Governor of Kano State Umar Ganduje has warned that the current spate of secessionist agitations across Nigeria can never be the way out of the challenges afflicting the country.
The governor spoke at the second quarterly public lecture series organised by the All Progressives Congress (APC) Press Corps, held in Abuja.
He appealed to advocates of secession to have a change of heart and embrace dialogue as a crucial option for addressing their problems.
‘Let me repeat here that Nigeria is a united and indivisible country. Our constitution has taken care of that. I don’t see secession as the way out of the current challenges afflicting the nation. Instead, advocates of secession should have a change of heart and I recommend dialogue as a crucial option for addressing their problems,’ the governor stated.
‘Besides, there is a National Assembly where some of the grievances can be addressed. Because dialogue is a far better alternative that costs less than the consequences of the wedge that has been erected to frustrate more flow of conversations between the government and citizens to arrive at a national consensus.
‘And the sooner we face issues such as the huge infrastructure deficit, our shrinking oil revenue, looming food insecurity as a consequence of insecurity in our agriculture zones, the better.
‘Seriously, we need to focus on diversification of the economy, out-of-school children shame, rebuilding of our tertiary institutions to boost knowledge development for 21st-century challenges and other sustainable goals for this great country – instead of applying energies on self-determination agitation that will only diminish us as a people,’ he said.
The Kano governor also appealed that ‘in the main, those who manage public information for our great party should note all these points as we interact to reposition our party for future challenges because information is power to the people who should be well informed to be able to make remarkable decisions and choices. Yes, information is power to the people!
‘It is very important at this time that we should use the media for the promotion of peace and stability and change the viewpoints that could alter public views and sentiment toward a more peaceful resolution of our multi-faceted current crises.
‘I have a feeling that the crossing of redlines by some media organisations in recent times has impacted negatively on the nation’s unity, harmony and integration. The media should not be used to promote fake news and hate speeches.
‘And in the cause of its duty, the media should ensure strict observance of the ethics of the profession. And in the event of deviation, the full weight of the law should be brought to bear on any erring working journalist.
‘There is also the need for effective regulation of the media, not censorship. Let me emphasise here that I do not mean the media should be gagged. More so, the Nigerian press is one of the freest in the global context.
‘The Nigeria Press Council, the Nigeria Union of Journalists, the Nigeria Guild of Editors and other professional bodies should ensure that the media plays its expected role by promoting integration not disintegration.
‘So, Nigeria will remain united. Let’s not entertain any fear. We have become too fused to be divided. Where do you want Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man whose net worth is more than $15.9 billion with his business headquarters in Lagos to go? He is more of a Lagos person than Kano.
‘What of his brother of the BUA Group, Abdussamad Isyaka Rabiu who owns a Nigerian conglomerate active in cement production too? He too is entrenched in the South. Do we see them in Kano as much as we see them in Lagos and the South?
‘Would anyone remember that there is one Joe Igbokwe, who was a great letter writer to the Editors in Nigeria – from his Surulere, Lagos office on June 12 crisis in 1993? He hails from Nnewi in Anambra State. Is he not a big politician and a big public officer in the APC government in Lagos at the moment? Was it not from Lagos where he serves as a Commissioner in charge of Economic Planning and Budget that Pastor Ben Akabueze was nominated by the Lagos political leaders to serve the nation as Director General, Budget Office, Abuja?
‘He wasn’t nominated by political leaders in Anambra, his home state too. In Kano, Kaduna, etc there are more examples of our fusion that can’t be broken anymore.
‘Similarly, what do we do with the likes of Rochas Okorocha, former Imo State governor and now Senator representing Imo West Senatorial District in the South East. His investments are in Northern Nigeria and other parts of the country, providing free education for many years now. So also the Sarki (Oba) Yoruba in Kano, Engr. Murtala Alimi Otisese, a business magnet, an entrepreneur and a philanthropist. He is from Ibadan in the South West but with flourishing business in the North.
“Sustaining this unity is possible and it is a reality! We may be historically different in our religion, beliefs and customs, our unity may have been a British invention, but if we are willing and ready to shun bitterness, hatred, suspicion and imbibe equity, fairness, brotherly love and tolerance, we will succeed.
‘We are too fused, in fact too entropic together to be divided at this time. Let’s repair our broken walls instead and move on! Let’s debate restructuring, not secession or self-determination. It is too late in the day. Let the labour of our heroes past not be in vain! Let’s hail, not hate Nigeria at this time,’ he insisted.
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