Former Attorney-General of the Federation, Chief Richard Akinjide has described the speculation that the amalgamation of Nigeria would expire in 2014 as a ruse.
Recounting Nigeria’s pre-independence history on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’, Akinjide pointed out that the existence of Nigeria started way before the 1914 amalgamation, specifically the Berlin Conference and thus cannot expire.
He noted that the British made it clear that they joined the country and not the people, indicating that the people still had a strong influence on the future of the country.
He admitted that although, the underlining motive of the British Government was for their own economic interests. “Substantially, what they did was good, as there were no sovereign countries in Africa before they came, except Liberia and Abyssinia (now known as Ethiopia).
“We’ve been brought together as a nation and I think we will remain as a country, I don’t see the collapse that people are talking about,” he said.
Akinjide also noted that Nigeria’s recent economic growth was a proof to the strength of the country, and with President Jonathan “having started well, we will get better.”
He encouraged Nigerians that while 1914 was a critical year in the history of the country, it was important to look beyond it and see a better future.
In view of the history of Nigeria’s amalgamation as recounted by Akinjide, the call for a National Conference came to the fore. He admitted that he could not give any intelligent report on it as he was not privy to information on the report compiled by the Presidential Committee.
He, however, said that although a constitutional amendment was not a bad idea, and Nigeria might indeed need it, but what Nigeria needed to change was character. He asked, “what are we doing with our resources?”
He cited Southern Korea, which was captured by Japan during the 2nd World War but whose character has made bigger than many countries, including Japan as an example for Nigeria to follow.
Akinjide also spoke about many issues of national interest, including the sensitivity of the office of the Attorney-General, stating that the office requires that its occupant must be a first class lawyer, a patriotic person, and of good character, irrespective of the region he comes from.