Struggling against apparent security and economic challenges that have caught the attention of the world, Nigeria and her leaders received words of encouragement and hope from former American President Bill Clinton who spoke in Lagos Monday at the 17th Annual THISDAY Awards for Excellence. Clinton said it takes a long time to grow democracy. According to him, what deepens democratic ethos is the recognition that people belong to different factions. He argued for respect for the majority, as well as minority and individual right.
As he parted the country Monday night with more words of encouragement, Clinton said Nigeria is not alone in its challenges. “Even if you have economic successes, you will still fight for political freedom,” he said. Pinpointing his source of concern for Nigeria, Clinton said, “I’m really worried about your security problems. I hope the president and the appropriate ministers can figure it out.
“But from my experience as a public servant, I know that it is almost impossible to cure a problem based on violence without giving people something to say yes to.” In a veiled reference to the Boko Haram menace, he warned that the rampant poverty that is plaguing the country is felt most acutely in the Muslim north and is fuelling the religious violence now tearing at the nation.