President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated the leader of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Gani Adams, on his investiture as the 15th Aare Ona Kakanfo asking him to use the position for national unity.
Buhari in his congratulatory message on Friday said Chief Adams should use the new position to pursue worthy goals of security, peace and national unity.
The president’s congratulatory message was made available to journalists in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.
“The President commends the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi 111, on the appointment of a new Aare Ona Kakanfo, who will assist him in the arduous task of leading the illustrious Yoruba people.
“President Buhari urges the new Kakanfo to bring quintessential courage, wisdom and astuteness to bear on his new office, for a more secure life for the weak, vulnerable and voiceless in the country,” the statement read in part.
Buhari, therefore, prayed God will grant the Aare Ona Kakanfo a favourable reign.
Leadership that is selfless and committed to improved living conditions for workers may be what is needed for Nigerian to live in peace and harmony.
The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr Ayuba Waba, said this at a workshop in Abuja organised as part of activities to mark Nigeria’s 57th Independence Anniversary.
At the event, Mr Waba attributed recent agitations for self-determination to corruption and selfishness of some political leaders.
He said, “In almost six decades of national independence, we are not where we ought to be as a country. As we celebrate 57 years of Political Independence, those qualities of selfless service are very much needed in today’s contemporary Nigeria.
“As Nigerians, we must continue to have confidence in ourselves. As citizens, build bridges of peace and unity instead of indulging in hatred and constant promotion of separatism agitation.”
While criticising those who promote separatists agitations, the labour leader, alongside other speakers asked the government to address the cause of those agitations.
Author, poet and activist, Mr Odia Ofeimun, has blamed the call for restructuring by some group leaders on absence of structured governance and lack of adequate effort to plan and negotiate the future of the nation.
Ofeimun, who is also the former private secretary to the former nationalist, Late Obafemi Awolowo, speaking on Sunday, at the Programme, Politics Today on Channels Television said, it is possible to maintain unity in Nigeria, if proper effort is put in place by leaders of the nation.
“It is possible to control the Nigerian situation. A country, without the structure to take proper decisions cannot plan. When they can’t plan, it means the daily run of events push them like the wind blowing paper. It is as if that kind of situation puts all of us in auto-pilot. Things are happening, but you cannot specifically pinpoint who is in control.”
Against the statement by President Muhammadu Buhari during his speech after return from medical vacation, where he noted that Nigeria’s unity is settled and not negotiable, Ofeimun said every country is a daily negotiation and that there is no particular period in the life of a country which is not negotiable.
“Nigeria is an eminently savable country that nobody has made a proper effort to save. We have refused to concentrate on production, that is at the heart of the matter, almost everybody is interested on how to share what has not been produced. Every country in the world is a daily negotiation. There is no particular period in the life of a country which is not a negotiation. Every nation therefore is negotiable.”
Ofeimun expressed believe that Nigeria is at a current state when the call for restructuring is coming from some group leaders because there is no proper planning put in place to prevent breakaway.
He blamed this on Presidents from major political parties, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC), that have ruled the country in recent years on ruling the nation without serious planning.
“We elect governments without a programme of action. The strategies for ensuring that a policy is implemented are never made known to either members of the political parties or to the general populace.
“In my view, under the APC, we have a different kind of situation where it is the President that has abandoned his party. In both cases (PDP and APC) we had Presidents governing without serious political parties.”
Going down the history lane of how Nigeria was founded by the British. He said many Nigerians believed that this arrangement is lopsided hence the displeasure by some regions and the call for breakaway.
“Whenever you asked, from 1914 till present, what kind of a country you have. You will hear people saying it is a lopsided arrangement. That lopsided arrangement turns out not to have helped the North, which it was supposed to have favoured and it has not properly helped other parts of the country.
“If you have a lopsided system created by a foreign colonizer. We on our own, ought to sit down and plan how not to let our country serve a foreign system.”
Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has earlier called on Nigerians to channel their energy and resources towards making the nation a great country as destined by God. He said we must focus our time, our energies, our resources, on being that great nation that God has called us to be.
Former Military Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (retd), has expressed optimism that Nigeria will remain one indivisible nation despite its diversity.
The former president made the declaration at the 50th-anniversary celebration of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Ibadan.
Gen. Gowon expressed confidence that the present generation would do all within its power to restore glory and dignity to the country.
He dismissed the calls for cessation by some groups in the country as mere agitations that cannot stand. He added that the strength of the Nigerian nation lies in its diversity and called on the youth not to allow themselves to be used as willing tools of discord.
He said, “I have such confidence in Nigeria and I have such confidence in the youths of this country that they will make sure that they take over and do better than what we left for them.
“I have no fear about all these rantings, etcetera. I have confidence in all of you that you will make sure that you keep this country going and even make it greater. Our diversity is our greatest source of unity and strength.”
Some elder statesmen from the southern part of the country have backed calls for the restructuring of the country and called on Nigerians to unite and find new ways to overcome the challenges bedevilling the nation.
The elders, who are not new to the challenges of keeping Nigeria together, having witnessed critical stages of Nigeria’s development including the civil war, made the call on Tuesday when they met in Lagos to discuss recent political developments in the country.
Despite the recent tensions in the country as a result of agitations by some ethnic groups which are threatening the unity of the country, the elders insisted that the country must remain united and every citizen must feel free to live anywhere within Nigeria.
The elders include a former United Kingdom High Commissioner, Christopher Kolade; former governor of Old Anambra State, Chukwuemeka Ezeife; and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Major General Ike Nwachukwu (retd).
“Staying together, working together, building this nation together is the only viable way to go,” Dr Kolade said.
“Now, when you have elders in any society, who have seen many things, who have experienced many things, one of the benefits that the nation has is that these elders can take the years and experiences they have and say ‘If we want to continue to have a peaceful, productive country, then these are the things we should do, these are the things we should avoid.”
At the meeting, the elders, however, backed calls for the restructuring of the nation, saying the time has come for Nigeria to explore new ways of building a new country where justice and fairness are prioritised.
They also expressed the belief that the recent calls for restructuring by former military Head of State General Ibrahim Babangida (retd) and former Vice President Mr Atiku Abubakar, who are both from the North, is an assurance that the same issue which elders from the South South, South West and South East also support can now be deliberated upon and a final decision taken.
“I want to publicly thank my younger brothers – Atiku Abubakar, former vice president of this country, and General Ibrahim Babangida, former military president of this country – for lending their voices and their great stature in Nigeria affairs to the demand of the Nigerian people for a restructured country,” Professor Anya Oko Anya.
“And because such heavy northern and Nigerian voices have added to it, we can be sure that half the battle is fought and that, sooner or later, the dreams of our people, particularly of our young people, will be met.”
After the meeting, some of the elders spoke about the indivisibility of Nigeria.
“God created Nigeria for a purpose. That purpose is for Nigeria to become the rallying point and big brother for all black people,” Ezeife said.
On his part, Ayo Adebanjo stressed that the keeping the country united was not a day’s job, stressing that there are bound to be misunderstandings along the way.
He said, “The process of bringing this country together is a long process; many will understand, many will misunderstand. Like the statement (about Nigeria’s unity) we are attributing to Chief (Obafemi) Awolowo; a lot of people misunderstood Chief Awolowo, a lot of people understood him. It is our duty to educate those who don’t understand him to understand that we are one.”
For Major General Nwachukwu, those causing regional tensions and violence in the country were misguided.
“Our country has been built by all Nigerians living wherever they felt happy to live in and work from. And anyone beginning to suggest that we should go back to 1966 must be totally out of their minds,” he said.
In the last two years, youths of different origins have advocated for a country where justice and equal rights prevail for all citizens irrespective of region, a country where everyone one has the opportunity to rise to any level in the practice of their chosen profession without ethnic barriers.
This is exactly what the elder statesmen hope to achieve.
Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has advised state governors to resist the temptation of playing politics with matters of security as the Federal Government pledges greater commitment to work with states to ensure peace and stability.
Speaking to governors at the fifth consultative meeting on the expressions of discontent by northern youths at the state house, Professor Osinbajo appealed to the governors to speak out forcefully against it or risk a degeneration of the situation.
The consultations follow the recent quit notice given to Igbos in the North by Arewa youths, in reaction to the continued agitation for secession by groups in the South East.
Professor Osinbajo also emphasised the need to address the herdsmen and farmers crisis in states, describing the problems as multi-dimensional and requiring urgent attention by state governors to resolve the disputes.
Some of the governors present included Kassim Shettima of Borno State, Simon Dalong of Plateau State and Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State.
The acting president had on Tuesday met with traditional rulers, asking them to advise misguided youths in their domains against divisive actions.
The Imo state Governor Rochas Okorocha has asked all Nigerians irrespective of ethnicity to do everything possible to protect the unity and integrity of the nation.
The Governor gave the charge at the Government House in Owerri, the Imo State capital, while meeting with the Hausa and Muslim community.
The Governor said every Nigerian must respect each other’s religion and ethnicity no matter what and citizens should learn to love one another because according to him, Nigeria is for everybody and for no one.
He also urged all Igbos in the North to remain there and do their legitimate business even as all Northerners in the South east should remain in the east and do their businesses without fear of any attacks.
The governor who joined the Muslims during their break of fast said, that was the best way to dramatize the unity of the nation. “I believe everyone must respect each other’s religion no matter what and we should learn to love one another.
“Nigeria is ours and ours alone and we must protect the unity and integrity of the nation, there’s no point asking people to go back to their home, which home? Nigeria is our home, therefore I have reassured the Muslims here that they will enjoy peaceful stay in this state and let none of them think about going back home because this is home, and that’s how it should be nationwide.
“So I ask Igbos to stay wherever they are and do their business legitimately and respect the law of the land. The problem we have in Nigeria is lack of interaction – We don’t interact enough, allow people to mix up” the Governor stressed.
As the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, continues his consultations with leaders of different ethnic, religious and interest groups on the nation’s unity in Abuja, some leaders of the Southern states are also meeting in Lagos.
The meeting, which was held in one of the leaders’ residence in Lagos, had leaders from the South-East, South-South and South-West regions in attendance. The meeting, according to the organisers, is said to be on the recent tension in the country and the threat to national unity
The leaders say they are looking into the options on the table and strategising on the best moves in achieving peace, equity among the different ethnic nationalities within the country.
Among those at the meeting are Afenifere leaders such as General Alani Akinrinade (retd), Chief Ayo Adebanjo; and Senator Femi Okunrounmu. The President of Ohaneze, Chief John Nwodo, and others are from the South-South region, including one of the region’s vocal activist, Tony Uranta, were also present at the meeting.
An All Progressives Congress (APC) Chieftain in Ekiti State, Mr Victor Kolade says Nigerians deserve a pat on the back for their resilience, success, tenacity and perseverance despite the strains of nationhood.
Barr. Kolade said this in a statement released by his media office in Ado Ekiti.
He, however, identified nation-building as the greatest challenge facing the country, adding that Nigerians still needs to improve the way they relate with one another.
He noted that there is an urgent need for the people to begin to see themselves first as Nigerians, rather than one ethnic group or the other.
“When Nigerians come together and are in one accord, we will be able to be a formidable entity and a force to reckon with in Africa and beyond. The country would also be able to attain some degree of excellence and defend its territory against external aggression”.
He, therefore, called for the spirit of oneness in nation building, while urging the warring actors clamouring for the division of the nation to sheath their swords, stressing that the relationship between different ethnic groups in Nigeria transcends beyond self-secession.
The APC bigwig further stressed that the future of the country lies in its ability to achieve unity and peace while urging those in leadership positions to show good examples to their followers.
According to him, unity and peace would be much easier to attain if leaders at all levels allow justice and fair play to govern their actions.
Barr. Kolade who is an aspirant jostling for the Governorship seat in Ekiti State, in the 2018 gubernatorial election, urged indigenes to remain steadfast and pray for a better state.
He noted that his reign in the state would focus on reconstruction and rehabilitation of areas where the state is lagging behind in the committee of states across the country.