Abuja – Senator Barnabas Gemade, former National Chairman of the People's Democratic Party (PDP), has urged Nigerians to sustain the momentum engineered by the successes recorded in the general elections in order to move the country forward.
Gemade, who made the call in Abuja on Tuesday during the official unveiling of a book "Fragrance of Diversity", noted that the successes altered negative perception about Nigeria, especially at the global stage.
He recalled how internal crises threatened national peace and security in the country, adding that "Nigeria had witnessed many costly internal conflicts since 1960.
"The notable ones include the civil war, the Zango/Kataf in Kaduna State, the Hausa/Berom in Plateau, Tiv/Jukun in Taraba and Benue.
"Others are the Ebira and Bassa crisis in present day Kogi, the Ife and Modakeke in Osun, Ijaw and Itserkeri in Delta, Ezza and Izzi in Ebonyi, Umuleri and Aguleri in Anambra and Ombatse in Nasarawa State.
"In recent years, we have seen the more devastating crises of militancy in the Niger Delta, Boko Haram in the North and east , the Fulani herdsmen and many communities’ recurring clashes in the middle section of the country and others."
The former PDP chairman said that the lack of deep understanding and appreciation of one another by Nigerians was a major threat to unity, tolerance and peace in the country.
He, therefore, stressed the need for inter-cultural marriages, provision of Unity Schools for younger generations, understanding languages and bearing names across cultural, political and geographical divides to encourage tolerance, acceptance and proper integration.
In his address, FCT Minister, Bala Muhammad, urged Nigerians to embrace peace, as propagated by the author of the book, "Fragrance of Diversity".
Represented by Emmanuel Awodu, his Special Assistant of Administration, the FCT minister also urged Nigerians to stop the ethnic and tribal war and be patriotic to sustain the country as one.
Written by Nosike Ogbuenyi, the Special Assistant to the FCT Minister on Media, "Fragrance of Diversity" demonstrates how some Nigerian cultural traits and diverse names which have often been misapplied as divisive tools can be transformed into positive instruments of unity.
He said that the book further explains the meanings of names of Nigerians across ethnic, religious and geographic divides.
Ogbuenyi said "that way, our names can become instruments for bounding and integration, irrespective of our ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic diversities."
The book reviewer, Dr Philip Akpen, who is the Head of Department, History and Diplomatic Studies, University of Abuja, said history was supposed to be taught from primary to university.
Akpen said such would enable children and youths to understand their culture.
He encouraged Nigerians to write books "in order to weave threads of unity, understanding, cohesion and integration."