Dissociate yourself from ethnic champions, warlords, PGF boss tasks Nigerians

A chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Director General of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) Salihu Moh. Lukman, has asked Nigerians to dissociate themselves from people identified as ethnic champions and warlords for peace to reign in Nigeria.

Lukman also called on all political leaders to pioritise regular meetings where issues that promote unity will be discussed often.

The APC chieftain was reacting to the recent crisis in Shasha area of Ibadan, Oyo state between a Hausa Tomato seller and a kiosk owner (Yoruba woman) which led to death of one person and destruction of property.

In a statement released to newsmen Sunday in Abuja, the PGF boss cautioned all the political leaders to wake up to the responsibility of providing political leadership on a matter that has taken over every political debate.

According  to Lukman, it may be tempting for people to argue that let everyone goes his/her way if we cannot peacefully co-exist. Unfortunately, the human cost of breakup may be more expensive than those making noise in the media space could ever imagine. 

“While it is important that all law-abiding citizens dissociate themselves from all the campaigns of ethnic hatred going on in the country, we must caution our political leaders to wake up to the responsibility of providing political leadership on a matter that has taken over every political debate. As it is today, it is impossible to debate any issue in Nigeria without the attempt to interpret it along ethnic and religious lines. 

“We need to appeal to our political leaders to take all the steps required to move our nation forward, away from these politics of ethnic hatred. The only way our children and Nigerians can be maximally and confidently competitive in every sphere in our contemporary knowledge driven world is when events in our country are inspiring citizens beyond the clamour for ethnic hatred.

“Instead of hating each other, can our leaders take steps to begin to push us to love each other? The need to guarantee justice at all times, irrespective of who is affected is about the only route for peaceful co-existence in the country. Once that is compromised, the foundation of our democracy will be eroded. The burden facing our political leaders is to begin to take every necessary step to move our people and our nation from all parts of the country towards ensuring fairness in every part of the country. 

“The basis of fairness must be such that to love ourselves, we must love others. Once we can’t guarantee fairness, we should delete the word love in our vocabulary. Therefore, we must demand that our political leaders should show love to themselves by ensuring fair conduct of all citizens as a basis for citizens’ love to leaders and the nation.”

While expressing fears that the level of intolerance may get worse as the country move towards 2023 general elections, Lukman said the level of intolerance in the country on account of our ethnic background is beyond imagination.

“Before Sasha, there were many reportedly alleged of communal violence across the country. Till today, there is hardly any reported position or proposal taken by any of our national organisations. All we have is clamour by ethnic bullies and warlords mobilising support against ethnic groups they considered as their enemies. Even leaders of national organisations have become not more than ethnic bullies and warlords. Once leader takes a position based on ethnic sentiments without the humility to consider positions of other members who are part of organisations he/she is leading, such a leader is nothing more ethnic bully or warlord. 

“The few cases of deliberations in the chambers of the National Assembly, for instance, were even more worrisome as members just adopt positions based on ethnic consideration, may be expectedly so. We could justify this with the argument that this is largely because there was no initiative to guide the position of members by their parties. This is not just a problem of one party. All the parties are guilty. Certainly, because APC is the governing party it has to take more responsibility. We must appeal to our leaders to rise up to the challenge of developing proactive responses to the problems of insecurity being compounded by ethnic hatred in the country. Our parties must wake up to take all the necessary steps to take decisions, which should guide the response of every leader and member. This is not just a partisan matter.”

He, however, called APC national Caretaker Committee to convene emergency meetings to begin to strengthen the process of engendering sustained peaceful co-existence in the country.

“As we move towards 2023, this is going to be a serious problem. It is important that our parties are able to consider new approaches that should challenge our political leaders to become leaders and champions of peaceful co-existence. With all the attacks against APC, it has the best potential of coming up with initiatives that can push political leaders to work for peaceful co-existence in the country. This is because apart from being a ruling party with the responsibility of providing political leadership, it is also a party that has committed itself to bringing about political change in the country. As a member of the party, I am always proud to acknowledge the fact that our leaders don’t shy away from recognising problems.”

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