Igbos Must Remain in the North, Gov Ganduje Insists

  •   As Anglican Church urges caution on restructuring debate

Ibrahim Shuaibu in Kano and Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt

Kano State Governor, Alhaji Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has asserted that as leaders in Northern Nigeria, all governors in the region are solidly against ethnic prejudice, as promoted by certain groups of youth.

Ganduje also declared categorically that Igbos in the region will stay forever, when he received leaders of the Igbo Delegates Assembly, led by the President- General, Chief Chi Nwogu, at the Government House in Kano weekend.
According to him, even foreigners are residing comfortably in Kano and other parts of Northern Nigeria and are engaged in legitimate ventures.

“Even if you want to go on your own, we will not allow you to leave. There is a difference between ‘I will not go’ and ‘there is nowhere I can go’. You don’t have anywhere to go; this place is your home”, the governor told the delegation.

Ganduje also added that there was no basis to threaten other Nigerians, who collectively fought for the nation’s independence. “Those advocating ethnic agitation from the East are not speaking for all Igbos. Those of us, who as youth witnessed the Civil war, will never advocate secession”, he stated.

Governor Ganduje said the Northern youth who issued quit notice to Igbos in the region have also been called to order by elders, civic and political leaders, including governors and the Sultan of Sokoto, because all well-meaning people believe in one Nigeria.

“When you have youths who have no elders, they are similar to riding a horse without a bridle. It can behave anyhow and anything can happen. This is what is happening”, he said.

He described the reconciliatory meeting between the IDA leadership and Coalition of Northern youths as timely, asserting that all ethnic groups in the country have advantages, which if collectively harnessed, would make the country greater.

“What is happening in Sudan is a lesson for all of us. The breakup of that country has not taken them anywhere. We cannot afford to make that type of mistake”, he said.

In his remarks, the President-General, Igbo Delegates Assembly, Chief Nwogu, said they were in Kano to meet the Coalition of Northern Youth Groups, in respect of the quit notice issued Igbos in the North by the youths. “Both of us have agreed to set up a committee to sort out things and ensure that there is peace”, he stressed.

Governor Ganduje also met with members of the Coalition of Northern Youth Groups, where he expressed happiness that they have listened to the voices of elders and accepted to stride the path of peace.

Meanwhile, as sections of the polity continue to clamour for the restructuring of the country, the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has warned that the nation is sitting on a time-bomb unless the leaders take steps to address the issue.

The church advised Nigerians leaders at all levels to shun all forms of hypocrisy and support moves for the re-structuring of the country and institutionalise true federalism.

The call was contained in a communique issued by the Diocese of Evo, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) in Rivers State at the end of the Second Session of its Third Synod held at Elelenwo, Obio, Port Harcourt, weekend.

The communique, which was signed by the Diocesan Bishop, Rt. Rev. Innocent Ordu; Acting Clerical Synod Secretary, Rev. Gospel Onuchukwu; and the Lay Synod Secretary, Sir Emma Izuehie, advised all arms of government not to foreclose the issue of restructuring.

This is as it lauded the Federal Government and the National Assembly for reinstating Christian Religious Knowledge (CRK) in the curriculum of the mainstream public schools in the country.
The Church said the calls for restructuring of the country have been as a result of dissatisfaction of sections of the nation on how the country is being run.

It reads in part, “Synod notes the calls for the restructuring of the Nigerian state and acknowledges that the calls have been as a result of dissatisfaction of sections of the nation on how the country is being run, perceived and real marginalisation and need for resource control, equity and fair play in major Federal Government appointments in keeping with the Constitutional provisions for Federal Character.

“The Synod therefore calls on leaders at all levels of government to shun all forms of hypocrisy and support the move for the restructuring of the country and institutionalise fiscal federalism.

“Considering the recent decision of the National Assembly on the matter, Synod advises all arms of Government not to foreclose the issue as Nigeria would be sitting on a time-bomb if the issue of restructuring is not properly addressed. The time to act is now.

“The Synod commends the Federal Government and the National Assembly for reinstating Christian Religious Knowledge (CRK) in the mainstream public schools’ curriculum.

“The Synod notes the increasing decadence in the society, advises the youth to imbibe self and corporate discipline in their attitude to life, education and work; being conscious of their identity, speech, dressing and actions to ensure a good future for themselves and society”, it added.

The Church frowned on the increase in corruption, extortion, examination malpractices, sexual assaults on women and children and other violent crimes in the state and called on government to strengthen the agencies responsible for relevant laws and prosecution of offenders.

It however commended Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on steps he has taken to quell tension generated by some leaders who had been fanning the embers of dissension and hatred in the country, but demanded that government must divest itself of every vestige of partiality and religious bias as mere condemnation without concrete actions to punish offenders amounts to bare-faced hypocrisy.

The Synod also called on government at all levels to put in place national ethos and fundamental principles of decent human conducts as this would help to maintain orderliness in the society.