…Seek national consultations
From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja and Tunde Omolehin, Sokoto
Governors elected on the ticket of the All ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) have blamed the spate of agitations by various ethnic nationalities on weak governance.
To stem the tide of ethnic tensions, the governors under the aegis of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) called for structured processes of national consultations and negotiations.
In a statement signed by the Forum’s Director General, Salihu Lukman yesterday in Abuja, the governors urged all Nigerians, especially regional leaders to speak up against the upsurge of elements they described as irredentist movements.
Barely 24 hours earlier, governors of the 36 states had after a meeting convened by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, as part of ongoing consultations to resolve ethnic tensions in parts of the country, declared that Nigeria’s unity was sacrosanct, noting that Nigerians had more to gain being together.
The acting president had also challenged the governors, to speak more forcefully to counter divisive speech or any kind of war mongering. He said failure to do so could be disastrous.
“If the leaders do not speak up forcefully enough, if for any reason matters are allowed to degenerate, not only does leadership lose their legitimacy, they run the risk of things going completely out control,” he said
In view of the admonition, the APC governors pledged to work with party leaders, Federal Government and all Nigerians who are committed to democratic development to ensure the unencumbered protection of lives of all citizens in every part of the nation.
They insisted that regardless of diverse identities and differences, the country must thrive.
“Acknowledging the richly diverse heritage of Nigeria as a country, the PGF particularly note that the resurgence of desperate youth groups promoting ethno-regional identities and extremist positions from the different geo-political zones across the nation as currently experienced is a reflection of prevalent weak governance, poor economy and law enforcement system in Nigeria.
“PGF, therefore, called for the rise of all decent voices across this country to speak up against the upsurge of some desperate irredentist movements across all ethnic groups and support the emergence of a stronger and virile unified Nigeria for us all. The Forum insisted that, regardless of the nation’s diverse identities and differences, Nigeria has to thrive.
“While acknowledging that as a nation, we do have challenges, PGF believes that the resolution of those challenges rests with the development of our democracy and with it, the ascendency of structured processes of national consultations, negotiations and invariably agreements.
“Some of the challenges are highlighted in the accompanying PGF position – ‘There has to be a nation first.’ As governors elected under APC, we will work with our party leaders, the Federal Government and all Nigerians who are committed to democratic development in all parts of the country to ensure the unencumbered protection of lives of all citizens in every part of the territorial boundary of our nation,” the forum noted.
The PGF said the challenge before Nigerians were to commit to the unity of the country.
“We must create, by all means necessary, a country that we can collectively call our home, irrespective of tongues and localities.
“This is a vision the APC as a party, is committed to and for which the PGF is unapologetically and intrinsically loyal to. These threats to national unity must cease totally and be put away into history,” the Forum declared.
Meanwhile, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar has said intensive dialogue remained the only plausible panacea to Nigeria’s multiple challenges.
Abubakar who spoke when he hosted some religious groups, residential communities and members of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), to a Ramadan dinner, maintained that there was no problem in the world that dialogue cannot solve.
“We should sit down, discuss issues and problems, as well as see where we have gone wrong and what went wrong. We should see where we have derailed and retrace our steps, then move forward as a single, indivisible country.
“There is no problem without a solution and there is no padlock made without keys to open it. It remains for us to see how to open it,” he said.
Abubakar lamented the low level of patriotism in the country and admonished Nigerians to develop their country as nobody would do it for them.
The monarch also said Nigerians were eager to live in peace and unity with one another, irrespective of any religious, political and ethnic colouration. (The Sun)