Governor Okowa, who was the keynote speaker, expressed worry over the state of the country, noting that Nigeria was passing through perilous times.
He said: “Nigeria has never been this divided or witnessed such magnitude of mistrust of ourselves and our nation.
“Nigeria is better and stronger together, and with appropriate, visionary leadership and good governance, we can turn our diversity into a great source of strength and a springboard to build a strong multi-ethnic and multi-religious country that will be the envy of other nations.
“As 2023 approaches, leadership is key and the focus should be on electing a pan Nigerian as President; a person with the capacity and charisma to cast a vision for Nigeria and rally all Nigerians behind it.
“We need a selfless, sacrificial, sincere, broadminded, caring and capable President that will inspire hope and confidence in the country.”
He also lamented that the unending crises in the country and labour agitations further placed a wedge between the citizenry and the leadership.”
According to him, other challenges such as cybercrime, human trafficking and others derived from a general discontent with the leadership and the deplorable state of the country.
He said: “There was a time we happily sang ‘Though tribe and tongue may differ/In brotherhood we stand’. But was that reality or an aspiration?
“On the first thought, it would seem like a reality. For, at one time, Nigerians lived freely and effectuated themselves among ethnic groups other than theirs.
“Our history shows that about that same time and beyond, Nigeria generally battled with the issues of mutual distrust, suspicion, prejudice, with the various ethnic nationalities locked in battles for supremacy or minority rights.
“The early attempts to break up Nigeria derived from the above issues.”