Nigerian diplomat, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, has identified those who use ethnic, religious and cultural diversity tools to divide the country as the real enemies.
Gamabri stated at the 4th National Broadcasting Commission( NBC) 2018 Annual Lecture organised by NBC in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, in Abuja.
Gambari, a former Minister of External Affairs and former representatives of Nigeria in UN, also listed national indiscipline, greed as factors that are working against the Nigeria.
He spoke on the theme: ‘Broadcasting and Nigeria’s Ethno-Cultural and Religious Divide: Bridging the Gap’.
Gambari, however, disclosed that the real divide in the country is not about ethnicity and religion.
According to him, existing socio-economic inequality, poor governance were the real itching clog in the wheel of the country’s progress.
He cited the existing disparity in the healthcare, girl-child school enrolment between the North and Southern parts of the country as another factor that should not be glossed over.
“If you take the education of the girl-child as a factor, you would see the case of inequality as the southeast is having an enrolment rate of about 85%, southwest as 89%, south-south as 79%, Northeast as 20% and Northwest as 29%.
“Only 25% of women in the North use maternity clinics while 85% of the women in the Southeast do. With this, it is not surprising that 39% of women in the Northeast die as a result of complications during childbirth.
“This is what brings about high level of economic inequality such that different Nigerians live different lives in different parts of the country. How do you build a common nationhood when citizens are living such parallel lives?,” he queried.
He added that contrary to what former American President Barrack Obama’s comment that Africa needs strong institutions, Nigeria needs both strong institutions and strong leaders to thrive.
“Good governance, which is about inclusiveness and rule of law, if adhered to, will bridge the divide in the country,” he submitted.
Speaking on the role broadcasting could play in bridging the gap, the diplomat said that broadcast media must cater for the diverse interest groups in the country.
Gambari, however, while describing the broadcast media as a double-edged sword whereby it could be used for good or bad, emphasised that organisations must adhere to Broadcasting Code.
“Despite the emergence of Social Media, broadcast media remain the source of news and entertainment for many Nigerians. Hence, there must be a multiplicity of broadcast media to cater for the diverse interest groups in the country.
“Hate speech must be addressed. Strategic civic education must be embarked upon in schools, political parties, associations and grassroots.
“On the other hand, certainty of sanctions should be established by the regulators of these broadcast media,” Gambari noted.
Earlier, the Director-General of NBC, Malam Is’haq Modibbo Kawu said it was imperative for broadcasting to be a bridge-building industry.
According to him, the Nigeria Broadcasting Code states that broadcasting shall influence society positively, setting the agenda for the social, cultural, economic, political and technological development of the nation for the public good.
” In the Cultural objectives of the code, it requested Nigerian broadcasting to safeguard, enrich and strengthen the cultural, political, social and economic fabrics of Nigeria,” he said.