The president of the African Development Bank, Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina, has said Nigeria must address the fundamental reasons for agitations by listening and allowing open national dialogue without preconditions.
He said the goal must be to build one united, fair, just and equitable country for all and not for few or any section of the country or religion.
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Adesina stated this yesterday in his address at the 11th graduation ceremony of the American University of Nigeria (AUN) for the classes of 2020 and 2021 in Yola, Adamawa State.
Speaking on the theme: “Building a New Nigeria: Imperatives for Shared Prosperity,” Adesina said, “Nigeria must start managing its diversity for prosperity. We must drive national cohesion, not ethnic nationalities.”
Dr Adesina who was also conferred with a Doctor of Humane Letters, said, “Nigeria is blessed with incredibly rich diversity of people, cultures, religions, mineral resources, oil and gas, an amazingly rich biodiversity that should make it the envy of the world.
“Therefore, our diversity is not our problem. It is our strength, but when mismanaged, it becomes divergence; rather than unite, we become splintered, with each entity believing that, somehow, it is better without the other. We must manage diversity for collective good.”
According to him, this needs to change and governments must be open to representation based on nationality, not ethnicity, build a society of mutual trust, where diversity is well managed.
Earlier, the AUN president, Margee Ensign, in her welcome address, said a new world was emerging, and believed that Nigeria would be one of the super powers.
She advised the graduating students not to shy away from their responsibilities; and they should never to give up, adding, “Go forth and make a better place for all of us.”
A total of 475 students graduated with both first and postgraduate degrees.
Chidimma C. Okeke, who was in Yola