* Cautions against break-up of nation
By Deji Elumoye
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has cautioned those calling for the break-up of Nigeria to have a rethink, saying that now is an opportunity to increase the number of new tribe of men and women of all faith and ethnicities committed to a country run on high values of integrity, hard work, justice and love of country.
Osinbajo stated this Monday in a virtual speech delivered at the 12th colloquium to celebrate the 69th birthday of former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in Kano.
The event themed: ‘Our Common Bond, Our Common Wealth: The Imperative of National Cohesion for Growth and Prosperity’, was chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari, who also attended virtually alongside the vice-president from Aso Villa in Abuja.
Osinbajo explained that the new tribe of people should consist of professionals, businessmen, politicians, religious leaders and all others who believe that the new Nigeria is possible “and already we have built and are building the blocks for this new Nigeria”.
He warned that if Nigeria does break, visas may be needed to travel to places like Kano.
According to him, ”For the purveyors of breaking up into small components, into small countries, perhaps they should be reminded that we would not have been able to accept Governor Ganduje’s offer to come to Kano at a short notice since we would all have needed visas to come to Kano.
”We are here today to engage at another of those crucial points in our national journey. At a time when a combination of challenges worsened by the fallouts of a global pandemic has created a storm of socio-economic problems. The default mode of some at times like this is to stoke tendencies viewpoints and opinions that threaten the federation and our unity.
”Our theme focuses on peace building and national cohesion. We intend to interrogate from a national and regional perspective innovative strategies for sustaining peace and prosperity in a heterogenous society. A tribe of men and women who are prepared to make the sacrifices and self constraints that are crucial to building a strong society; who are prepared to stick together, fight for equity, and justice side by side.”
The vice-president said the initial plan was to hold a completely virtual event but Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State offered to host a physical event which would run alongside the virtual one.
He said: “By this gesture, Governor Ganduje has helped us to tell two stories; this is the first time that the colloquium is being hosted outside Lagos and Abuja, the capital city. And it is befitting that Kano should be that place, this city of radical and progressive ideas and ideologies, a city whose leading political lights have been left of centre, which is the dominant tendency within our great part, the All Progressives Congress (APC).”
Osinbajo emphasised that the ‘birthday boy’ is not afraid of having his ideas scrutinized, criticized by even subordinates, through which he is able to lead a vast array of persons of strong, deeply held convictions, and a variety of ideologies.
According to him, Tinubu’s leadership style is such that he is completely comfortable engaging across ethnic, religious, and partisan divides.
“It is his belief that national development is only possible where we, the leaders are constantly interrogating ideas, perspectives and opinions which are what led some of us who worked with him through the years, to formalise our constant debates so that on his birthday we open up discussions on some issues or issues of national importance,” the VP further said.