Governors of Nigeria’s 36 states have insisted that the country must remain one, despite demands for secession and threats of evictions in different regions of the country.
The governors made their stance known after their meeting with Acting President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Wednesday, as part of Osinbajo’s consultations with stakeholders over recent agitations. The governors said they had resolved that they would not allow any group to break up Nigeria.
Speaking with State House correspondents at the end of a meeting, Osinbajo stated that anyone expecting Nigeria to break was would be disappointed.
He said, “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.”
Osinbajo 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.”
Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi said, “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.