President Muhammadu Buhari has said that, those calling for separation of Nigeria are only doing so to destabilize his government, but “there is no government in the world that will cede their authority to the people that are not elected.”
The President who stated this in Zaria, Kaduna State on Saturday said, those agitating for separation of the country are ignorant of war and its consequences.
He said, “You are telling us to devolve a system and call for an obscure conference to come and discuss how we can move forward as a nation, that can never be done and no country will agree to that.”
Speaking as the Special Guest of Honour at the launching of the Kudirat Abiola Sabon Gari Peace Foundation in memory of the Zaria born wife of the winner of 1993 Presidential election, Chief MKO Abiola.
Represented by Executive Secretary, Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Alhaji Mohammed Bello Shehu, the President said instead of clamoring for restructuring or separation of the country, focus should rather be on actualizing local government autonomy and making of the judicial system independent.
According to the President, “those who are discussing restructuring, my question is that what are you going to restructure?
“If you ask many Nigerians what are they going to restructure, you will find out that they have nothing to talk about. Some of them have not even studied the 1999 constitution. The 1999 constitution is almost 70 to 80 percent 1979 constitution.
“It is okay to demand for restructuring, renew of constitution, but what is most important now is how can Nigeria state make local governmental functional, how can Nigerian states make judiciary independent.
“Rather we ask Nigerians to put focus on putting pressure on National Assembly members to make sure that, the local government autonomy as enshrined in our constitution is respected and implemented.
‘So, if that were to be done, some of this issues like insecurity, you will find a situation where local government chairmen in collaboration with traditional rulers will form a chain a communication to figure out what is really happening.
“So those who are doing that (agitating) should go back and meet their representatives in the House of Assembly and ask for whatever amendment of constitution. Due process should be followed
“The other issue is that those who are calling for restructuring and confrence or what they call ethnic nationality. If you go to Southern Kaduna, Taraba, who is to represent them. We have different combination of ethnicity in many states.
“Even Kano and Kaduna Igbos have properties. The same goes with Yorubas. There are Fulani in porthacourt. So those calling for whether seperation or restructuring, some of them I will say they are very naive or even mischievously dangerous.
“Those agitating for secession are ignorant of war and its consequences because Nigeria is a dominant force in west africa. My appeal to each and everyone here is to try and educate there children. We are better as a nation, there is no way we can be separated.
“And I said also that majority of those calling for restructuring are people that are so afraid to go into partisan politics. And even if they were to go into partisan politics they will not win. There is no government in the world that will cede their authority to the people that are not elected,” Buhari said.
Meanwhile, Son of Chief MKO Abiola, winner of the 1993 presidential election, Alhaji Jamiu Abiola said it would mean that his parents died in vain if Nigeria or its democracy collapse.
Speaking at the launch of the Foundation he floated and named after his late mother, Alhaja Kudirat Abiola to work for peace and unity of Nigeria in the face of agitations for secession, Alhaji Jamiu Abiola who is the Chairman of the Foundation said, it was founded to work against the forces trying to bring Nigeria down, adding that creation of Nigeria by God was not a mistake and the country has gone too far as a united nation than to break up.
According to him, “I chose to float this foundation now, 25 years after my mother’s demise because of where we are now as a country. Where we are now as a country is very dangerous. We have a democracy but we have fake news and so many things working towards destroying the country.
“So, the same way these forces against the country, we also have to establish forces of our own to work for the country. We should get more forces positively than the negative forces. So, this is the time, because if things go wrong and democracy does not work, it means my father and my mother died for nothing. And there is no way I can let happen.
“So, this time around, we are going to assist the government to look for solutions to the problems because we don’t want to benefit from government, we want the government to benefit from us. So, we are encouraging people to join our course so that we can recover quickly.
“This government has good intention they want to do well, but they need us to participate. So, we are drawing the line to say we either move forward or backward, and I am sure Nigerians want to move forward.
“What we want to be doing next is that, we have a technical committee made up of professors, they would be looking at four issues that will change the negative situation in the country. We are going to be working from the grassroot from community leaders, traditional and religious leaders and up like that.
“We are going to consult and find our solutions, we are not going to wait for anybody, we are going to come up with solution to our own problems, that is what we are doing.
“We have foreign partners with whom we are working of a peace curriculum that we are going to send to schools, so that people can learn about the importance of peace and coexistence. So, we are going to make sure there is peace in Nigeria and people know the value of peace and unity.
“God that brought us together as a united country did not make mistake and we have even gone too far as a nation to break up. If there are challenges, we should address our challenges and move on, that is better for us than to disintegrate,” Abiola said.
Also speaking Kaduna state Governor, Mallam Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai represented by the state’s Commissioner for education, Dr Shehu Usman Mohammed warned that the country had grown beyond separation.
He pointed out that those calling for separation should come back to their senses because Nigerians were spread in every part of the country.
(Cambridge University Press, January, 2021) By Professor Damilola S. Olawuyi, SAN, FCIArb, Professor of Law and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti
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