Senate President Bukola Saraki says the unity of Nigeria must be discussed before the contentious issue of restructuring.
Saraki said this yesterday in Abuja at the 5th Anniversary Lecture in honour of his late father, Dr Abubakar Olusola Saraki, organised by the Northern Union (NU).
In a goodwill message at the occasion, the Senate President said one of the things people should learn from his father was that he stood and worked for the people.
He said Oloye developed the habit of giving and gave his everything for the interest of his people, adding “That is one thing we should all be doing.”
Saraki said, “Some go into politics as business, but Oloye wasn’t like that. This is one lesson that we should learn. He also believed in consensus and bringing the people together.
“Like I said last week, before we talk about restructuring, we must talk about unity. We must not be afraid to do the right thing. As we all honour and remember him, we should continue to protect the unity of this country.”
A former Nigerian High Commissioner to Canada, Prof Iyorwuese Hagher, while delivering a paper titled ‘National Unity and the Future of Nigeria’, said the North led the discussion of national unity because it had the interest of the whole country at heart.
Prof Hagher, who also served as a senator in the Second Republic, said Nigeria’s unity was non-negotiable because the break up would not be in the best interest of the citizens.
While saying that all the agitations for secession were targeted at the North, he said the region would not allow its leaders to fold their arms while a few others beat the drum of secession because of its many experiences.
“When the international community looks at Nigeria today, they see a country with a lot of promises. We can address the national problem of fear, anger, anguish and the rest.
“Olusola Saraki stood for unity, worked for it and died for it. He bridged the North and the South. Any attempt for any section to secede is a serious crime that must be stopped by the state.
“Moldavia and South Sudan have become miserable after secession.
“If Nigeria breaks up, we will become too weak. Our economies will be weakened.”
Earlier, the chairman of Northern Union, Prof Ango Abdullahi, said the lecture was organised as a stimulant to generate other national discourse for unity and progress of Nigeria.