Ondo people have chosen to stay in Nigeria —Akeredolu
•Warns promoters of secession
ONDO State governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, on Monday, said the people of the state have elected to stay in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as constituted at present.
He also said no part of the entire state, known and delineated as Ondo State, shall permit any gathering or agitation which may suggest, however remotely, that the people are in support of unthinking rabble rousing.
Akeredolu stated these during the inauguration of the new Secretary to the State Government and four other special advisers, in Akure. He reiterated his administration’s commitment to defend the people of the state, just as he warned illegal occupants of forest reserves in the state to leave or risk the wrath of the law.
Distancing himself and the people of the state from seccession agenda and agitation from some people across the country, the governor attributed the agitations to grievances arising from the challenges of nationhood.
The governor said: “The noises generated by seeming inaction or passive indifference on the part of elected and appointed representatives of the government at all levels appears to be responsible for the growing disaffection in the land.
“Why some have been measured in their reactions to these problems, others have been less diplomatic. It is not uncommon to find groups and individuals purporting to act or speak on behalf of the rest of us.
“While it is the right of citizens to discuss, agitate and even fight to right perceived wrongs, culminating in selfdetermination, this must be done within known and acceptable parameters. “All concerned must be ad idem, that is, agree to pursue the same objectives to achieve a desirable or desired end. There must be a common platform through which the demands, from the most mundane to the sublime, must be pre- sented.
“There must be a general consensus, articulated and presented after rigorous en- gagements on the level of intellection as the agendum for action.
“The reasons for the declaration of hostilities must not be fleeting fancies of disaffection engendered by perceived politics of exclusion for personal benefits. Self-determination must be a collective programme of action.”
The governor, who affirmed that as elected governor of the state, said he would continue to serve and protect the people in their decision to remain in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“We recognise that there are reasons to demand that certain anomalies be put right. We will continue to encourage dialogue as an effective tool in resolving disputes. We will also not shy from joining others to insist on socio-economic justice. We will, however, not subscribe to banditry and recklessness in putting forth our demands.
“Consequently, no part of the entire state, known and delineated as Ondo State, shall permit any gathering or agitation which may suggest, however remotely, that we are in support of unthinking rabble rousing.
“We will not be led to assured annihilation by anyone or a group of people, still smarting from the electoral defeats of recent times and presumed exclusion from the process of decision-making. Our people are knowledgeable enough to determine their interest at any point.
“If and when they consider self-determination as an option, they will not depend on external promptings to act. That is why we are different. That is why we are who we are. And that is the way it is going to be.”
The governor said there is no going back on the quit order to herders in the state forest reserves, warning the illegal occupants to so do at their peril. He said: “We will continue to eject and punish, in accordance with the law, anyone, either herder or farmer, il- legally occupying our forest reserves.
“We will not relent on our decision to rid our state of undesirable elements. We owe no one any further explanation or apology on this resolve to ensure peace other than our people.
“We, therefore, reiterate our stance on the prohibition of open grazing by cattle rearers in any part of Ondo State. On this, there shall be no compromise. In a similar vein, we will continue to arrest any underage herders in the state.
“Anyone who commits a crime under the guise of outmoded pastoralism shall be sanctioned severely. We will proceed to mobilize the people against this menace. The people of Ondo State will not accept any aberrant incursion into our space.”
He promised that the administration will not shirk its responsibilities in any manner. The governor disclosed the intent of the state government to participate in the Federal Government National Livestock Transformation Programme, adding that “the programme aims at encouraging any private businessman who takes interest in breeding cattle to partic- ipate in the modern meth- ods for profit. It is not about sustaining the antiquated cultural practice which allows cattle to move from the remotest parts of the Sahel region to the savannah.
“The state shall generate revenue from cattle feeding in ranches, slaughtering of cows, among others. Pastoralism is not the exclusive preserve of an ethnic group. Trends in the modern business of animal husbandry should be of direct concern to the state. The proposed ranches shall not be for human habitation in Ondo State.
“All those who bring in cattle and the herds shall be registered. Nobody will be allowed to form new settlements on our ancestral lands. Cattle rearing shall be for business, strictly, in Ondo State.”