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KANO GOV TO SECESSIONISTS: Drop your agitation, embrace dialogue


*Says the world will not respect Africa if Nigeria breaks up

*Sen. Okorocha calls for equal rights, fairness, justice

Tom Okpe, Abuja

Kano State governor, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje, on Thursday, called on groups campaigning for break-up of Nigeria to drop their agitation, saying such is not the solution to the challenges confronting the country.

The governor therefore called on the secessionists to have a change of heart and embrace dialogue to resolve their grievances, saying this remains the best approach in the civilised world.

Gov Ganduje stressed that Nigeria cannot afford to break up, saying the break-up of Nigeria will affect the whole African continent, and the continent will lose respect in the eyes of the world.

Speaking on 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 myth or reality,” Ganduje pointed that advocates of secession should have a change of heart, recommending dialogue as the best option to addressing issues.

“Biafran and Oduduwa agitators should have it at the back of their minds that the whole of Africa will be affected and the world respected Nelson Mandela will lose that respect and will not rest in peace in his grave.

“It is also 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 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 leaders need to come together to appeal to our aggrieved people who are agitating for self-determination at this time.

“The same goes 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, still on.

“No one is troubling agitators calling 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”, he said.

According to the Kano State Governor, there is a National Assembly where some of the grievances can be addressed, saying: “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 agricultural sector, the better.

“We need to focus on diversification of the economy, out-of-school children and rebuilding 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.

“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.”

Ganduje called for effective regulation of the media, but not censorship, emphasising that the media shouldn’t be gagged.

“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.

“Nigeria will remain united.

Let’s not entertain any fear. We have become too fussed 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, he too is entrenched in the South.

We don’t 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 served 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 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 philanthropist.

He is from Ibadan in the South West but with flourishing business in the North,” he buttressed.

Meanwhile, former Governor of Imo State and Senator representing Imo West, Senator Rochas Okorocha, has proffered solution to the unification of Nigeria, saying we don’t need division, but level playing ground for all, equal rights, fairness and justice to reign.

Okorocha also said the Igbo nation in its agitation is not demanding for secession but justice and equity to exist and all citizens be treated as one.

Speaking at the Second Quarterly Public Lecture series of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Press Corps, held at Sheraton Hotels and Towers, Abuja on Thursday, Okorocha said the issue of hunger in the country should be addressed while anyone coming to rule the country must take all as members of his family.

“Where you hear people agitating for restructuring, it means the cake shared at the National level is not reaching the agitators effectively,” he said.

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“Our nation is going through a very difficult moment and a big threat.

Democracy of this nation, threat to our corporate existence as a nation.

“Despite different administrations that have come and gone, why are we still where we are, and what can we do to pull ourselves out of this present predicament?.

“We were amalgamated without the people coming together to discuss and how they can respect each other has been a major issue and we were not able to create a myth.

So we need more of a myth than what we call reality.

“What we must do as a people is to address the issue of injustice as a nation, starting from the stomach injustice which we call hunger.

For instance, I don’t have enemies from the North or South West.

The biggest political problem I have recently is from the South East, from my State.

“The injustice of the stomach and other injustices must be addressed.

“Every leader that emerges in this country must treat Nigeria as a family, never show segregation of any kind.

If you know an Igbo man, an Igbo man is not asking for anything, but a level playing ground.

“Do you know if today people are doing what Ganduje did in Kano, giving Igbo people appointments, if every other Governor does that, it shows sign of love beyond the area of tribe and religion and you will unite this country.

“Address the issue of hunger and injustice, Nigeria will fly and command other nations, Okorocha stated.

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