By Ibrahim Wuyo
Chairman of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Audu Ogbe has said that at no time in our nation’s chequered history since the civil war has we been in greater need of cherished ideals such as integration, confidence-building and cohesion measures, than now.
A statement issued to Journalists on Thursday by the ACF National Publicity Secretary, Emmanuel Yawe, indicated that Audu Ogbe made the remarks at a meeting with Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and other leaders, recently.
Chief Audu Ogbe, at the meeting, explained that at no time has the realisation of these cherished ideals he mentioned, become more challenging and almost unattainable.
According to the ACF chairman, “vicious criminality has sown fear in all. Economic challenges exacerbate pain in our daily lives and mistrust continues to aggravate division everywhere. “
“So who will listen to whom? But do we surrender to despair, yield to anarchy and chaos? No, we cannot. “
“That would be defeatism in the extreme. Integration? At this time when the trumpets of disintegration are blaring so loud from so many quarters? Confidence building in the midst of near-panic? Cohesion measures when the glue of unity seems so dry and weak? “
“Besides the tension and apprehension engendered by the endless devaluation of our currency with the attendant inflationary pressure on society make life too rough for society to listen to sermons on nationalism and patriotism. But we must try because the alternative is unthinkable. “
“Luckily too, there is still a vast abundance of goodwill and resolve by Nigerians to stay together and overcome our challenges. Perhaps it is time for the executive arm from federal to state levels to request our elected representatives to embark on a fresh mission to the people in which a fresh message of integration shall be delivered, while the challenges confronting governments can be brought to their knowledge. “
“Regional groups, socio-cultural associations, religious and other community leaders can and should equally be fully briefed and mobilised to lend support to this effort. We are a religious people, very religious indeed, but not particularly godly in view of our weaknesses in public and private pursuits, but God is good and will not ignore our prayers and abandon us in our hour of need.”
“I may add that nothing will better create confidence than the immediate set-up through appropriate mechanisms of special courts to try those caught in transgressions, such as kidnapping, murder, rape, arson, trafficking in human parts and possession and marketing of dangerous weapons. “
“Let the public hear that government is proactive. Let the guilty be penalised and the innocent set free as dictated by the principles of the rule of law.”
” For the current circumstance where there is total silence on the judicial front, there is too much room for speculation, mischief, outright lies that those arrested are being let off through the back door on ethnic and religious grounds. We wish to say that among the multiplicity of challenges confronting us, one very tough one is the economy. There is no doubt that this administration has invested heavily in infrastructure and we commend them heartily. A strong infrastructural outlay is the only guarantee for solid and lasting economic growth. “
“However, the continuous devaluation of our currency is fueling inflation and creating unbearable stress for the citizenry. Interest rates are still too stiff for productive investments and job creation. “
“Industrialisation is stil near impossible. The Central Bank is making great efforts but more needs to be done to bring relief to the unemployed and near-hopeless youths in our society. They are our sons and daughters. Fina ly, we must continue to have faith in God. he did not bring this huge edifice caled Nigeria together only to let it go to waste. By His Grace and Love, we shal overcome,” he said.