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Osinbajo to Governors:”Speak Up against Agitators or…”
Prof. Osinbajo

Osinbajo to Governors:”Speak Up against Agitators or…”

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) has challenged the governors of the 36 states of the federation to speak out forcefully against disgruntled agitators in their respective states or lose their legitimacy.
Osinbajo said that the Federal Government expects political leaders in the country to be proactive, saying that such leaders should “do so without waiting to be prompted.” Osinbajo stated this on Wednesday during his meeting with 36 states governors at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. He said that from the consultations held with various leaders and monarchs, they all felt that when leaders do not speak out promptly, it always results in degeneration no matter what the problem may be. Osinbajo warned that under no circumstances should any government condone hateful speeches. He enjoined the governors to take all steps necessary to bring to book all those who preach violence, in particular the kind of expressions of dissent that can cause violence. The development, Osinbajo said, applied to both the statement made by the young people in the South East as well as the youth in the Northern states.
“We discovered there was a need for much greater resonance in the way that these things are done and for the leaders to speak up more forcefully. “We believe that if the leaders do not speak up forcefully enough, if for any reason matters are allowed to degenerate, not only does leadership lose their legitimacy, they run the risk of things going completely out control,” he said. Osinbajo said that from all the consultations, the leaders agreed that Nigeria’s unity should not be taken for granted and no one wants to see the country go down the path of bloodshed or war. He said that the leaders also agreed on the permanency of the Nigerian constitution, adding that “1999 Constitution (as amended) is the basis for our unity. It is the basis for the legal contract that exists between all of us.”
“More importantly, we agreed on the need for leaders to speak out forcefully to counter divisive speech or any kind of war mongering. We agreed that leaders at all levels speak out forcefully against any kind of divisiveness or divisive speech. And we expect that our political leaders will do so without waiting to be prompted.”
The Acting President warned that government must not allow the careless use of words and careless expressions that may degenerate into crisis, adding that, “We are a people that like to talk and we express ourselves loudly but it is expected for us to recognise that it is those same words that can cause conflagration, that can unfortunately lead to calamity. We must be careful of how we express ourselves.”
Osinbajo also pointed out that in recent times, some of the languages used have tended to degenerate badly. He said: “We must begin to speak up against some of these things and ensure that we protect our democracy and our nation from the hands of rhetoric that may just divide us.” Speaking further, Osinbajo said: Our meetings were frank and open (as I hope this will be), we were able to agree on most of the critical issues that were discussed and in most cases changed perceptions that may have been long embedded in their minds. We also agreed that under no circumstances should we condone hateful speeches and that govt should take all steps necessary to bring to book all those who preach violence, in particular the kind of expressions of dissent that can cause violence. We also agreed that we need to do more to engage our youth productively, create some jobs, and multiply the economic opportunities available.”
“We discovered there was a need for much greater resonance in the way that these things are done and for the leaders to speak up more forcefully. We believe that if the leaders do not speak up forcefully enough, if for any reason matters are allowed to degenerate, not only does leadership lose their legitimacy, they run the risk of things going completely out control. Osinbajo also commended the leaders from the North and South for their openness at the consultations meetings, stating that they were extremely responsible even in their criticisms of what they felt were issues that should have been better handled.
He said: “I think that their criticisms were fair and balanced. I must commend them for their sense of responsibility and their leadership.” The Acting President also discussed with the governors on the issues around the herdsmen and farmers crisis, especially the way that some of the issues have resulted in flashpoint across the country. According to him, it is absolutely important that we are able to make lasting and satisfactory solutions to these problems. Osinbajo observed that the problems are multidimensional, adding that the states have a very important role to play especially because they are in control of land in their territories.
He further cautioned the states governors against playing politics with matters of security. He said: “We must resist the temptation to play politics especially with matters of security, but to reach for simplistic narratives that might be originally expedient and satisfying but false, deceiving and sometimes unhealthy to proper understanding of the issues. “Sometimes intensions are perceived on the account of the fact that they have wrong perception about a particular thing. I think it is in our place to ensure that we dig down the fact and ensure that people are given the facts and ensure that we don’t colour them with politics.”
Meanwhile, Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, who spoke on behalf of the governors, said that it has been unanimously agreed that the unity of Nigeria is sacrosanct, non-negotiable and “we have all agreed to work together to educate people.” Ajimobi explained that any time there is agitation, usually there would be poverty, unemployment and there will be hardship. He said that government should address fundamentally these areas of poverty, unemployment and hardship. His words: “Nigerians are by nature a united people, nobody cares whether you are from the north, south or the east. “The unity must be there and we cannot play with the unity of this country. The consensus has been that there must be unity. The governors called on Nigerians across every divide to come together and work hard to strengthen the unity of the country, saying that the people stand to gain more when they are united. “The message is for Nigerians to work more together and collaborate. We have more to gain when we are united. We cannot afford to break, and anybody thinking of that is wasting his time and we will not allow it, not in this country. All of us are unanimous about that. “To you the media, look for what unites us and not sensational news. If we fight, everybody will lose. Have you ever seen a country that fought civil war and remain the same? We don’t want to be another Rwanda and Somalia and all these places. The government is doing its best,” Ajimobi added.

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