrowness in the diversity.

“The synergies inherent in a big country like Nigeria offer greater long-term prospects to all within it than the risks and inefficiencies in smaller territories,” he said.

“Harnessing these prospects, however, requires vision and leadership of the sort that the country has historically not been blessed with on a significant scale.


“If we cannot restructure our values, we cannot restructure a Nigeria that is equitable and just.”

Also speaking at the event, Fred Ihwahwa, president of JFCN, said Nigeria requires a reset in infrastructure development, education, health, internal security, the economy, politics and values.

“We need to reset ourselves at the individual, communal, corporate and government levels. We need a rebirth as a people. Otherwise, we will keep wallowing in the doldrums,” he said.

“There are new governments in place at the federal and state levels. They have a historic opportunity to seize the initiative and make a positive difference in the lives of the people.


“Will they rise to the demands of these times? Time will tell.”


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