Kano state governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, has warned that the continent of Africa will lose it respect to the world if the Nigeria cease to exist as a Nation.
Ganduje, however, called on seccessionits agitators to stop immediately and give dialogue a chance.
Speaking Thursday in Abuja at the second public lecture series organised by the APC Press Corps with the topic; “Sustaining a united and indivisible Nigeria: A miyth or reality” the Kano governor said the advocates of secession should have a change of heart and recommended dialogue as a crucial option for addressing their problems.
“The world will not respect Africa anymore if Nigeria comes to harm and our ‘Mandela The Great’ won’t sleep well if we blow up this opportunity to lead the black race. That is why we the leaders need to come together to appeal to our aggrieved people who are agitating for self-determination at this time.
“The ‘Biafran’ agitators and a small section of the Yoruba nation agitating for Oduduwa Republic should therefore always have this at the back of their minds in their political calculations and transformations. It is on record that the great Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the first president of Nigeria, was an Igbo man and also a perfect negotiator and foremost champion of Nigeria’s unity.
“The same for the great Chief Obafemi Awolowo. He never agitated for secession. He was loud and clear on restructuring of the federation. And that demand is even louder and the debate is on and no one is troubling agitators for agitating for restructuring of the federation. What is more, the governing party, the APC has a working document already on this (restructuring). This is the way we should all go. There should be no secession distraction at this time.
“Therefore, at this point in the country’s history, all right thinking citizens, irrespective of their tribal and religious inclinations should bond together to sustain the corporate existence of the most populous and naturally endowed nation in Africa. We must shun temptations and anger capable of leading us into more turbulent time that cannot be controlled as we have in some North African and Middle Eastern countries.”
According to Ganduje, there is a National Assembly where some of the grievances can be addressed. Because dialogue is a far better alternative that costs less than 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.
“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.”
The Kano governor also called for effective regulation of the media, but not censorship.
“Let me emphasize here that I do not mean the media should be gagged. More so, 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 an 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 is 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 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.”