All Progressives Congress (APC) leaders in the South West, speaker, House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila and governors in the region yesterday converged on Lagos on the state of the nation. They urged those involved in separatist agitations in the region to desist from it
The leaders who backed the decisions reached by Southern Governors’ Forum in Asaba, Delta State, said there is urgent need for the federal government to take steps to overcome the challenges.
The Southwest leaders who attended the meeting included the national leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, governors of Lagos, Ogun and Osun States, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Dapo Abiodun and Adegboyega Oyetola respectively, former interim chairman of APC, Chief Bisi Akande , General Alani Akinrinade (rtd) , former governor of Ogun State, Aremo Segun Osoba, minister of industry,Trade and Investment Otunba Niyi Adebayo, Pius Akinyelure among others.
Reading the nine points communique at the end of the meeting, Akande who convened the meeting, said they were concerned about the state of the nation particularly the serious security challenges facing the country.
According to him, the meeting was characterised by open and frank discussions of the difficulties now facing Nigeria, adding that based upon the deliberations, the following agreement were reached:
‘’The leaders commiserate with and condole President Muhammadu Buhari, the military authorities, families of the late chief of army staff and other officers who died, and indeed the entire nation over last Friday’s tragic plane crash in Kaduna.
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‘’We express our strong opposition to separatist agitations and hate speeches.”
‘’We note with significant concern the security situation in the country. Terrorism and violent criminality threaten many areas, adversely affecting the lives and livelihoods of too many innocent and peace-loving Nigerians.
“While mindful of the resources and other constraints facing the nation, we urge the federal government to continue to make the necessary expenditures and allocate sufficient resources to enable the military and security agencies to tackle the difficult security challenges confronting us.”
‘’For Nigeria to overcome these challenges, we must do so with unity of purpose and action. The desire for peace and the chance for a prosperous and just society is universal and transcends all regional, religious or ethnic divisions. Sadly, many public figures have made statements that spark division and undermine the needed unity of purpose. We urge government at all levels, security agencies, and public leaders across the country to do everything possible to prevent tension so that we sustain the necessary unity to defeat these challenges to our national security. All responsible Nigerians must speak and act in a manner that strengthens our common cause against these common threats to our collective peace, justice and development.’’
In the communique they also restated their abhorrence of violence as a means to achieve either political or economic power and influence, saying,’’ We strongly condemn violence of any form in any part of the country, regardless of ethnic or regional identity of the perpetrators of the violence or of the victims. Government must do all it can to protect potential victims and to assist those who have previously been victimized by terrorism or widespread banditry.
‘’We hold to the view that true federalism where more power and resources are allocated to the states will be an essential part in strengthening society and improving democratic governance so that we beat the present challenges but also engender durable peace and security. True federalism and the reallocation of resources and authority that comes with it will empower the states to solve localized issues before they spread and transform into national ones. In addition to mitigating political competition for control of the national government, greater federalism will empower grassroots economic development and political reforms that will stand as bulwarks against the terrorism and criminality now experienced in too many parts of the nation. A hallmark of this enhanced federalism will be the establishment of state police forces.
‘’We endorse the position of the Southern Governors taken at their May 11, 2021 summit in Asaba, Delta State, regarding ranching. We do so because such a decision will lessen tensions between farmers and herders while also helping the long-term economic viability of both the farming and herding communities. We are mindful of the short-term dislocation this might cause but are also mindful that this position is in the best interests of all parties concerned. We, therefore, recommend that the federal and state governments cooperate fully with each other to enact the necessary measures to encourage this more effective and modern method of cattle-rearing so that both farmers and herders can pursue their livelihoods with greater productivity and in a more cooperative relationship that minimizes the friction between these two important pillars of our agricultural economy.’’
They commended the traditional rulers for their important role in the polity and appealed to them to keep intervening to maintain peace and stability.
The APC leaders also urged the Federal Government to provide, through the CBN, short, medium and long term financing for states and those who may wish to set up ranches as part of the agricultural sustainability policy.