BY CHARLES KUMOLU
LAGOS—EMINENT Yoruba leaders yesterday berated the Peoples Democratic Party,PDP, for linking the recent bomb blast in Abuja to the All Progressives Congress, APC, noting that issues of national security should not be trivialised on the alter of politics.
They also argued that had the leadership class in Nigeria, placed the people beyond personal interest like the late Premier of defunct Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the spate of terrorist activities in the northern part of the country would not have been prevalent.
This was disclosed in Lagos at a book launch convened by the Obafemi Awolowo Foundation in conjunction with Afenifere Renewal Group.
The book which was titled: Yoruba Elites and Ethnic Politics in Nigeria: Obafemi Awolowo and Corporate Agency was written by Prof Wale Adebanwi.
Those at the event include; Osun State governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Lagos State governor, Mr. Babtunde Fashola, who was represented by Rev Tunji Adebiyi, Ogun State governor, who was represented by the Secretary to the state government, Mr. Taiwo Adeoluwa Ekiti State governor Dr. Kayode Fayemi, represented by Commissioner for Regional Integration Mr. Funminiyi Afuye , former governors of Lagos and Ogun respectively, Chief Lateef Jakande,Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Chief Olusegun Osoba.
Others include; Prof Ibrahim Gambari, Chief Bisi Akande, chief Olaniwun Ajayi, Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Chief Wale Oshun, Chief Ayo Fasanmi, Chief Jimi Agbaja, among others.
Security now a political football—PDP
In his remarks Gambari, who chaired the forum, said: ‘’It would be absurd and they should stop the blame game. Whether it is APC or PPP, or whatever, the security of this nation is far too important to become a political football, one accusing the other. It should be stopped immediately because they are trivialising the lives of Nigerians who were cut short as a result of this mindless killings.
‘’We must in grappling with security situation in the country, sometimes we forget that we are part of the world. Sometimes we think we are so exceptional that it cannot happen here. We think that global terrorism manifesting elsewhere in Afghanistan, Iraq, cannot happen here. At the same time, we should be able to use exceptionalism to address the challenges of terrorism and the security situation in our country. The first starting point is that we should not say this thing is happening in the North East, so it is not our business. Well, terrorist groups do not discriminate in terms of regions and ethnicity. It is a challenge that we must all be concerned.’’
‘’I have done some preliminary research and found that if we put all our security forces together in this country, may be they are not more than 500, 000 in a country that has a population of 160 to 170 million. If we think that the security of our country is the business of the police and the Army, then we are making a big mistake. It has to be a business of all of us.’
Military solution alone not best approach —Tinubu
Similarly, Aregbesola, who presented the book on behalf of Tinubu said, ‘’I am not sure that the federal government is fighting security. I have serious doubts about that. Guns and military approach alone can not solve the problem of insecurity. Building a nation where the people must come first just like Awolowo did is a another approach to the issue. That was what Awolowo represented and that approach is possible. Awolowo said that freedom for all should be the cardinal objective of any state and government.’’
He further said, ‘’ let us remind ourselves that, despite all the constraints, Awolowo never abandoned the search for cross ethnic, pan-Nigerian alliance building to defeat the dominant forces which have made it difficult for Nigeria to live up to her potential. Chief Awolowo was a nationalist per excellence and sought a more perfect workable union for Nigeria.’’
PDP scribe should be condemned—Osoba
Also speaking Osoba said, ‘’the PPD is accusing my party of being behind the killings in Abuja. Those who died died are Nigerians. Can we be killing ourselves? I think we should condemn in certain terms the trivialising of the issue by the Publicity Secretary of the PDP.’’