Nuhu Ribadu, a former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), says ethnic jingoism and religious acrimony propounded by “our leaders” are the bane of Nigeria.
According to the former anti-graft chief, Nigeria’s challenges are linked to the shortcomings of its leaders at all levels.
He noted that despite appearing cordial in public, the country’s leaders scheme against each other in private.
Ribadu said this on Wednesday while delivering the pre-convocation lecture of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra state.
“For years of our existence as a country, we have grappled with several challenges. There is mutual suspicion and ethnic jingoism that has deprived us of reason, sense of justice and fairness. We laugh and hug in public and plot against each other when we retire to our ethno-religious enclave,” he said.
“Clearly, our challenges of nationhood are linked to the inadequacies of some of our leaders at all levels. It is the leaders that chart and navigate the way for the flocks to follow, and it is the leader’s action, inaction and body language that dictate the tune for the dance steps of the public.
“Exclusive ethnic identities are inventions of our political elites.”
Ribadu urged Nigerians to resist politicians and religious leaders who promote division and magnify our differences as a nation.
“Our continued existence, I make bold to say, therefore, as one indivisible entity, very much depends on how we decide to be each other’s keeper. We should consciously refuse to give in to the weight of that which divides us.
“Rather, we should celebrate our togetherness, which, I believe far outweighs whatever differences we have. We must resist all temptations by enemies of our collective progress, and resist the influence of hate mongers, be it politicians of religious leaders.”