Lagos — Former Sri Lanka President Chandrika Kumaratunga is expected to speak on Nigeria’s ethnicity and the need for integration at a national summit slated for November 29 in Lagos.
Michael Anyiam-Osigwe, Coordinator-General of the Osigwe-Anyiam Foundation which is organizing the summit, said the choice of Kumaratunga was not based on gender sensitivity but due to her experience as a former president who was able to forge unity among different ethnic groups in Sri Lanka.
At a pre-summit briefing held in Lagos yesterday, Anyiam-Osigwe said Nigeria has reached a stage where she can tap into the experiences of other countries that share similar features with her.
She said the experience of Kumaratunga matters a lot in this regard as she was able to establish a ministry of ethnic affairs during her reign in Sri Lanka, an effort that helped to douse constant ethnic bickering.
“Sri Lanka shares similar features with Nigeria in terms of ethnic diversities. So we really want to tap into her experience and see how we can adopt the same strategy she used to organize her country”.
Anyiam-Osigwe said. She said it is unfortunate that most of the solutions devised to douse tension in Nigeria including the federal character policy have failed but suggested that the country can also create a ministry of ethnic policies like in Sri Lanka.
“If the federal character policy in Nigeria has been able to douse the tension which is currently manifesting in our polity today, then we wouldn’t be where we are as a nation.
If it has been working, we will still not be talking of our country, 52 years after independence in terms of Afenifere, Arewa, Ohaneze and all of that. I think there won’t be any problem if Nigeria also has an ethnic affairs ministry.” Anyiam-Osigwe said.