By Chimezie Godfrey
The immediate past President of the Senate, Abubakar Bukola Saraki has called for the efforts of all stakeholders in order to douse the tension generated by the herders crises in Oyo and Ondo states.
In a statement on Sunday, Saraki expressed concern over the recent development in Oyo and Ondo States where quit notices were issued to Fulani herders with subsequent destruction of their properties in some parts of Oyo state.
Saraki stressed that these happenings have increased tension and unduly raised the temperature in the country.
According to him, the ugly development in these two states are symptomatic of the continued threat to the unity of the country that has been witnessed on a higher scale in recent times and in different parts of the country, including the South-East
and South-South zones.
He said, “At this point, I strongly appeal to all of us to work for peace and take initiatives that can douse tension. Both the elite and ordinary people have a responsibility to begin to take measures that will reassure the people across board that a united Nigeria will benefit everybody better than a disintegrated country.
“The deafening silence by key stakeholders, leaders and others who should have spoken out, adding that this is worrisome.
“This silence is a dangerous tell-tale sign that things are wrong.
“This is not good for our country. We must all speak out and talk about the solution to this twin-problem of insecurity and threat to national unity.
“We all do not have another country to call our own other than this one country, Nigeria.
“We need to live in peace with each other and it is my prayer that Almighty God will continue to preserve the unity of the country.
“I have the conviction that there are many more things that unite us than the few points that cause disagreement among us.
“Let me use my case as an example of why this country should continue to grow as one united and progressive entity.
“I am of Fulani origin and have a Yoruba mother. My father was a Muslim and mother is Christian. Thus, I am affected on all sides by any inter-ethnic tension in this country. I am sure there are many Nigerians that are in similar situation.”
The Former Senate President added that a united Nigeria is better for the entire world than a disintegrated country.
According to him, the relevance of Nigeria in the international community is due to her size, population and collective resources.
He added that any attempt at disintegration removes the cloak of importance around Nigeria in the global community.
“We must all strive to douse the tension and keep our country together.
“This is definitely not the country we inherited from our forebears and it is not what we intend to pass on to the generation after us,”he stated.
Saraki appealed to President Buhari to provide leadership and put in place measures that will reassure all and sundry that he is working on the problems and that nobody should lose interest in a united, peaceful and progressive Nigeria.
He said,”It is important for President Muhammadu Buhari to rally all interests and everybody at the leadership levels to a round table in order to discuss and find appropriate solutions.
“Let me reiterate my earlier suggestion that President Buhari should call all relevant politicians and stakeholders together – former heads of states, retired and serving security chiefs, present and former leaders of various arms of government, traditional rulers with relevant experience, experienced youth with the technological know-how to solve security problems and even international civil servants of Nigerian origin who can help.
“Everybody must be made to contribute ideas on how to save our country from insecurity, disunity and invasion by criminals.
“Mr. President, please, call everybody together and provide the much-needed leadership to solve the problem.
“This is a period that require all hands to be on deck. This is not the time to talk of APC or PDP. It is a time for all to work for Nigeria. This is a problem for all and should be solved by all.”
Saraki also appealed to the President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawal and Femi Gbajabiamila the Speaker of the House of Representatives for urgent legislative intervention to address this urgly development.
“I want to also make a passionate plea to my brothers, Ahmed Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila, both of whom are experienced legislators, to provide far-reaching legislative intervention that will help the executive arm in the search for peace.
“The situation is getting worse by the day. Insecurity has become the order of the day and it is fueling disunity and criminal activities.
“Let me also call on all politicians who are looking towards 2023 to take over power to start pondering on what type of Nigeria will they have to administer post-2023 if the current situation continues.
“It is better for all of us to join hands together NOW to quell the raging fire of disunity, insecurity and work to mend fences,” Saraki stated.