Eth­no­cen­trism, in­tol­er­ance dan­ger­ous to democ­racy – Buhari

Daily Trust - - NEWS - By Isi­aka Wak­ili

Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari has warned that one of the most pro­found dan­gers to Nige­ria’s democ­racy and free­dom is the di­vi­sive application of eth­nic and re­li­gious di­ver­si­ties.

Rep­re­sented by Vice Pres­i­dent Yemi Os­in­bajo in his ad­dress to ser­vice chiefs and grad­u­ates of the Se­nior Course 38 at the Armed Forces Com­mand and Staff Col­lege, Jaji, Kaduna State, at the week­end, Buhari said as de­fend­ers of the na­tion’s ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity, the armed forces must re­sist and re­ject ethno-cen­tri­cism and re­li­gious in­tol­er­ance.

“These evils threaten our very ex­is­tence as a sov­er­eign and in­di­vis­i­ble na­tion,” he said.

He noted that being in the mil­i­tary to­day re­quired more than just car­ry­ing weapons, say­ing the of­fi­cer must be a pub­lic in­tel­lec­tual and thinker “ver­sa­tile, dy­namic and ca­pa­ble of in­tro­spec­tion.”

“Our so­ci­ety is more com­plex and our world is more dif­fi­cult than ever be­fore. The na­ture of war­fare is also vastly dif­fer­ent, con­se­quently, the of­fi­cer of to­day can­not just be sol­dier, in any event, being in the mil­i­tary to­day re­quires more than just car­ry­ing weapons,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to the pres­i­dent, Nige­ria needs men and women in the armed forces who are pre­pared to make the sac­ri­fices and self-con­straints that are cru­cial to a strong so­ci­ety.

Buhari said the armed forces had the re­spon­si­bil­ity of fight­ing against all forms of eth­nic and re­li­gious prej­u­dices be­cause they were prob­a­bly the most vis­i­ble sym­bols of na­tional unity and co­he­sion.

He said build­ing a new Nige­ria re­quired a new tribe of men and women of all faiths who are of di­verse tribes and eth­nic­i­ties, but firmly com­mit­ted to a coun­try run on high val­ues of in­tegrity hard work, jus­tice and love.

He said con­tem­po­rary mil­i­tary war­fare, es­pe­cially the in­flu­ence of tech­nol­ogy like drones, had posed a huge chal­lenge, hence the need for the mil­i­tary to de­velop the right strate­gies to deal with “this fu­ture be­fore us.”

“Our na­tion at this time needs an elite con­sist­ing of pro­fes­sion­als from the mil­i­tary, busi­ness­men, politi­cians, re­li­gious lead­ers and all oth­ers who be­lieve that a new Nige­ria is pos­si­ble. This na­tion needs an elite pre­pared to stick to­gether, fight cor­rup­tion and other na­tional ills side by side; an elite who in­sists on jus­tice even where our friends are at the re­ceiv­ing end,” he said.

Vice Pres­i­dent Os­in­bajo, while an­swer­ing ques­tions from news­men af­ter the event, said: “Ter­ror­ism is a ma­jor blem­ish on the na­tion and our char­ac­ter. It’s im­por­tant to con­tinue to speak against it and to have con­certed ef­forts on the part of all to deal with it.”

He said given the na­ture of the un­con­ven­tional op­er­a­tions of Boko Haram in­sur­gents, the mil­i­tary should de­vise ap­pro­pri­ate strate­gies to com­bat ter­ror­ism.

191 Nige­rian of­fi­cers from the mil­i­tary, para­mil­i­tary and civil­ians, in­clud­ing eight African for­eign mil­i­tary of­fi­cers as well as a South Korean of­fi­cer grad­u­ated from the col­lege.

Photo: NAN

The Women choirs of the First ECWA Church Ung-Maichibi, per­form­ing at the Church Ser­vice in Kaduna yes­ter­day.

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