FG Will Address Legitimate Agitations by Ethnic Nationalities, Says Osinbajo

Yemi Osinbajo
Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo

• Saraki encourages submission of petitions against all forms of injustice to Senate

Omololu Ogunmade and Damilola Oyedele in Abuja

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday assured Nigerians that the federal government would address the grievances being expressed by the different ethnic nationalities in the country.
Osinbajo equally said that the government was not deaf to such genuine demands, but counselled that every demand should be expressed graciously and managed with mutuality rather than with scorn and disdain.

Osinbajo’s promise to Nigerian came on the heels of a similar one by Senate President Bukola Saraki who has asked citizens to submit petitions against all forms of injustice to the Senate, promising them that their grievances will be thoroughly investigated.

The acting president made this remark while giving a summary of his recent consultations with leaders of thought, traditional and religious rulers from the South-east and North over their respective agitations for secession and the quit notice to Igbos in the North, governors and media executives.

He recalled that “the meetings were convened to provide a platform for frank and open discussions between the concerned stakeholders and by extension the Nigerian public on issues relating to the unity, peace and security of country”.
According to a statement by his media aide, Mr. Laolu Akande, the acting president said the government would “continue to actively engage with different segments of the Nigerian population at different stages and format in the near future”.

He added: “The meetings were convened to provide a platform for frank and open discussions between the concerned stakeholders and by extension, the Nigerian public on issues relating to the unity, peace and security of country.

“The meetimgs touched on various issues relating to the ethnic agitations that have manifested most recently in a call for secession by some groups of youth from the South-east, and an ultimatum by Northern youths for south-easterners living in the North to leave the region by 1st October 2017.

“The meetings established common grounds on a number of issues, as follows: condemned all the hateful and divisive rhetoric by the concerned groups of Northern and Southeastern youths.
“Affirmed the primacy of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the ultimate basis for the unity of Nigeria. That Constitution guarantees freedom of residence and of movement for all Nigerians anywhere in the country, without fear of discrimination or prejudice.

“Affirmed the need to draw a line between the freedom of expression guaranteed by the Constitution and the degeneration of such expression into hateful rhetoric, prejudice and hatred. Under no circumstances will government condone or tolerate hate speech in any way or form.

“Affirmed the necessity of confronting all grievances and frustrations head-on, however uncomfortable that might seem now; instead of ignoring issues and allowing them to fester.
“Affirmed the need for all leaders and elders, regardless of political or ideological persuasion, to speak out more forcefully to counter divisive and hate speech and any form of warmongering.”

The statement added that Osinbajo expressed appreciation to all the leaders for their time and commitment to the unity, peace and progress of the Nigerian nation.
It added: “He also assures the Nigerian people of the determination and resolve of the Buhari administration to ensure their well-being and security at all times.

“The federal government will continue to actively engage with Nigerians of all shades and opinions in its bid to move the country forward on a path of socio-economic development and ultimate greatness.”
Akande recalled that the acting president at the consultative meetings cautioned that “there is a point where a line has to be drawn, and that is when conversations or agitations degenerate into hateful rhetoric, where the narrative descends into pejorative name-calling, expressions of outright prejudice and hatred”.
He further quoted Osinbajo as stating: “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 and disdain.
“All of us have agreed that our nation must remain one… I think that there is clarity as to that one thing, that our country ought to remain, must remain, a united country.

“It will be wrong of us to approach our grievances by threatening to disobey the laws or by threatening the integrity of our nation.
“I firmly believe that we ought to address these agitations and proclamations urgently and decisively. Burying our heads in the sand and expecting the storms to blow over of their own accord is not an option.
“One thing is clear – violence and war are not going to do anyone any good. They are easy to start but near impossible to end.

“We are witnesses to the unspeakable devastation that war continues to inflict across the world. No one who has seen the horrors of war – even merely on television – would wish it on their worst enemy.
“Our emotions must not be allowed to run wild in such a way as to endanger the lives of so many.”
Also, Saraki yesterday urged Nigerians to submit petitions against all forms of injustice to the Senate, assuring them that their grievances would be investigated and addressed.

Saraki, speaking in a video interview published on the official twitter handle of the Senate, @NGRSenate, said the Eighth Senate was committed to addressing all petitions brought before it.
He added that it was necessary that Nigerians were aware that they could get justice through the parliament by submitting their petitions through the lawmakers representing them.

“We represent Nigerians, we are voted for that. The difference between democracy and military rule is the parliament. In my constituency, Kwara Central, if anybody feels there has been injustice against him anywhere in the system, it is me that he comes to and says you are representing me, fight for me, these are my issues,” Saraki said.
The Senate President, in the video, which was less than two minutes long, added that the Eighth Senate has already been at the forefront of addressing all forms of injustice against Nigerians with the finalisation of 70 petitions in the two years of its existence.

This number, Saraki noted, was more than the total number of petitions addressed by some of the preceding assemblies.
“Over the years, nobody attended to as many petitions but we have treated 70-something petitions in two years. I know a Senate that treated only five petitions. So there is an avenue now for Nigerians to go to if they feel there has been injustice,” he said.

He cited the example of a petition addressed by the Senate: “We had a gentleman who was unfairly relieved of his duties in one of the agencies. He then died, the widow was left in anguish for so many years,” he said, adding that the matter was eventually brought to the Senate’s attention through a petition.

The Senate heard the petition and directed the agency in question to pay the late man’s entitlements, including death benefits to his widow and the children, Saraki recalled.
With this, the widow was able to start a business to support the family, he added.
“That is what we are here for, those are the opportunities we create, Nigerians should know that there is somewhere they can run to so that they can get justice individually or collectively or as a community,” the Senate President added.

  • FirecloudOFGOD

    Saraki, my submission is the blatant corruption that reeks to high heavens from the Senate that you head. We should deal with that first!
    Orji Kalu says Nigerian Justice is the best in Africa!
    Do you agree with him in light of your experience so far?

  • Amoto

    Thank God the Senate is just waking up to its responsonsibility. If you had carried out your duty as expected, no section of the country would be crying marginalization. Now you can call on all the aggrieved parties to come and explain their definition of marginalization. Don’t they have required number of senators, and representatives from the House? Were they shortchanged in the appointment of ministers from their region? These are pertinent questions to unravel marginalization.
    People can’t claim marginalization simply because they have not been the president of the country. The paramount issue is restructuring of the country and let’s take a critical look at this Presidential system of government. It is killing us. The cost is overbearing. If we should continue with this method then let us slash the salaries of the political office holders (the president, vice president, deputy governors, senators, representatives, the house of assembly members, governors, ministers, commissioners, special advisers etc.) by half and then increase the salaries of the civil servants by three. This will reduce the gap between the political office holders and the civil servants. Now let’s move away from thinking that Nigeria’s unity is not negotiable to fact that the unity is quite negotiable now if we really want to strengthen the fibre that hold us together. And that is by coming to the table to discuss how best the country should be restructured to the benefit of all of us. The more we dodge this aspect, the more our unity is threatened. Our leaders are not helping the matter. Nothing is working in system because we have selfish and greedy leaders who only think of themselves. If things continue like this something more than war would happen. Note that we may have the likes Jerry Lorring of Ghana in Nigerian Army and it ‘ll take him only six months to fix things up. I hope it would not come to that with all these mess by the so called elites. Nothing is working, we are paying heavily for darkness without meter, industries are producing with generators 24/7 all the year round, with the cost transferred to us, the major roads are bad, and now the country is plunged in another debts that will take generations after us to pay. Our leaders should wake up.

  • Bambam

    The short dwarf..fake pastor and professor is all talk and empty air…full of platitudes and beatitudes..but has no clue what to do..clueless professor!!

  • princegab

    Oga Ag, and his ligislooter counterpart, you people are con artists like ibb the evil genius. Pretending to cry when the head is already servered? Continue in yourself deceit. That is exactly what brought us to this point of no return. Nigeria is a failed state because you leader lootered it inside out. I have a solution for you but not until saraki and danladi are lodged in kirikiri.
    Until then, Nigeria adieu.

  • Mystic mallam

    “We all have agreed that Nigeria must remain One”. – Osinbajo. Question: who are we all; and when did we all reach this agreement; and what are the terms of that agreement? These are tough questions for a man with a half mandate [if that] to deal with. To that extent one has to feel truly sorry for Mr Osinbajo who is expected to be executing the preferred policies of his sick boss – i.e to keep Nigeria one at all costs and by any means. This includes pretended deafness to the rising storm of agitations to restructure the country back to the truly federal union that its nationalist founders negotiated and agreed upon. I cannot see any other way the Ag.P could properly address the grievances of the various ethnics irrespective of the form and manner they are presented. Maybe, now that he has the voices of some of his own party chieftains, the APC and PDP State governors, and the architects of ”non-negotiable unity” backing restructuring, he has a window of opportunity to fine-tune his own rhetoric, if not his policy actions, to stream himself into the rising tide of popular will. To continue preaching mutual love and accommodation is good, but grossly insufficient to heal the mortal wounds that protracted unitary rule has wrecked on Nigeria. The unitary system has run its course, the time for true change has come, anyone, politicians or plebeians standing on the way of that change will be swept away like loose reed in the storm.

  • Romla

    Good talk from the Ag.President.”Grieviances should be expressed graciously and managed with mutuality”.You are right that we should all learn that from the past that noise making,threats,boasting and grand standing leads to calamity.No sensible person is phased by it.Continue to work with wisdom and confidence.

  • Daniel Obior

    For a country created against the will of the different groups of people in a forced amalgamation, all political agitations become legitimate. All parties must come to the negotiation table and chart a way forward. This country can no longer hide under the false slogan of “The Unity of Nigeria is Not Negotiable”. Enough of the “Monkey de work, Baboon de chop”.

    • Sai Baba

      Na you be the BABOON!

      • Daniel Obior

        Why your conscience de worry you, DONKEY?

    • Ade Whenu

      We seem to be permanently stuck in repeating the same arguments over and over again. We are beginning to sound like a broken record.

      My question how do we formulate a formidable action plan to start to dismantle this evil system? IPOB and co have got the ball rolling. What can we do to help the process along?

      I accept our political structures are crap, but we need to start channelling our concerns and frustration through our respective representatives. Yes, they might not do much, but it will be on record we tried.

      The masses should stop insulting and calling each names but work together to fight the evil elite.

      So as oppose to regurgitating the same points day in day out, let us move to the realms of coming up with ideas to make the elite listen and do something about plight.

      Everyone from Atiku to IBB are all going to the press to say they favour restructuring, yet they do not impress on their gangs of thieves and rogues to implement it.

      The elites do not lose sleep because they know all we the masses do is talk, blow grammar on social media and insult each other, with no consequences to the status quo.

      • Daniel Obior

        The problem is that we try to make a simple issue difficult. There is nothing wrong in repeating the same arguments if the arguments make sense, but those in a position to do something choose to be deaf to the arguments. Restructuring the country back to the federal system it was is not rocket science. We were there before and can get back there, if we discard this intransigence of refusing to discuss it. The only way to force the elites to pay attention is to keep the pressure on, in whatever groups or fora. We may not like the IPOBs, NDAs, MENDs, etc, of the day. But through their pressure, the issues are now on the front burner. The elites will not give in until seriously pushed. The push has started.

        • William Norris

          Do you really think the PUSH will produce the desired results? In our lifetime? I seriously doubt it. THE PEOPLE of Nigeria, the ORDINARY NIGERIAN, are more invested in the current system than you think. It goes beyond the political structure, the WAY OF BEING in Nigeria has been warped to fit the present neo-colonial structure.

          The British proved that their imperial expertise with Nigeria. They constructed a perfect prison where the inmates don’t even want to be free.

          • Daniel Obior

            We sure need more that the push. But in the absence of other things, it is necessary to keep the push on, in the hope other things may come.

  • Sarah

    See Nigerian Elite gushing with assurances now that the youth are threatening to burn down the country. We know you only want to preserve your access to the honey pot.
    Ag. President Osinbajo please decisively pacify/persuade/suppress this festering drift towards national anomie before mid-September 2017. Failing which you should RESIGN or be IMPEACHED.
    The unity and peace of Nigeria is more important than the Buhari Presidency.
    God Bless Nigeria.

    • Jon West

      See the kettle calling the pot black. You are as frightened of losing the Nigeria of your dream as these elite you are accusing. Now you want Osinbajo impeached and you realize that peace and real unity in Nigeria are more important than the Presidency of a Fulani Dullard? Really?

      My dear girl, your name should be Paul and you should be on your way to Damascus. Thanks to the bandit Nnamdi Kanu and his IPOB rabble, perhaps Nigeria could be saved ,if for nothing, for the sake of the Black peoples of the world, who think that this Zoo counts for something.

      • Sarah

        All injustices in my BELOVED Nigeria can be addressed through our constitutional framework, including, as a last resort, use of WAR.
        The individual you aptly referred to as a bandit had taken Igbo youth to verge of the same hole Ojukwu took their ancestors in 1967. Good thing his elders (who witnessed 1967) Nwodo/Soludo have proclaimed an alternative narrative of economic development.
        This alongside Osinbajo’s drive, might avert WAR if the bandit and his ilk will learn from history.
        The jury is still out.

        • Akaraka

          This war and the propagates of it, that you use so much as a threat and so sure of winning, might engulf you by surprise. This is 2017, not 1966.
          Be warned.

          • Sarah

            I am working to PREVENT war by encouraging Ndigbo to keep within our constitutional framework.

          • Gloveman

            Sarah, how do you expect a group (Igbo in this case) that is significantly disadvantaged in terms of representation to make changes to the system using the same constitution that disadvantaged them? How?

            How will such change be possible? The only reasonable way now after many decades of begging with the attendant humiliation is either to opt out or wholesome restructuring that will guarantee reasonable autonomy to the Igbo.

            Hong Kong and Macau have reasonable autonomy from mainland China, even Zanzibar is reasonably autonomous from Tanzania. What is wrong in adopting a similar approach to these troublesome Igbo?

            As it is now, Nigeria is gone, unfortunately. IPOB will say that the Zoo must fall!

            What do you think?

        • benedict chindi

          What constitution? You mean the one promulgated by the military decree of the Abdulsami regime? The one that lied against itself – “we the people…”, when the people had nothing to do with it?

          Ok then…

          • Daniel Obior

            Brilliant response. How can anyone with a sane mind refer positively to the 1999 constitution which we all know is a fraud by the northern military dictators to give undue advantages to their part of the country? This young lady or whatever, must be out of her mind.

          • Sarah

            All 5 Igbo states sent delegates to the assembly that created that document.

          • Gloveman

            Really? when and where?

        • Jon West

          Why are people obsessed with the threat and blackmail of war? Who wants war and for what? The war was fought in 1966-1970 and fifty years after, there cannot be another war.

          Parasites are afraid of losing their hosts and are blackmailing the hosts for a maintenance of the bloodsucking status quo through threats of violence. IPOB dont want war, they want some seperation from the Zoo, a desire that many other interest groups have now keyed into.
          The Soludo group are internal to the desire of IPOB. You cannot have economic development if you are surrounded by the irredeemable and unreformable(apologies to Ngozi Okonjo Iweala). The Igbo can compete with the rest of the world, but they must have some autonomy, in order to do so. That is the gist of IPOB. Biafra is just a euphemism for space to actualize group potential.

          • Sarah

            What exactly is this ‘autonomy’ you are talking about if not a first step towards secession. All 5 Igbo states are parasites in the Nigerian Federation like most others. The ONLY net contributors are Lagos, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom.
            No Nigerian law prohibits Igbo states from jointly co-owning assets, Anyaoku led Orient Petroleum is a case in point. During Jonathan’s regime Stella Oduah got international status for Enugu

          • Sarah

            What is this thing you call “…they must have some autonomy…” if not a first step towards secession?
            All 5 Igbo States are parasites in the Nigerian Federation like most others. Only Lagos, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers and Akwa Ibom are net contributors.
            No Nigerian law(s) prevent the 5 Igbo states from jointly owning assets and the Emeka Anyaoku led Orient Petroleum is a case in point. Stella Oduah got international status for Enugu airport and Ethiopian Airlines landed there directly from Addis Ababa (or so we were told). Gov Peter Obi’s consortium won concession for 2nd Niger Bridge. Barth Nnaji’s Geometrics is generating power but being held back by fellow Igbo Emeka Offor.
            In short, Igbos have all the freedom, short of independence, that they need to turn their land into the envy of the world should they so desire.

      • Akaraka

        Lucid, as usual.

    • Ade Whenu

      Currently, I have resigned to the fact God has no interest or involvement in the affairs of Nigeria. As the country is plagued with self centred, arrogant, evil, thieves, rogues, fanatics, extremist, wicked ……. The list goes on.

      Even our men of God are at the forefront of screwing the gullible poverty stricken masses.

      So, a country with these kind of people, can never be peaceful or a united place.

      We always blame everyone else for our plight, yet the evil characteristics inherent in Nigerians, is deeper than tribe and religion.

      After we have hopefully agreed on a political system, whether together or separately, it will dawn on us all that it is our individual greed, selfishness, lack of consideration for each other, wickedness etc that is the root cause of our problems.

      • Akaraka

        You said it all, dispassionately.

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