GOVERNORS

State governors, on Wednesday, said they had
resolved that they would not allow Nigeria to
break up, stating that those fanning the
embers of war were wasting their time.

The governors spoke after their meeting with
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo at the
Presidential Villa, Abuja, in continuation of
Osinbajo's consultations on the recent tension
in the country as a result of several
agitations.

Oyo State Governor, Abiola, Ajimobi, who
spoke on behalf of the other governors, said
the governors and other stakeholders had
agreed that despite the agitations being witnessed in parts of the country, Nigeria
must not break.

Speaking with State House correspondents at
the end of a meeting, Osinbajo stated that any
Nigerians expecting the country to break was
only wasting his time.

"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 that
is thinking of that, is wasting his time, and we
will not allow it, not in this country. All of us
are unanimous about that," he added.

He said the governors resolved that the unity
of the country "is sacrosanct, non-negotiable
and we have all agreed to work together to
educate people."

Ajimobi added, "Any time you have agitation,
usually, there will be poverty; there will be
unemployment; there will be hardship. So, we
should address fundamentally these areas of
poverty, unemployment and hardship.

"Nigerians are by nature a united people;
nobody cares whether you are from the north,
south or the east."

The governor also warned against the
consequences of war, urging Nigerians to
learn from Rwanda and Somalia.

Osinbajo had appealed to the governors to
always be ready to speak up against
statements from individuals or groups capable
of setting the nation on fire.

He said they must be ready to protect the
nation and its democracy from the hands of
those who were bent on dividing the country.
He spoke before the meeting, which was held
inside the old Banquet Hall of the Presidential
Villa, Abuja, went into a closed-door session.

He stated, "We must not allow the careless
use of words, careless expressions that may
degenerate into crisis.

"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 on how we express ourselves.

"What we have seen in recent times is that
some of the languages (words) used have
tended to degenerate badly and I think that
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.

Osinbajo, who had earlier met separately with
leaders of thought and traditional rulers from
both the North and the South-East, said those
who participated in the previous consultations
agreed that Nigeria's unity should not be
taken for granted.

He said nobody wanted the nation to witness
bloodshed or war.

While describing the previous meetings as
frank and open, Osinbajo said they were able
to agree on most of the critical issues that
were discussed, and in most cases, changed
perceptions that might have been long
embedded in their minds.

He added that the participants also agreed
that under no circumstances should hateful
speeches be condoned and that government
should take all steps necessary to bring to
book all those who preached violence.

The acting President stated that they also
agreed that government needed to do more to
engage youths productively, create some jobs
and multiply the economic opportunities
available.

Governors, who attended the meeting,
included Rauf Aregbesola (Osun); Abiola
Ajimobi (Oyo); Dave Umahi (Ebonyi); Aminu
Tambuwal (Sokoto); Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano);
Nyesom Wike (Rivers) and Godwin Obaseki
(Edo).

Among others are governors from Borno, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Adamawa, Benue, Plateau, Kogi, Lagos, Kebbi, Ondo, Imo, Taraba and Anambra states among others.

Punch

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