Afenifere group faults ACF’s comments on unity of Nigeria

By Olaolu Oladipo, Lagos
A socio-cultural group, the Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) has faulted a statement credited to the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) in which it expressed strong support for President Buhari’s position that Nigeria’s unity is non-negotiable.Reacting to the statement, ARG in a statement signed by its Chairman, Hon. Olawale Oshun assert that neither President Buhari nor ACF love Nigeria more than those advocating the re-negotiation of the country.

In the statement obtained on Sunday, ARG state unequivocally that the unity of Nigeria is only  sustainable by voluntary acquiescence of components ethnic nationalities.

“In our view, the problem has more to do with President Buhari’s conducts – utterances and perceived lopsided appointments – which appear to portray him as a north-centric President instead of a
pan-Nigeria President.

“Both the President and ACF need to take lessons on managing an all inclusive, pan-Nigerian government. We wonder on what consensus or authority the so-termed non-negotiable unity of Nigeria stands. Is it based on government’s ability to silence all dissenters or the capability to manage a diverse society in a manner that makes every component proud?” Oshun stated.

He added that “Nigeria was envisioned by its founding fathers as a federal republic, sadly its governance structure as dictated by its constitution is akin to that of a unitary state. Hence, the insistence
of ACF and by extension the President to keep the provisions of Nigeria’s constitution from being renegotiated is a cause of many unsolvable agitations in the country.

“These agitations can only be managed successfully and sustainably when all Nigerians appreciate that they need one another to bequeath a strong country on the coming generations.

“Yoruba people will never agree to becoming slaves in their country and the peaceful agitation coming from their space on the restructuring of Nigeria, as against the violent agitations coming from other areas, is to carefully underscore our belief in peaceful change, the mantra under which the last election was won and lost.”

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