Acting President urges Monarchs to speak against hate speeches

By Timothy Choji, Abuja

Nigeria's Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (M) in a group photograph with the Northern Traditional rulers after their meeting in Abuja on Tuesday, June 20, 2017 (Picture by Timothy Choji).

Traditional rulers in Nigeria have been urged to admonish their subjects, especially the youth to desist from making uncomplimentary remarks that can spark crisis.

The Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo told the monarchs that it was their duty to guide the youths.

Professor Osinbajo was speaking at a meeting with paramount traditional rulers of northern Nigeria on Tuesday, in Abuja.

He emphasised government’s determination to sustain peace and development in all parts of the country.

The meeting was in continuation of consultations aimed at dousing the tension created by the recent ultimatum given to Igbos by a group of youth from the north, to vacate by October 1, 2017.

Unique Role
The Acting President said the place of traditional rulers was unique. He therefore urged them to help remedy the situation.

As Royal Fathers and Traditional Leaders, your role in our society is significant. As Royal Fathers and Leaders, you will agree with me that we all have a role to play in countering the voices of divisiveness, and the elements who seek to take us down a bloody path. Let us continue to counsel the misguided elements among our youth, who think that ethnic confrontation is a game and that words can be thrown around carelessly without repercussion, he stated.

Professor Osinbajo said Nigeria must use its existing unity to advance the course of humanity instead of breeding crisis, promising that government will listen to legitimate complains and grievances of groups and individuals.

We are not deaf to the legitimate concerns and frustrations arising from around the country. Every part of Nigeria has its own grievances. But these have to be expressed graciously and managed with mutuality rather than with scorn. I would like to assure you all that we are here to listen and to answer and, very importantly, to reassure everyone that we are committed to the unity of Nigeria…Upon the foundation of that unity we can together build a prosperous and great country, he stressed.

Unity/Diversity
According to him, the nation cannot take its diversity for granted because the fullness of its strength lies in that.

We must never take our diversity for granted; the fullness of our strength actually lies in that diversity. And we must wield that diversity, not as divisive tool, but instead as a binding agent. As we round up these consultations on Wednesday with a meeting with governors, it is clear to me that we are all resolved to by words, conduct and action, to promote the unity of our dear nation, he said.

Conducive environment
Professor Osinbajo restated government’s objective of providing the needed environment for a prosperous nation, where all, regardless of ethnicity or religion could pursue their legitimate aspirations peacefully and securely.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, the Chief of Defence staff, General Gabriel Olanisokin and members of the federal cabinet also attended the meeting.

The consultative forum would be rounded off on Wednesday with a meeting between the Acting President and the Governors of the 36 states in Nigeria.

Mercy Chukwudiebere