• Senate president preaches unity among Nigerians
Nseobong Okon-Ekong in Lagos, Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja and Femi Ogbonnikan in Abeokuta
The Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Walid Jubrin, thursday condemned the call by the Miyetti Allah’s National Coordinator in Benue State, Alhaji Garus Gololo, that the President of Senate, Bukola Saraki, should resign his position immediately or be forced to do so.
This is coming as Saraki has also admonished Nigerians, irrespective of their ethnic backgrounds, to promote oneness among one another.
Also, a pressure group, the Draft Saraki Movement (DSM) has handed the Senate president a seven-day ultimatum to announce his readiness to contest the 2019 presidential election.
Speaking to journalists yesterday in Abuja, Jibrin challenged the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACABAN) to openly condemn Gololo’s statement, so that it would not be misconstrued as the general position of the association.
Jibrin, who is also the Seriki Fulani of Nasarawa State, noted that the Fulani association is now up to 25 years old.
He said when people talk of Miyetti Allah, the association should not be misconstrued as the generality of Fulanis in Nigeria.
“I will try my best to see that I bring them together, so that they would not shy away from their responsibility of defending the course of the entire Fulani. That is to say they should never engineer crisis; they should only safeguard the interest of the entire Fulani by not being agents of attack.
“We the Fulani concerned elders are now trying to bring all these Fulani associations together, so that we can talk with one voice,” he said.
The BoT chairman highlighted his efforts to address the issue of herdsmen attack in Taraba State and how he is planning to meet Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, the leadership of Tiv and the Fulani people to look at the pros and cons of the herdsmen issues.
“Like I earlier did, I went to Taraba State to meet with the governor, the leaders and Fulani elders, and the meeting is yielding results. I intend to go to Benue State to meet the governor, the leadership of Tiv people and the Fulani people to look at the pros and cons of the issues of Fulani herdsmen. This can only be solved by dialogue and mediation. We should not be tired of discussing these issues, so that the matter will die down and everybody will appreciate one another.
“We, Fulani will also educate our people to understand the Nigeria problem, the problem of rearing and also to find many alternatives and most importantly, to educate our Fulani children so that most of these problems will reduce,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Saraki has admonished Nigerians, irrespective of their ethnic backgrounds, to promote oneness among one another.
Saraki stated this thursday at the 2018 edition of Ojude-Oba festival held at Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State.
The Senate president, who was the special guest of honour, was greeted with applause on his arrival.
He highlighted the importance of “Ojude Oba” as a cultural festival that “fosters unity” among the Ijebus.
Accompanied by Senators Dino Melaye (Kogi State); Ben Bruce (Bayelsa State); Mrs Abiodun Olujimi (Ekiti State); Duro Faseyi (Ekiti State); Buruji Kashamu (Ogun State); Shaba Lafiaji (Kwara State), Sam Anyanwu (Imo State); his media aide, Olaniyonu Yusuph, and others, Saraki urged Nigerians to emulate the Ijebu people, who despite their diversity of faiths, live and interact harmoniously with one another.
He further described the over 100 years old festival as a “noble culture” that has continued to serve as a veritable rallying point for all the sons and daughters of the Ijebu nation.
The Senate President said whenever the issue of “resilience and dynamism of culture” is being discussed, ‘Ojude-Oba’ readily comes to mind, adding that the festival has continued to grow from strength to strength, because of the leadership quality of the Awujale of Ijebu land, Oba Sikiru Adetona.
Saraki noted that it has also become obvious that only quality leadership could engender progress and development, such as the type witnessed in Ijebuland.
He commended the Awujale whose unifying force, he said, is an attestation to his good leadership, not only in Ijebuland and Ogun State, but also in the entire country.
He however, described the horse-riding by the family of horse riders and descendants of the Baloguns which was a noticeable feature of the “Ojude-Oba” carnival as one that depicts the festival’s nobleness.
According to him, Nigeria should draw strength from her diversity, like the Ijebu people, and not use her diversity to create barrier or draw a wedge to threaten national unity and progress.
He urged Nigerians, particularly leaders, to create programmes that would engender unity and peaceful co-existence among the people.
“Ojude Oba fosters unity among all Ijebu people, and this is another way in which we, as a nation, could take a leaf from this festival.
Unity is paramount; unity is key. When we are united, we achieve more. When we are united, we record monumental progress.
“I urge us all, therefore, to pursue more activities that will unite our various peoples. Our diversity is our strength. We must, therefore, continue to initiate programmes that will bring us together and further highlight the fact that we are one and the same.
“In over a century of Ojude Oba, Ijebu citizens have shown us that unity will always lead to progress, and that there is strength in unity. This is a shining example for us all,” Saraki explained.
In another development, a pressure group, the Draft Saraki Movement (DSM) has handed Saraki a seven-day ultimatum to announce his readiness to contest the 2019 presidential election.
According to the group, Saraki’s refusal to heed the call would be termed a great disservice to the Nigerian people.
The group stated that given Saraki’s pedigree and sacrifice in standing with the Nigerian people despite all forms of intimidation, his wealth of experience in public service would be deeply appreciated if he applied it on the governance of the nation.
The DSM in a communiqué released after its inaugural meeting in Abuja yesterday and signed by its National Coordinator and Secretary, Dr. Abdallah Maiyaki Anas and Rev Ephraim Egbuojah Japheth, respectively, stated that the youthful and rare leadership qualities exhibited by Saraki have endeared him to the Nigerian electorate, and given hope to the common man that with the right president, the nation’s quest for security, growth and development would be speedily enhanced, just as would be its pride of place in the international community.
“His sacrifice to keep the nation’s democracy intact despite all manner of intimidation, harassment, onslaught, mudslinging and various acts of humiliation , shows the resilient Nigerian spirit which our founding fathers were known for, with some sacrificing their lives for it,” the group said .