Minister Preaches National Unity as Govt. College, Keffi, Turns 70
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has
described the Government College, Keffi, as a great model for the
unity of Nigeria as envisaged by the nation’s founding fathers.
The Minister stated this at the 70th Anniversary of the College in
Keffi, Nasarawa State, on Saturday, noting that if Nigerians would
allow themselves to be guided by the Keffi Model, the present
atmosphere of disunity at all levels – religious, ethnic, regional,
etc – will disappear and peace will return to the nation.
“In our time, only the very best from the 13 Provinces in the North
made it to Government College, Keffi. Religion, ethnicity, social
status….did not matter. Your academic prowess was your ticket to the
school. The school was also a leveler. The children of peasants mixed
freely with the children of the rich and the well connected.
“Remember the North is very diversified. You have the Hausa, Fulani,
Jukun, Bachama, Tiv, Ogori, even Yoruba, etc. That meant that for the
students of Government College, Keffi, of our time, it was a ‘rainbow
coalition’ of sorts. We had students from all the 13 Provinces plus
more. For example, an Igbo boy living in any of the 13 provinces was
free to write the entrance exam into Keffi and, if successful, was
admitted,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed said even though the Keffi Emirate, where the school
is situated, is Muslim, Christians attended the school without
“In fact, one of the most important days for us as students was ‘Ash
Wednesday’, because on that day we had fish on the menu. Some
Christian students also fasted along with those of us who are Muslims
during the Ramadan, especially because Muslim students got a richer
menu as an incentive throughout the fasting period, in addition to eating
‘sari’,” he said.
While imploring Nigerians to emulate and revive the ‘Keffi spirit’,
the Minister urged the people to de-emphasize ethnicity, religion and
social status and co-exist as Nigerians.
He expressed the belief that if Nigerians do that, the nation would
have succeeded in reducing to the barest minimum the areas of friction
and today’s atmosphere of ethnic and religious suspicion, disunity,
etc, will cease to exist.
“Boko Haram insurgents will no longer be able to use religion as a
source of division. Unscrupulous politicians will no longer be able to
divide us using ethnicity,” Alhaji Mohammed said.
The dignitaries who graced the occasion include the Governor of
Nasarawa State, Alhaji Abdullahi Sule; the Emir of Keffi, Alhaji Shehu
Chindo Yamusa; the former Registrar of JAMB, Prof. Bello Salim and
retired Supreme Court Justice James Ogebe