Former vice president Atiku Abubakar has warned that Nigeria is gradually drifting away and called on the governors to take charge and address topical issues affecting the country instead of waiting for the Federal Government to act.
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Atiku said this in a statement he published on his Twitter handle on Sunday in an apparent response to the resolutions reached by the southern governors, popularly known as the Asaba Accord, recently.
The southern governors had at their meeting in Asaba, the Delta State capital, on Tuesday announced the ban on open grazing across the region.
They also asked President Muhammadu Buhari to address the nation; and also demanded the restructuring of the country, saying there is an urgent need for the president to convene a national dialogue.
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In his reaction, Atiku insisted that the difference between Nigerians is not North and South, but between good and bad.
The former vice president blasted the Federal Government for lack of action, saying that if all sensitive issues such as insecurity were tackled at the central level, there would not be a need for governors to gather at the regional level to make declarations or for some persons to be agitating for their ethnic nations to secede away from Nigeria.
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He insisted that what is important for the country is for Nigerians to speak with one voice instead of addressing issues in fragments and, therefore, called on “those who are good should come together to show those who are bad that we are in the overwhelming majority”.
He emphasised the need for all governors to convene a national unity summit to tackle insecurity in the country.
The statement read: “The truth is that if at a National level, we address these unNigerian tendencies immediately and dispassionately, we would not have Nigerians congregating at a regional or sub-regional level to address these issues.
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“What our present challenges therefore call for is not fragmentation but concentration. We must concentrate and focus our national willpower and resolve towards fighting these unNigerian tendencies.
“Governors representing some states have met. And I completely understand the necessity of their meeting and the wisdom of their decisions. But no matter how much you try to clap with one hand, the vibrations will not be the same as when you clap with two hands.
“We have a national challenge. And as Albert Einstein said, ‘We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them’.
“These problems were created by those with a regional mindset, and will not be solved by those with a similar mindset.
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“For too long, we have erroneously thought that the power to make effective changes lies at Aso Rock. But without the states, nobody can get to Aso Rock. That is why for anyone to emerge as President of Nigeria, he or she must secure enough votes in two-thirds of the states that make up the Nigerian federation.
“Let us apply this wisdom to our present challenges. I call on Nigerian Governors to stop waiting on Abuja to make changes, and instead convene a National Unity Summit of all Nigerian Governors to iron out the thorny issues affecting the destiny of our nation until they figure out a way to resolve them.”
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Atiku urged the governors to put aside their partisan interest and come together to work for the good of the country and secure its future.
He also urged the governors to collaborate with their federal and state lawmakers in order to ensure that their resolutions become legitimate laws in order to save the country from the grip of insecurity.
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The statement read: “Forget about your party. Forget about your tribe. Respect your religion and allow it to bring out the better part of you. Meet together. Talk together. Come up with the solutions to all our collective challenges.
“And then go back to your states, and consult with your federal and state legislators, with a view to getting them to work with their colleagues to implement the solutions you came up with.
“That is how to save Nigeria.
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“To keep waiting for this Federal Government to take the lead, and effect the changes that Nigeria needs to stop drifting, is to keep waiting for Godot. And that is a luxury we cannot afford.
“We cannot afford it because, according to the Global Terror Index, our beloved nation is now the third most terrorised nation on Earth. We are featuring prominently on the Failed States Index, and the symbols of our nation, our currency, our passport, and our international standing are fast losing value.
“To quote Einstein again, ‘Those who have the privilege to know have the duty to act’. We do know that our Governors know that all is not well with Nigeria. That is why they have been meeting. At regional and sub regional levels. That knowledge comes with a duty to act, and to act together. Because if we do not act together, then the alternative is that we fall asunder. And God forbid that should ever be our fate.
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“We must be mindful of the fact that one in four Africans is a Nigerian. And one in seven Black people on Earth is Nigerian. Therefore, being so centrally placed by God, it ought to be clear to us that it is our duty to be a beacon of light to the Black World.
“If we succeed as a nation, our successes will resonate beyond our borders. It will give hope to the Black Diaspora and increase the standing of Black people all over the world.”