The Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has called on traditional rulers to advise misguided youths in their domains against divisive actions.
Professor Osinbajo made the call on Tuesday when he met with traditional rulers from the Northern states in continuation of his consultations with leaders of the North and South East.
The consultations follow the recent “quit notice” given to Igbos in the North by Arewa youths, in reaction to the continued agitation for secession by groups in the South East.
Professor Osinbajo, who noted that traditional rulers have a role to play in “countering the voices of divisiveness”, urged them not to relent in playing their unique roles.
“Let us continue to counsel the misguided elements among our youth, who think that ethnic confrontation is a game and that words can be thrown around carelessly without repercussion,” he said.
“Having said this, let me say that we are not deaf to the legitimate concerns and frustrations arising from around the country. Every part of Nigeria has its own grievances. But these have to be expressed graciously and managed with mutuality rather than with scorn and disdain.”
Stressing that Nigeria is stronger and better as one unified nation, the Acting President warned that the hate hate-filled and divisive rhetoric and agitations in parts of the country are “unjustifiable, unacceptable and often times illegal”.
He also stressed that such agitations were capable of rubbishing the sacrifices made by many Nigerians over the years to keep the country united.
“Nigeria has seen enough violence and bloodshed in its history, the price of our unity has already been paid in the blood and lives of hundreds of thousands of soldiers and civilians,” he said.
Professor Osinbajo assured the traditional rulers that the Federal Government is committed to keeping the country united, adding that rather than viewing the country’s diversity as a challenge, it should be a source of unity.
“We must never take our diversity for granted; the fullness of our strength actually lies in that diversity. And we must wield that diversity, not as a divisive tool, but instead as a binding agent,” he said.
Traditional rulers present at the meeting include the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III, the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara; and the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, were also among those in attendance.
The ongoing consultations by the Acting President are expected to be concluded on Wednesday with a meeting with the 36 governors.