Former Nigeria Vice President and presidential candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has called on the All Progressives Congress (APC) led federal state governments to release all the political prisoners, detainees and to stop prosecuting them as a way of healing the nation.
According to him, Nigeria is in dire need of healing, even as he stressed the need for the government to foster unity and douse the tense atmosphere which is breeding feelings of alienation.
“As such, in the spirit of our 60th Independence Anniversary, I call on the Federal and state governments, to release all political prisoners and detainees, and discontinue the prosecution of such individuals. If Nelson Mandela could reconcile with those who imprisoned him for twenty seven years, we can reconcile with those who have disagreed with us.”
In his message on the celebration of Nigeria’s 60th Independence, which comes up tomorrow, October1, Atiku Abubakar regretted that the nation has failed so many Adesanyas, who have made the country proud by winning laurels for ther country, like Israel Adesanya who defended his UFC middleweight title in far away United States on September 26, 2020.
“Truth be told, there are many Adesanyas in every nook and cranny of our land. They give meaning to our aspirations. Sadly we have failed them. The structure on which we have hinged our political and economic emancipation has equally failed us. We do not hope to continue doing the same thing with jaded and unworkable system and expect to get a remarkable result.
“We may have missed countless opportunities to reset our mindset moving forward as prosperous people, but this 60th anniversary of the life of our nation offers introspection.
“The youths of Nigeria represent the future wealth of the fatherland and the only way we can tap into them is through quality investments in education and skills acquisition.
“Through the creativity that they inject in their passion, the excellence of the Nigerian youth is a global signature in diverse fields notably in sports, as they can be found in medicine, in education, in business and finance, agriculture, and in our entertainment industry. Indeed they ‘berekete’ in every facet of our life from the rain forest of the south to the sudan and sahel Savannah of the north and the guinea Savannah of the midlands of the territories we call home.
“We may have failed to take advantage of the power of the Nigerian youth. But there is something much more significant that their triumphs teach us a people looking forward to a better future. When they win, they celebrate Nigeria. Our youth are ready and eager to conquer the world. What they lack is the leadership to take them through that process.”
Atiku said that for Nigeria to work for the millions of its people, and to be reckoned with as a global competitive force in the nearest future, “we must come up with a development plan that will have our youth at the centre of the plan. The times of idle, lame promises are over! We urgently need to build a new Nigeria where every dream would be embraced and the potentialities of our youth could be unleashed without the usual fears that have dragged us.”
He called on those who have taken up arms against Nigeria to have a rethink, adding that whatever differences they may have with the rest of Nigeria, whether religious, ethnic or political: terror, violence and separatism are not the way.
“Let us learn from history. In Ireland, Israel, and the Balkans, such groups have seen the wisdom in giving up armed struggle for participation in the political process.”