*Vows To Preserve Nigeria’s Oneness, Hosts Govs Today
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, will on Wednesday afternoon play host to governors from Nigeria’s 36 states.
The parley is not for the regular National Economic Council (NEC) meeting, it is as part of the ongoing consultations with stakeholders over recent ethnic agitations and exchanges between some groups in the South-East and the North.
Osinbajo on Tuesday afternoon met with traditional rulers from the North at the Presidential Villa, where he affirmed the readiness of the Federal Government to protect the territorial integrity and unity of the country.
He observed that traditional rulers in the country, as custodians of our cultures and traditions, and living embodiments of our rich heritage, play critical roles in the affairs of the nation, reassuring the gathering that the Federal Government is “not deaf to the legitimate concerns and frustrations arising from around the country.
According to the speech released by Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant on Media & Publicity to the President, Office of the Acting President, “every part of Nigeria has its own grievances. But these have to be expressed graciously and managed with mutuality rather than with scorn and disdain.
“You are, by virtue of your vast knowledge, wisdom and experience, both a vital link with our past, and an important guarantee for the success of our future. This is why your role in national affairs is critical.”
Osinbajo noted the ‘the so-called “ultimatum’ issued by a group of Northern youths, asking that all Igbos living in the North vacate the region” and the clamour for succession from Nigeria by some South Eastern youths.
It is heartwarming, he told the gathering, that there is a consensus among groups he had met so far, “that Nigeria is stronger and better together, and that these hate-filled and divisive rhetoric and agitations are unjustifiable, unacceptable and often times illegal. And I would like to reiterate that today.
“Nigeria has seen enough violence and bloodshed in its history, the price of our unity has already been paid in the blood and lives of hundreds of thousands of soldiers and civilians.”
The acting President urged the traditional rulers to continue counseling the misguided elements among their youth, “who think that ethnic confrontation is a game and that words can be thrown around carelessly without repercussion.
“Having said this, let me say that we are not deaf to the legitimate concerns and frustrations arising from around the country. Every part of Nigeria has its own grievances. But these have to be expressed graciously and managed with mutuality rather than with scorn and disdain.
“I would like to assure you all that we are here to listen and to answer, and, very importantly, to reassure everyone that we are committed to the unity of Nigeria, and that upon the foundation of that unity we can together build a prosperous and great country.
“We must never take our diversity for granted; the fullness of our strength actually lies in that diversity. And we must wield that diversity, not as divisive tool, but instead as a binding agent.”
He assured that the Federal Government “will ensure that the entire apparatus of government is deployed to ensure that no one threatens Nigeria’s territorial integrity, that no one threatens the lives or livelihoods of any Nigerian living anywhere in the Federation.
“Our objective is to provide the environment for a prosperous nation, a nation where all regardless of ethnicity or religion can pursue their legitimate aspirations peacefully and securely,” he added.