The Yoruba socio-cultural group, the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), has sued for peace in the raging face-off over the October 1 ultimatum that a coalition of Arewa youths issued last week, ordering Igbo indigenes to vacate Northern Nigeria.
In a statement released in Lagos at the weekend, Founder and President of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), Dr. Frederick Fasehun, said considering the current travails Nigeria was going through, everyone owed it a duty not to complicate matters by opening new vistas of trouble.
“What would happen should the Yoruba decide to issue this same ultimatum to Northerners living in the South-West? And what if the Igbo give a deadline to the Hausa-Fulani and the Yoruba living in the South-East? And the Middle-Belters now decide they do not want to see the Hausa-Fulani and Igbo groups?”
He thought it paradoxical that while the great Nationalist, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, wanted a united Africa, his followers and disciples were clamouring for a shredded Nigeria.
“Any call to division is unfair, uncalled for and ill-advised in this age of anomie, when Nigeria needs everyone’s energy, cooperation and prayers to build a nation where peace, happiness and plenty will reign.
“As small nations can only aspire to become great, not vice versa, Nigeria’s greatness will come about as a function of the mutual understanding, love and cooperation of her people. Let us all bear in mind that no nation or part thereof is great without pervasive cooperation among her citizens.”
Reacting to spokesman of Arewa elders Dr. Ango Abdullahi’s backing of the ultimatum, Fasehun said old politicians ought to offer peace instead of fanning the embers of division.
Addressing the youths, Fasehun said: “Nigeria belongs to the youth. They should not keep quiet while their fathers are busy shredding Nigeria.”
He called for Nigerians to use the period of the holy month of Ramadan for national prayers, as the country could not survive the current buffeting without the intervention of the Creator.
He said: “Those who govern us have been unkind to all and each of us. Individual reprisals will be a burden too great to hand out to an innocent country. Let the anger of the furious come down so that the joy of the joyous may be pervasive and common.
“General Buhari’s government should not be true to type. Too many people for too long have been wronged. If we all cry over division of the polity, we shall at the end become a laughing stock and finally end up with nothing to divide.”
Rather, OPC said this time in the nation’s history demanded all hands to be united against prevailing challenges like terrorism, insurgency and poverty.
Declaring that the 2014 National Conference addressed the need for restructuring, the Yoruba socio-cultural group, said, “We cannot just bury the report of such a landmark achievement, sweep it under the carpet and pretend it does not exist. Nigeria needs to dig up that report and activate its provisions, which represent the sine qua non, the irreducible minimum, for building a strong and united Nigeria.”
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