By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South, Dayo Johnson, Rotimi Ojomoyela, Deola Badru,
PAN Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, Afenifere and Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), weekend, took up Vice President Yemi Osinbajo over his claim that nothing, including ethnicity, religion and class, could separate the country.
Osinbajo had been quoted at the wedding ceremony of Fatima, daughter of the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, held in Bauchi State, as saying, “This is one occasion where you will find that our country is truly a united country and that nothing can separate this country, not ethnicity or religion or class.
“There is nothing that can separate this country. In fact, this is excellent evidence of the fact that this country is united”.
PANDEF, speaking through the National Publicity Secretary, Hon. Ken Robinson, said, “Certainly, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was merely trying to delight his hosts and the audience at the wedding ceremony in Bauchi.
“He probably was attempting to be politically correct and that could be the only rational portrayal of his statement because Osinbajo knows that Nigeria can indeed disintegrate.
“Beyond ethnicity and religion, several other issues could cause the break-up of Nigeria and indeed any other country.
“And nobody should be under any illusion that the unity of this country can be sustained if those saddled with running the affairs of the country perpetuate the kind of discriminatory biases, nepotism, bad public policies, political exploitation and the awful disservices to citizens being witnessed.
“Political leaders, today, like never before, are sowing the seeds of disintegration and separation. A situation where a section of the country is preferred over others, without even chances for citizens to participate in political and economic opportunities in the country, is incongruous and conflicting.
“The level of disaffection in the country is alarming, a good majority of citizens feel alienated and are disenchanted. “What is going in the country indicates that this country only belongs to all Nigerians superficially, while, in the actual sense, the country belongs to only a few.
“Otherwise, how would anyone fathom the thought that after eight years of a northern presidency, under President Muhammadu Buhari, another northerner should be talking about emerging as President of Nigeria in 2023?
“Let us learn from history, many countries in the world have disintegrated or broken up due to one reason or the other.
“Ours will not be first or the last. Let us restructure Nigeria to attain a truly federal and egalitarian country; it’s the only possibility”.
Afenifere, on its part, described the Osinbajo statement as an aspiration.
Abagun Kole Omololu, National Organising Secretary of the Yoruba influential group, said the statement was not necessarily a reflection of where we are.
“But, as with all aspirations, we must work to accomplish it. Otherwise, we may fall short”, Omololu said.
“The APC government, led by Gen. Buhari, has, through its actions and policies, divided Nigeria in such a way that only a visionary next President can unite us.
“He must do away with the fake military imposed unitary constitution masquerading as the federal constitution.
“Our founding fathers agreed on the basis of how to be called a Nigerian, but the military junta came and threw away the agreement without our consent.
“To achieve this aspiration, Osinbajo, as a person, must stand on the side of the truth.
“Arrogance of power has destroyed Nigeria. Naked stealing, corruption of unimaginable proportion, gross incompetence in the management of the national affairs, ungoverned territory, crime and insecurity, breakdown of law and order and unhappy and disillusioned citizens, especially the youths, have further disunited us”.
Also reacting, Secretary-General of YCE, Dr Kunle Olajide, observed that good governance and people-centred governance are the only things that can perpetually preserve the unity of the country.
Olajide noted that if anybody is interested in the unity of the country, such a person must be ready to govern with fairness and equity.
He said: “Such person must do justice to the distribution of natural resources of the country. And no group must consider itself superior to others.
“Good governance, people-centred governance is the only thing that can perpetually preserve the unity of the country.”
In his contribution, National President, Agbajowo Advocacy for Yoruba People’s Right (AAYPR), Otunba Muyideen Olamoyegun, commended Osinbajo for defending the country’s unity.
Olamoyegun explained that the Buhari administration has tried to ensure that the country remained one in terms of religion and ethnicity.
Speaking in the same vein, a member of Ekiti State Council of Elders, Chief Fredrick Ajayi, explained that Nigeria will never separate or divide on the basis of religion.