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Igbo quit notice: If we fight everybody will lose, Abiola Ajumobi warns

ACTING President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday, warned state
governors against playing politics with national security, especially in
the wake of the raging threat as a result of the quit notice given to
the Igbo to vacate the north before October 1 by a group of northern
youths.

Also the governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajumobi, said it had been
unanimously agreed that the unity of the country was sacrosanct,
non-negotiable, saying that ‘if we fight everybody will lose, have you
ever seen a country that fought civil war and remain the same? we don’t
want to be another Rwanda and Somalia and all these places. The
government is doing its best.”

The Acting President also reiterated that the constitution guaranteed
all Nigerians to live in any parts of the country without molestations,
and warned people talking carelessly in a way that would threaten the
unity of the country.

Osinbajo, who gave the warning when he met with the 36 governors at
the Old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, further noted
that the constitution guaranteed freedom of expressions but said it must
be done in a decent way.
He said:  “There is a part of all of these agitations and statements
that are made that is fair and may well be considered as freedom of
expression.

‘’Clearly, we are all allowed to express our views and there is a
part of this that is expected in any healthy and robust democracy,
people arguing and disagreeing sometimes even silently.

“But borderline has to be drawn and that is when conversations or
agitations degenerate into hateful rhetoric where the narratives
degenerate to pejorative name-calling, expressions of outright prejudice
and hatred.

“We must sometimes ensure that even in the use of words, we are
careful essentially because the kinds of problems that we have seen, the
kinds of conflagration that we have seen all over the world even in our
own society…..the use of words. Some words can carry a lot of weights
and so important that responsible use of words, the responsible
expression of dissent is taken as priority.

“We must not allow the careless use of words, the careless
expressions that may degenerate into conflicts and may degenerate into
crisis.

“As I said, our constitution guarantee freedom of expression and we
are a people who like to talk and we talk and we express ourselves very
loudly, we express ourselves in an agitated fashion in some cases but it
is important for us to recognise that it is those same words that can
cause conflagration, can cause alarm and can ultimately lead to calamity

“We must be careful with how we express ourselves. What we have seen
in recent times is that some of the languages that have been used and
some of the expressions have tended to degenerate badly and I think we
must begin to speak up against some of these things and ensure that we
protect our democracy and our nation from the kinds of rhetoric that may
not just divide us but ultimately result in a great deal of trouble.”

“From all of the consultations, we have all agreed on certain
principles. The first is that we have all agreed that Nigeria’s unity
should never be taken for granted and that no one wants to see us go
down the path of bloodshed or war.

“We also agreed on the primacy of the Nigerian constitution, that
1999 constitution is the basis for our unity. It is the basis for the
legal contract that exists between all of us as citizens of this
country.

“The constitution guarantees equality of all Nigerians before the law
and the freedom to live and work anywhere in the country in peace and
safety without any fear of discrimination or prejudice.

‘’That is the guarantee of our constitution and that is the reason
the federal government and state government must be committed to
ensuring that every Nigerian citizens lives and works wherever he
pleases peacefully and securely.’’

Speaking to State House correspondents, the governor of Oyo State,
Abiola Ajumobi, said it had been unanimously agreed that the unity of
the country was sacrosanct, non-negotiable, adding that they all also
agreed to work together to educate people.

He 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.  There unity must be there and we
cannot play with the unity of this country. The consensus has been that
there must be unity.’’

“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 is thinking of that he is wasting his time and we will not allow
it, not in this country. All of us are unanimous about that.

“To you the media look for what unites us and not sensations news. If
we fight everybody will lose, have you ever seen a country that fought
civil war and remain the same? we don’t want to be another Rwanda and
Somalia and all these places. The government is doing its best.”

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