Contrary to the claims by many Nigerian leaders that the unity of the country is non-negotiable, a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Alhaji Babagana Kingibe, has declared that the unity of Nigeria is negotiable.
Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto State has however stated that what the country needs at this moment is a detribalised leader with a large heart to accommodate the diverse interests of the people.
Speaking Saturday at The Sun Newspaper Awards for 2020 held in Lagos, Kingibe however said even the union between a husband and wife is negotiable.
The accomplished diplomat further stated that any part of Nigeria that wants to pull out of the country should be advised to think about the implications of leaving Nigeria and what will happen to its landmass.
He reminded separatists that the land they reside would not be carved out and taken to anywhere in the event of their leaving Nigeria, pointing out that the land would remain where it is.
Kingibe, who received the newspaper’s ‘Lifetime Achievement Award,’ called on Nigerians to learn to respect one another.
He pointed out that he recorded all his achievements as a Nigerian.
“I was born in Nigeria. I was groomed in Nigeria. I believe in Nigeria. People of my generation believe in Nigeria. We have no doubt about the fact that we have no option, but Nigeria.
“However, I think that a few of my colleagues believe that the unity of Nigeria is not negotiable. Of course, it is negotiable. Even the unity of a family is negotiable. Even the constitution of husband and wife is negotiable. The moment either parties feels this union is no longer bearable, that he or she will rather go his/her way. You help them to sit down consider their condition after a careful and rational examination of the pros and cons of how to be married that they take the decision which suit them best.
“It is enough just to say I do not farewell where I am. So, I am going,” Kingibe explained.
He, however, added that any party that wants to pull out from the union should consider the implications.
“Are you sure where you are going? Are you sure of the consequence of where you are going? Do you really feel that the grass is greener on the other side? If you do, sit with your partner in respect, in mutual respect, in love if possible, but without demonising your husband or your wife because you will always remain the ex of the other person. But discuss quietly so that even if you separate in the future you can inter-relate with love and respect,” he added.
Speaking specifically on the issue of those agitating to leave the country, Kingibe said: “When we ever say we want to go away, I do not think they realise the going away. It is not that you carve out the piece of land, take it up and put it in other side of Ghana. The piece of land will be here. You will be here. Everybody will be here. And we all want to prosper. My appeal to everyone is, please, let us be respectful of one another. Let us not demonise one another. Let us respect the views of everybody,” he noted.
Kingibe hailed a former Governor of Abia State, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu for creating a platform that would enable this dialogue.
“The awardees are from everywhere. I listened carefully to the remarks made by the awardees before me. Two of them from the South-east ended their remarks by saying, I ‘believe in one Nigeria.’ I presume, it is a reflection of the fact that they achieved whatever they did because they are Nigerians. We can all achieve our goals in Nigeria. We are only part of a greater entity, be it ECOWAS. ECOWAS is one part of a greater entity called Africa and Africa exists in a globalised world.
“Wherever you go, you will remain a Nigeria, an ECOWAS citizen, an African citizen or a global citizen. So, please, let us mind our language as we address national issues. Whatever I achieved, I stood on the shoulders of great people, many of whom have deserted us, but without them, I cannot be what I am today,” Kingibe explained.
Tambuwal: We Need a Detribalised Leader
Meanwhile, Governor Tambuwal of Sokoto State has stated that what Nigeria needs at this moment is a detribalised leader with a large heart to accommodate the diverse interests of the people.
Tambuwal stated this when the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Ayokunle Samson Olasupo, paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House in Sokoto.
In a statement by Tambuwal’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Muhammad Bello, the governor argued that no one or group of people, no matter their religious affiliation or tribe can arrogate the leadership of Nigeria to themselves to the exclusion of other parts of the country.
Tambuwal noted that the leadership of the country is mutually complementary, adding that Nigeria belongs to every Nigerian and that no one will send anyone out of the country hence the need to remain together for the betterment of the country.
The Sokoto State governor insisted that the kind of leadership the country needs will understand the issues of diversities and is inclusive in his approach to governance, without tribal or religious sentiments.
Pointing out that both Islam and Christianity have been coexisting even before the union of the country came into existence, Tambuwal also added: “those who know history said Christianity and Islam belong to the same root,” stressing that “Jerusalem and Damascus” were examples of places where the two religions are being practised side by side.
”There is need for us to continue practising the teaching of the two religions as ordained by God,” he said, emphasising that “if we go by the real teachings of the two religions, there wouldn’t be friction or any reason to fight one another.”
He commended the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, and the CAN President for their efforts in preaching peace and unity in the country, stressing that Sokoto State is home to every Nigerian, irrespective of religious, tribal, or ethnic differences.
He explained that in pursuance of this objective of unity, children of other Nigerians resident in the state who attend public schools are exempted from paying fees just as the indigenes of the state enjoy free education.
Tambuwal also added that in the area of health too, the state government’s Zakkat and Waqaf Commission pays the medical bills of indigent Nigerians resident in the stateside by side those of the less-privileged state indigenes.
In his remarks, the CAN President, Olasupo said he was in the state to interact with the Sultanate, the government, and the people of Sokoto State to find ways to overcome the security challenges being faced in the country.
Calling on Muslims and Christians to live in harmony, Olasupo condoled the people of the state over the loss of lives occasioned by the unfortunate incident of bandits’ attacks in some communities of the state.
He expressed appreciation to the state government for its giant stride in providing security in the state.