Former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Dr Christopher Kolade and a former Super Permanent Secretary Chief Philip Asiodu on Wednesday called on Nigerians to place national interests above personal considerations.
They spoke under the aegies of burdened elders, a group of concerned elder statesmen committed to good governance and prosperous nation, during a parley with reporters in Lagos.
Other members of the elders group include Prof Anya Anya, Elder Syngle Wiwge, Barrister Folake Solanke, Prof Akin Mabogunje and others.
They said Nigeria will work again when Nigerians begin to pursue collective interests capable of meeting individual yearnings.
Kolade pointed out Nigeria has been held down by years of pursuing individual and sectional interests at the expense of national goals.
According to him: “This country will work when we stop looking at how to get personal gains at the expense of national interests. We have to stop considering how to get the best benefits for my family, group and sections.
“When Nigeria’s interests are pursued, we can make rooms for all groups and sections to be at their best.
“We must stop playing on our differences and work towards common goals and grounds.
“That is when we can be sure this country with the best human and natural resources can become one of the most advanced in the world.”
Asiodu called for conception and implementation of national development plans without deviation by successive governments.
He lamented national progress has been stunted by distorted plans of successive governments as against sticking to holistic implementation regardless of change in government.
He said: “We have to stick to whatever long and short plans we come up. It doesn’t matter what party wins or comes to power.
“These plans must be sacrosanct. We can make adjustments after clearing with the masses. But we must plan well before no nation develops without planning.”
Wigwe said the elders are committed to working for a new Nigeria until their last breath.
“We need to retake Nigeria. We should operate with systems instead of running personal plans and visions,’’ he stressed.
Anya said the elders have an obligation to redirect nation “before we meet our makers for the sake of unborn generations and accountability before Him.”
He called on Nigerians to jettison tribal and sectional causes to make the nation work.