24 governors under the aegis of All Progressives Governors Forum have identified the poor state of the economy and weak governance among factors responsible for ethnic resurgence in the country.
A coalition of Northern groups, including the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, had recently at a media briefing in Kaduna, gave all Igbo resident in the 19 states of the North a three-month ultimatum to quit or be forced out after the expiration of the October 1, 2017 deadline.
The National President of the Northern Emancipation Network, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, who read the text of the briefing claimed that the Igbo had become a threat to national unity, as he noted that the ultimatum was informed by the persistence for the actualisation of Biafra. But the governors in a statement signed by the Director General of the Forum, Salihu Moh Lukman and made available to newsmen on Thursday, they expressed concern over what they called groups promoting secessionist agenda in the country.
To overcome the challenge, the governors advocated ‘’structured processes of national consultations, negotiations and invariably agreements,’’ to inspire mutual trust in the polity.
The statement read in part: ’’In line with the social democratic principles of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the PGF promotes all-inclusive government, for the development of policies and programs that improve the life of every Nigerian citizen, regardless of ethnicity and religious orientation.
‘’It is with this in mind that the Forum condemns in the strongest terms the present secessionist and separatist agitations promoting ethno-regional identity in the country. These sundry factional groups, claiming to represent different ethnic nationalities, sow seeds of disunity and promote secessionist agenda in the nation. ‘’We decry and reject their activities in all intents and purposes.
Acknowledging the rich diverse heritage of Nigeria as a country, the PGF particularly notes that the resurgence of desperate youth groups promoting ethno-regional identities and extremist positions from the different geo-political zones across the nation as currently experienced is a reflection of prevalent weak governance, economy and law enforcement system in Nigeria.
‘’The challenge before us as Nigerians therefore is to commit ourselves to the unity of the country. We must create by all means necessary, a country that we can collectively call our home, irrespective of tongues and localities. This is a vision the APC as a party is committed to lead and for which the PGF is unapologetically and intrinsically loyal. These threats to national unity must cease totally and put away into history.
‘’While acknowledging that as a nation, we do have challenges, PGF believe that the resolution of those challenges rest with the development of our democracy and with it, the ascendancy of structured processes of national consultations, negotiations and invariably agreements. Some of the challenges are highlighted in the accompanied PGF Position – There has to be a Nation First. As Governors elected under APC, we will work with our party leaders, the Federal Government and all Nigerians who are committed to democratic development all parts of the country to ensure unencumbered protection of lives of all citizens in every part of the territorial boundary of our nation.
‘’PGF therefore call for the rise of all decent voices across this country to speak up against the upsurge of some desperate irredentist movements across all ethnic groups and support the emergence of a stronger and virile unified Nigeria for us all. The Forum insists that, regardless of our diverse identities and whatever differences, Nigeria has to thrive. Hence, There has to be a nation first.’’