By RUTH OKETUNDE
ABUJA- Prof. Kingsley Moghalu, a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has emphasised that trust, social justice and national identity are key to sustaining national unity.
He made this known at a National Social Cohesion Dialogue, organised by the Africa Polling Institute (API), on Thursday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event also featured the unveiling of the 2022 Nigeria Social Cohesion Survey Report carried out by the institute with the support from Ford Foundation.
Moghalu said that for the country to have a more socially cohesive society, there was urgent need to put an end to “factors that divide us along ethnic, religious and political lines.
“Social cohesion matters greatly because it helps create peaceful, democratic and prosperous nations.
“What builds a nation and makes it successful are the intangible things such as trust among citizens and between citizens and the government.
“A sense of oneness and patriotism and other types of emotional investment and the opportunities we have or do not have to fulfill our God-given potential within our geographical space.
“Without social cohesion, therefore, all the efforts we and our governments may make to create progress are in reality based on a foundation of nothing”.
Prof. Bell Ihua, the Executive Director, API, said that the survey was carried out to get credible and scientific data that would help in stimulating constructive policy dialogue on how to address several issues in the country.
According to him, the survey, designed to build upon its past two editions, captures attitudes and perceptions of citizens using 13 key indicators.
Ihua added that recommendations and data gathered from the survey would be useful in addressing factors that has been weakening the state of social cohesion in the country.
“For Nigeria to move forward, data for planning and decision making is very important and so far we have helped to bridge the gap in citizens’ data.
“We need to provide accurate data to help not just government but advocates, practitioners, development community, especially from the citizen’s perspective”, he said.
Similarly, Mr Soji Adeniyi, a board member, API, said that Nigerians should prioritise competence to foster good governance and create a sense of belonging for all Nigerians.
“The challenges we are having today is lack of social cohesion, this is because the concept of Nigerianism has not been absolved by everyone of us.
“We must first see ourselves as Nigerians before asking where we are originally from.
“The context of our existence can only be on competence, we must understand that the most competent person may not be from the largest ethnic group,” he said.(NAN)