Governors and other prominent leaders of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) in the Southwest geopolitical zone, have rejected calls for the secession of the Yoruba from Nigeria, noting instead that restructuring was more preferable.
The leaders who met at the Lagos House in Marina, Lagos Sunday amid rising agitations for Oduduwa Republic in the Southwest, called for true federalism where more power would be devolved to the states. This, they said, will strengthen democratic governance in the country.
The leaders in a nine point communiqué read by the former Interim National Chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande, equally endorsed the position of southern governors on open grazing, saying besides reducing the tension between herders and farmers, it will minimise the friction in the country.
“We hold to the view that true federalism where more power and resources are allocated to the states will be an essential part in strengthening society and improving democratic governance so that we beat the present challenges but also engender durable peace and security,” the communique said.
“True federalism and the reallocation of resources and authority that comes with it will empower the states to solve localized issues before they spread and transform into national ones. In addition to mitigating political competition for control of the national government, greater federalism will empower grassroots economic development and political reforms that will stand as bulwarks against the terrorism and criminality now experienced in too many parts of the nation. A hallmark of this enhanced federalism will be the establishment of state police forces.
“we endorse the position of the Southern Governors taken at their May 11, 2021 summit in Asaba, Delta State, regarding ranching. We do so because such a decision will lessen tensions between farmers and herders while also helping the long-term economic viability of both the farming and herding communities.
“We are mindful of the short-term dislocation this might cause but are also mindful that this position is in the best interests of all parties concerned. We, therefore, recommend that the federal and state governments cooperate fully with each other to enact the necessary measures to encourage this more effective and modern method of cattle-rearing so that both farmers and herders can pursue their livelihoods with greater productivity and in a more cooperative relationship that minimizes the friction between these two important pillars of our agricultural economy.”
While commiserating with President Muhammadu Buhari over the death of the Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, the communique said the South West APC leaders however expressed concern “about the state of the nation, particularly the serious security challenges facing the country.
“They expressrd their strong opposition to separatist agitations and hate speeches. While urging those indulging in such to desist forthwith, they renew their belief in the unity, stability and sustainability of the country.
“We note with significant concern the security situation in the country. Terrorism and violent criminality threaten many areas, adversely affecting the lives and livelihoods of too many innocent and peace-loving Nigerians.
“While mindful of the resource and other constraints facing the nation, we urge the federal government to continue to make the necessary expenditures and allocate sufficient resources to enable the military and security agencies to tackle the difficult security challenges confronting us.
“For Nigeria to overcome these challenges, we must do so with unity of purpose and action. The desire for peace and the chance for a prosperous and just society is universal and transcends all regional, religious or ethnic divisions. Sadly, many public figures have made statements that spark division and undermine the needed unity of purpose.
“We urge government at all levels, security agencies, and public leaders across the country to do everything possible to prevent tension so that we sustain the necessary unity to defeat these challenges to our national security. All responsible Nigerians must speak and act in a manner that strengthens our common cause against these common threats to our collective peace, justice and development.
“We restate our abhorrence of violence as a means to achieve either political or economic power and influence. We strongly condemn violence of any form in any part of the country, regardless of ethnic or regional identity of the perpetrators of the violence or of the victims. Government must do all it can to protect potential victims and to assist those who have previously been victimized by terrorism or widespread banditry.”
They thanked traditional rulers for their important role in the polity and appealed to them to keep intervening to maintain peace and stability, even as they used “the opportunity of the meeting to urge the Federal Government to provide, through the CBN, short, medium and long term financing for states and those who may wish to set up ranches as part of the agricultural sustainability policy.”
In attendance at the meeting were National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; Governors Dapo Abiodun of Ogun state; Gboyega Oyetola of Osun state; Lagos state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; former Governor of Ogun state, Chief Segun Osoba; The Minister of Trade and Industry, Otunba Niyi Adebayo; the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila; former Vice Chairman, APC South West, Chief Pius Akinyelure; and former Army Chief, General Alani Akinrinade, while the governors of Ondo, Rotimi Akeredolu and Ekiti, Kayode Fayemi were absent.