Tinubu, Gbajabiamila, APC South-West leaders, govs oppose secession

South West All Progressives Congress (APC) leaders, including governors on the party platform, on Sunday met in Lagos, calling for true federalism where more power would be devolved to the states, saying this would be an essential part in strengthening society and improving democratic governance as well as engender durable peace and security, among others.

The leaders in attendance at the parley, which took place at the State House, Marina, included APC National Leader, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu; former Interim National Chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande; the Speaker, House of Representatives, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila; Governors Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State; Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State; Lagos State Governor and the host, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

Others are: former Governor Segun Osoba, Minister of Trade and Industry, Chief Niyi Adebayo; former Vice Chairman, APC South West, Chief Pius Akinyelure and former Chief of Army Staff, General Alani Akinrinade.

The leaders, who came with a nine-point communiqué at the end of the parley, also endorsed the position of southern governors on open grazing, saying besides reducing the tension between herders and farmers, it would minimise the friction in the country.

Chief Akande, who read the communiqué, said the leaders endorsed call for true federalism and the reallocation of resources and authority that comes with it as such would empower the states to solve localized issues before they spread and transformed into national ones.

Besides, they said that greater federalism would empower grassroots economic development and political reforms that would stand as bulwarks against the terrorism and criminality now experienced in several parts of the country.

“We hold to the view that 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.

“True federalism and the reallocation of resources and authority that comes with it will empower the states to solve localised 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,” Akande said.

On ban on open grazing, the South-West APC leaders threw their support for the position reached by the Southern governors on May 11, 2021 in Asaba, the Delta State capital, saying they did so because such a decision would lessen tensions between farmers and herders while also helping the long-term economic viability of both the farming and herding communities.

The leaders, while saying that they were mindful of the short-term dislocation such decision might cause, pointed out that it was in the best interests of all parties concerned, but urged the federal and state governments to cooperate fully with each other to enact the necessary measures to encourage what they described as “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.”

They, however, urged the Federal Government to provide, through the Central Bank, short, medium and long term financing for states and those who might wish to set up ranches as part of the agricultural sustainability policy.

“We endorse the position of the Southern Governors taken at their May 11, 2021 summit in Asaba, Delta State, regarding 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,” the leaders said.

The party chieftains, while commiserating with President Muhammadu Buhari over the death of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Ibrahim Attahiru, expressed concern about the state of the nation particularly having to do with the serious security challenges facing the country.

They, however, expressed their strong opposition to separatist agitations and hate speeches, urging those indulging in such to desist forthwith as they renewed their belief in the unity, stability and sustainability of the country.

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