There is nothing more difficult and gratifying in our society than living with sincerity and acting from a place of large-heartedness continually bending towards humanity’s growth and betterment.
With this in mind, the executives, members of the Nigerian Community Russia and my humble self as the president, join millions of your friends, fans, supporters and admirers to celebrate your Excellency President Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan as you add another year. Indeed, you are a man of destiny! A man of Peace!
The president that made it known to all Nigerians that his ambition does not worth the blood of any Nigerian.
This golden statement from you, our dear president, is not a theory operating in a vacuum. you not only said it, but you also demonstrated it by your action. Your word and action came at a time when it was a matter of survival for Nigeria as a nation hanging on a pivotal pendulum. And you said it and made the most difficult situation many in your position of power wouldn’t have done.
In our interior experience as individuals, as in the public forum of our shared experience as a people with huge cultural heritage, our courage lives in the same room as our fear. It is in troubled times, in despairing times that we find out who we really are and what we’re capable of. To allow power to slip out of your hands when you could have held it with little or no consequences is the height of courage and maturity. For this single act of courage, the Nigerian community of Russia and I appreciate and hold you to very high esteem and we will continue to do so.
We thank the Almighty God for your life and all your achievements. We pray to God to keep you in excellent health and a sound mind as we hope that the Almighty God in His infinite mercy has abundant things in stock for you.
Unfortunately, you did not visit Russia as the president of Nigeria, notwithstanding as community of Nigerians in Russian Federation, we are using this medium to extend an invitation to you to visit Russia as the leader of global peace.
May I, as the president of the Nigerian community Russia, use this opportunity on your birthday celebration to say that in the battle for the survival of Nigeria as a nation, there is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, and no room for fear.
I believe that the greatest gift the Almighty God gave Nigeria is human capital, but the system we have today in Nigeria has turned that human capital into organized and unorganized criminals involved in different kinds of crime with some hijacking power at the expense of the many just men and women of Nigeria. The result is what we have today as our country. One of the worst places to live in this world and now the poverty capital of the world.
At the centre of the problems facing Nigeria is the system being operated. And at the heart of that system is the Nigerian constitution. The current constitution should be replaced with one that grants maximum autonomy to all the major ethnic nationalities and regions in Nigeria as it is obtainable in all well-structured countries of the world.
Russia and China experienced similar problems as Nigeria is experiencing today. The population of Russia is about 145 million with 190 ethnic nationalities. 81% of the population are ethnic Russians and 19% are other ethnic nationalities. They solve their problem by partitioning their country into 84 administrative regions along ethnic nationalities and regions. Each region has its constitution, national anthem, flag, coat of arms, parliament, and a governor. They all have maximum autonomy. Tuva with its capital Kyzyl is the smallest of all the regions with a population of 307 000. Christianity, Islam and Buddhism are the three major religions in Russia and they exist in total harmony with one another.
The largest and the most beautiful mosque in Europe is in Russia. If Russia could understand that freedom to other regions and nationalities no matter how small their population might be is the foundation for love, cohesion, peace and progress for national development, why can’t Nigeria learn from the Russian experience and do same?
The population of China is about 1,94 billion, with 55 ethnic nationalities officially. 90% of the population are Hans ethnic nationality and the other ethnic nationalities constitute only 10%. They solve their problem by granting maximum autonomy to five major ethnic nationalities and regions in China. They are Guangxi, Inner Mongolia, Tibet, Ningxia, and Xinjiang. They are the five autonomous regions of China free from external interference in all their major affairs. Inner Mongolia uses its local language from primary to university education. If China could understand that freedom to other nationalities and regions is the foundation for love, cohesion, peace, progress for national development, why can’t Nigeria learn from the Chinese experience and do same?
I use these two great countries, Russia and China as references. In as much as some people might think that they are not fully democratic, one thing is that their leaders understand the importance of autonomy to other nationalities and regions as a foundation for love, cohesion, peace, and progress for national development.
No one human being is good enough to decide how another human being should live and there is no group of people good enough to decide how other groups of people should live. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality and whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.
Nigeria as a country must understand this if we want love, cohesion, peace, and progress for national development, the importance of autonomy to all ethnic nationalities irrespective of their sizes, religion and beliefs must be seen as the foundation for cohesion, and peaceful coexistence which enhances national development.
Once again, we wish you love and happiness as you celebrate your birthday. May the almighty God in his infinite mercy and grace protect and bless your family and you.
Maurice Okoli PhD is the President of Nigerian Community, Russia.
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