Secession: Address agitations in your states, Acting President tells governors

Secession: Address agitations in your states, Acting President tells governors
June 21 20:40 2017

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday called on governors of the 36 states of the federation to address the persistent agitations for secession and threats to the livelihood of some ethnic groups in their respective states.

Speaking at the opening session of a consultative meeting with the governors  on the secession by Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the notice by some youth for Igbo to vacate the north, Osinbajo said there’s the need for the governors to speak more forcefully to counter divisive speeches and war mongering in their states.

The Acting President also called on the governors and other leaders in the country to resist the temptation to play politics with matters of security and to avoid adopting simplistic narratives that might be expedient and satisfying.

Osinbajo said. “We must not allow the careless use of words, careless expressions that may degenerate into crisis. We are a people that like to talk and we express ourselves loudly but it is expected for us to recognise that it is those same words that can cause conflagration, that can unfortunately lead to calamity.

“We must be careful of how we express ourselves. What we have seen in recent times is that some of the languages used have tended to degenerate badly and I think that we must begin to speak up against some these things and ensure that we protect our democracy and our nation from the hands of rhetorics that may just divide us.

“From all of the consultations, we have had all agreed on certain issues. We agreed that Nigeria’s unity should not be taken for granted, no one wants to see us go done the path of bloodshed or war.

“We also agreed on the permanency of the Nigerian constitution, that 1999 constitution is the basis for our unity. It is the basis for the legal contract that exists between all of us. Our meetings were frank and open as I hope this will be, we were able to agree on most of the critical issues that were discussed and in most cases changed perceptions that may have been long embedded in their minds.

“We also agreed that under no circumstances should we condone hateful speeches and that government should take all steps necessary to bring to book all those who preach violence, in particular the kind of expressions of dissent that can cause violence.

“We also agreed that we need to do more to engage our youth productively, create some jobs, multiply the economic opportunities available. More importantly, we agreed on the need for leaders to speak out forcefully to counter divisive speech or any kind of war mongering.”

The Acting President said leaders from the North and the South-east that attended the consultative meetings were unanimous that even though some of these agitations are fair, there was the need for the government to draw a line between orderliness and disorderliness and bring down dissenting voices and hate speeches that could degenerate to crises.

“We agreed that leaders at all levels speak out forcefully against any kind of divisiveness or divisive speech. And we expect that our political leaders will do so without waiting to be prompted. All of those who spoke, felt that sometimes when leaders do not speak up promptly it always results in degeneration no matter what the problem may be.

“This applied to both the statement made by the young people in the South East as well as the youth in the Northern states. We discovered there was a need for much greater resonance in the way that these things are done and for the leaders to speak up more forcefully. We believe that if the leaders do not speak up forcefully enough if for any reason matters are allowed to degenerate, not only does leadership loose their legitimacy, they run the risk of things going completely out control,” he said.