Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State says secession is not the way out of the current challenges afflicting the country.
Ganduje said this at the 2nd quarterly public lecture series of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Press Corps on Thursday in Abuja.
He recommended dialogue as a panacea that should be embraced by secessionists to address perceived grievances.
The theme of the lecture, which was attended by APC chieftains, members of State Executive Councils, and legislators, is: “Sustaining A United and Indivisible Nigeria: A Myth or Reality”.
“Let me repeat here that Nigeria is a united and indivisible country; our Constitution has taken care of that, I don’t see secession as the way out of the current challenges afflicting the nation.
“Instead, advocates of secession should have a change of heart and I recommend dialogue as a crucial option for addressing their problems.
“Besides, there is a National Assembly where some of the grievances can be addressed,” Ganduje said.
According to him, dialogue is a far better alternative that costs less than the consequences of the wedge that had been erected to frustrate more flow of conversations between government and citizens to arrive at a national consensus.
He said that the sooner we face issues such as the huge infrastructure deficit, our shrinking oil revenue, and looming food insecurity as a consequence of insecurity in our agriculture zones, the better for us all.
He said that instead of applying energies on self-determination agitation that would only diminish us as a people, there was the need to focus on diversification of the economy and out-of-school children's shame.
Ganduje said it was important at this time that the media was used for the promotion of peace and stability in the country.
He said this was critical to change the viewpoints that could alter public views and sentiment toward a more peaceful resolution of our multi-faceted current crises.
He however noted that while democracy gave citizens the right to air their views, this should not be translated to grievances, violence or bloodshed.
“While the unity of Nigeria should be discussed, the agitators must be strongly cautioned to channel their grievances to the appropriate quarters.
“This should be done without perpetrating acts that could be interpreted as an attempt to enthrone instability and dismember the country,” he said.
He added that those on the streets of South West or South Eastern states, carrying dangerous weapons, attacking security personnel and formations, as well as innocent citizens, should be cautioned.
The governor stressed that such persons should be cautious not to become canon fodders for mischief-making.
Ganduje said Nigeria was bigger than all of us and there was no challenge that was bigger than the political class to solve.
“We can make mistakes, but we are matured enough to correct such mistakes as part of our development processes,” he said.
He noted that the leadership of the groups in the two geopolitical regions spearheading the bid for secession from Nigeria had gone too far.
This, he said, was especially so because they incite followers to acts of violence against Nigerian security forces and had established a paramilitary wing.
The governor maintained that no serious government would stand by and watch this scenario and go to bed.
He also advised the media not to be used to promote fake news and hate speeches, saying that in the course of its duty, the media should ensure strict observance of the ethics of the profession.
“Let’s not entertain any fear, we have become too fused to be divided.
“Sustaining this unity is possible and it is a reality; we may be historically different in our religion, beliefs, and customs, our unity may have been a British invention.
“But if we are willing and ready to shun bitterness, hatred, suspicion and imbibe equity, fairness, brotherly love, and tolerance, we will succeed.
“We are too fused, in fact too entropic together to be divided at this time. Let’s repair our broken walls instead and move on,” he said.
He, however, added that we could debate restructuring, not secession or self-determination.
Besides, Ganduje advised that as Nigerians, we should not let the labour of our hero's past to be in vain, adding that we should hail, not hate the country at this time.
Gov. Mai Mala Buni of Yobe and Chairman, APC Caretaker and Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), was represented by former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, at the event.
Buni said it was our responsibility as citizens to make the country more efficient and attractive, adding that “the more united we are, the better we are”.
He noted that when a level playing field is provided for all citizens, issues of agitation would be addressed.