Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Vice-President of Nigeria, has stated that Nigeria cannot be defined by any group of people or by any political party.
Osinbajo made the remarks on Friday night at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja, during the publication event for the book “The Memory of Seasons,” authored by Nigerian journalist Arakaino Umukoro.
The Vice-President emphasised that Nigeria is “not its politicians, it’s not its religious leaders, it is you and I.”
He stated the value of storytelling but noted that other people’s stories frequently had ulterior motives. He pleaded for Nigerians not to disparage their nation.
Every citizen belonged to “the Nigerian side,” he continued, and Nigerians needed to share their stories of hopes, desires, and aspirations.
He said, “The stories of nations written by others focus on their own agendas. The negatives of course sell much faster. We must tell our own stories. I attend a lot of conferences and I have never seen a conference where anyone is speaking ill of their country or running down their country.
“When we get home we can criticise ourselves, but we must talk up our country. We belong to one side, and that side is the Nigerian side. We must make sure that in every way we can, we give the very best impression of our country.
“Our country is not its politicians, it’s not its religious leaders, it is you and I. Our country cannot be defined by any group of people or by any political party. Our stories must be stories of our aspirations, dreams and hopes because we have the talents and resources and are already on that journey.”
Speaking during a panel session on the theme “Conversations on Nigeria’s Unity in diversity: Challenges, opportunities”, Special Assistant on Digital and New Media to the President, Tolu Ogunlesi, said there must be a focus on narratives being passed around regarding the country.
He added that these narratives, must “show that the things that unite us are more than the things that divide us”.