Only South West has properly managed its diversity, says Jonathan

Former President, Goodluck Jonathan, has said the rest of Nigeria can learn something about the management of ethnic and religious diversity from the South West.

He attributed Nigeria’s current problems to its failure to properly manage its diversity in a way that gives minorities a sense of belonging.

The former president said this in an address at the 13th Joe-Kyari Gadzama Public Lecture with the theme: ‘Redefining Democracy: Yearnings of the Minority in a Democratic Setting,’ which was held virtually.

Jonathan said, “That is the only part of Nigeria where we feel has been able to manage religion and development very well.

“So, we must look at our own unique circumstances and come up with the right form of government.”

Jonathan explained that he honoured the invitation to the event out of his respect for the host, Mr. Joe-Kyari Gadzama (SAN), and the rule of law.

The former president noted that in the case of Nigeria, the complications associated with the marginalisation of minority groups and tribes were identified decades ago and that efforts were made across generations to solve the problems.

He described the setting up of the Willinks Commission by the colonial government as one of such efforts.

Jonathan expressed sadness that although the Federal Character Commission was established as part of efforts to address the issue of marginalisation, it was yet to fully achieve its set objective.

He said, “The Federal Character Commission over many decades may have been doing its best to give everyone fair representation and a fair sense of belonging, but there are still many who feel that this agency of government has not fully addressed the challenges of accommodating minorities.”

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