After a four-hour closed-door meeting with the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Bola Tinubu, Speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and other party leaders in South-West, the South-West APC governors expressed concern about the security situation in the nation.
Addressing the media, the convener of the meeting, former interim APC National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande said that the governors and leaders had open and frank discussions about the difficulties in the country and condemned strongly separatist agitations and hate speeches while urging those indulging in such to desist forthwith.
“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.”
Akande also condemned speeches by public figures that spark divisions.
“Public figures have made statements that spark division and undermine the needed unity of purpose. We urge the 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.”
Akande said that the party leaders and governors are upholding their belief in the unity, stability and sustainability of the country and believe that for the country to overcome these challenges, it must do so with unity of purpose and action, noting that the desire for peace and the chance for a prosperous and just society is universal and transcends all regional, religious or ethnic divisions
The leaders also upheld their view in 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,” Akande 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.”
The meeting is coming on the heels of the Southern Governors’ Forum gathering in Delta state over a week ago where the group called for the president to hold a national dialogue on the increasing state of insecurity in the country, insisted on the banning of open grazing in southern Nigeria, called for restructuring and practice of true federalism while affirming that the peoples of Southern Nigeria remain committed to the unity of Nigeria based on justice, fairness, equity and oneness and peaceful co-existence between and among its peoples, with a focus on the attainment of shared goals for economic development and prosperity.
The APC South-west governors in the meeting said that they are endorsing the position of the Southern Governors on 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.”
As an alternative, the party governors and leaders urged 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.
Tinubu who was present at the meeting also clarified that he has not endorsed any candidate in the local government elections in Lagos State. He said that there have been whisperings about him asking candidates not to contest or withdraw from the elections.
“That is far from the truth,” he said. “Every Lagosian who is a member of the APC have the right to participate in the local government elections as long as you are a registered member of the party. Nobody is my favourite candidate.”
He insisted that he has no preferred candidates for the upcoming local government primaries and has no intention of endorsing any of the people contesting for the party. He appeals to party leaders in all the local government areas to allow democracy to flourish and Tondo everything possible to promote the democratic process as practised in civilised societies.
Governors present at the meeting include Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Osun State Governor Gboyega Otedola, Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun and former governor of Ogun State, Segun Osoba. Others present include former Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Alani Akinrinade (rtd); and former APC South-West Vice Chairman, Pius Akinyelure.