Democracy Day Special: Osinbajo urges IPOB, others to stop secession bid
The Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has appealed to Nigerians to eschew violence and division as the country is big enough to accommodate all differences, an appeal that appears targeted at pro-Biafra groups fanning secessionist moves in the country.
Osinbajo made the appeal in his message to the citizens to mark 18 years of unbroken democracy in the country and the second anniversary of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
Although he did not mention any group or anyone in his speech, his appeal was unmistakably directed at secessionist groups, such as Indigenous People of Biafra and MASSOB, planning a sit-at-home protest on 30 May, the day Biafra Republic was declared in 1967 by Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu.
Osinbajo urged the different groups who felt aggrieved with anything in the country to apply peaceful and legal means to express their wishes.
“Nigeria belongs to all of us.
“No one person or group of persons is more important or more entitled than the other in this space that we all call home.
“And we have a responsibility to live in peace and harmony with one another, to seek peaceful and constitutional means of expressing our wishes and desires.
“And to resist all who might seek to sow confusion and hatred for their own selfish interests,’’ he said.
Osinbajo noted that while we all daily pre-occupy ourselves with pursuing the Nigerian Dream, it was inevitable that grievances and frustrations would arise from time to time.
He said: “This is normal.
“What is not normal, or acceptable, is employing these frustrations as justification for indulging in discrimination or hate speech or hateful conduct of any kind.’’
Osinbajo also explained that it was abnormal to seek to undermine by violent or other illegal means, the very existence of the sovereign entity that has brought us together as brothers and sisters and citizens.
The acting president said there was much work to be done, adding “ Nigeria is on a journey of greatness, and together we shall arrive at the destination of our dreams’’.
The acting president also called for continued prayers of Nigerians for the restoration to full health and strength and the safe return of our president.
He congratulated everyone on the “commemoration of this important day in the democratic calendar of our country and prayed God to bless the citizens and the federation.