Jerry Rawlings, former Ghanaian President, has warned Nigerians against spreading hate speech, saying if not nipped in the bud, the country may be heading towards another civil war.
Rawlings, speaking on Tuesday at the 12th Annual Alumni Lecture, organised by the University of Ibadan Alumni Association in Ekiti State, emphasised that the spread of hate speeches in the country was taking a dangerous dimension and should be checked.
Rawlings also mentioned corruption, ethnicity, tribal warfare and incitements as some of the challenges plaguing the country, noting that if Nigeria could get it right, it would be a pride for other countries on the continent.
He warned that another civil war in the country would set the country backward and called on those at the helms of affairs to prevent incitements and the impending tribal warfare.
He said: “The world is a global village and everything that is happening in Nigeria or any other part of the world is known to everyone. I want to tell you here that I don’t like what is going on in Nigeria at the moment. Nobody likes it. I am talking about a dangerous corruption of ethnicity, tribal warfare and incitement, which appear to be rearing its ugly head again and it’s moving towards a very dangerous level in Nigeria.
“Let’s find a way out of this. It needs to be filtered out. Don’t go there, stop threatening each other. It’s not safe. Let’s learn how to accommodate each other. The continent needs you strong and united.”
Rawlings also decried the high corrupt practices on the continent, stressing that money bag politicians have succeeded in manipulating the process of objective elections in Africa, but called on the electorate to always ensure that people with integrity are put at the helms of affairs.
He further lamented that despite the voting out of corrupt politicians in Nigeria in 2015, the country and Ghana are still rated among the most corrupt countries in the world, noting that corruption had eaten deep into the system.
He urged politicians with integrity on the continent to appoint into offices people of like-minds, declaring that without this, Africa would continue to receive low ratings on transparency.
He said: “Nigeria was so tired of corruption that it voted corrupt politicians out in 2015 and voted in a man with high integrity, but yet, the country is still swimming in corruption. If you can help fight corruption, you are already taking the lead in African and the world at large.
“For any good government to succeed in Africa, you need strength of character, discipline and make sure you surround yourself with people of same character, top and disciplined people.”
Earlier, Makanjuola Owolabi, an aviator and the guest speaker at the occasion in his paper, ‘Leadership with character,’ called on leaders in Nigeria to display good leadership qualities in their dealings with the public.
Owolabi insisted that harassing the led socio-economically and shutting down of their businesses, was an assault against the people.
He attributed the country’s problems to bad leadership with mediocrity, saying that the country required men of integrity and intelligence to move it forward.
He called on graduates of higher institutions to actively participate in politics especially at the grassroots level, stressing that “we must change our attitude to politics and governance of winner takes all, of revenge, vendetta, vengeance, exclusion, extreme partisanship, wickedness and sadism,” he said.