Politics

Our diversity not call for division – Deputy Speaker

Benjamin Kalu, Deputy Speaker

…seeks lasting solutions to ethnic tensions, religious divides in Nigeria

By Tom Okpe

As the nation journeys towards nationhood, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep Benjamin Okezie Kalu, has said Nigeria’s diversity is not a call for division but a beautiful coloration that signifies strength and unity of a people.

He said though, the country is made up of different ethnic groups and religions, the goal is one national objective.

Kalu made the assertion, while delivering his Keynote Address at the commencement of a 2-Day National Engagement on, ‘Addressing Identity-Based Conflict’ with theme: ‘Mapping Actors to Reduce Identity Conflict,’ jointly organized by the International Republican Institutions, IRI and National Endowment for Democracy, NED at the National Assembly Library, Abuja.

He said: “Let me join others who spoke earlier today to say, our diversity is not a call to division. It is a beautiful colouration that this nation has been blessed with.

“We should leverage the varieties that come from different perspectives with which we view things to bring to the bricks and the walls of nation building.

“It is for us, to join hands, not leaving one other, because the colour is brown or black or because the tongue speaks Yoruba, Hausa or Igbo.

“Yoruba is Nigeria, so is Igbo, Hausa, and Efik. My brother in the North is still my brother though I am from the South East. And my brother in the South West is still my brother.

“You should be able to say, though we are designed, differently with different embroideries on our garment, the garment that we all wear is, Nigeria.”

Kalu also called for proper identification of the issues which included, farmers/herders clashes in the North Central; banditry and civilian security arrangements in North West and the violent agitations in the South East and their possible causes, emphasizing that it will help in proffering lasting solutions to the problems.

“It is common logic at this crucial juncture of Nigeria’s evolution to say that a problem well stated is a problem half solved, and this is why, we are all gathered here today, toward charting a course to national cohesion by deliberating about how mapping actors can quell the fires of identity based
conflict, in this great country of ours.

“As we know, the first step is to state the problem well, and we have all we need today, to do just that.

“For too long, the dark flames of identity based conflict have cast a shadow over our nation, particularly, in the North Central, North West, and South East geopolitical zones.

“We have witnessed tragic consequences of ethnic tensions, religious divides, and competition for resources. But today, a flicker of hope ignites the hope that by mapping the actors who fuel these conflicts, we can finally extinguish the flames and forge a path toward a more peaceful, unified Nigeria.

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“This National engagement is a clarion call to action. It is a call for collaboration between Government, civil society, community leaders, and international partners.

“It is a call for open communication, listening to whispers and shouts, for recognizing humanity in every face, staring back at us.

“This National engagement represents a critical first step towards a more peaceful Nigeria. By meticulously mapping the actors who shape conflict dynamics, we can move beyond rhetoric and foster evidence-based solutions that address the root causes of division.

“This multi-pronged approach, informed by the knowledge gleaned from actor mapping, holds the potential to create a future where every Nigerian can thrive in an environment of security, dignity, and lasting peace,” Kalu said.

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