Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the governor of Lagos State, yesterday dismissed secessionist agitation in the south-west and ruled out Nigeria’s disintegration.
The Lagos State governor said there is strength in number.
He urged Nigeria’s approximately 200 million people to take advantage of the country’s numerical strength and the beauty of its variety to promote economic success and political stability.
He emphasized that it is critical for fairness and equality to reclaim their appropriate places in national governance, so that no group feels aggrieved or marginalized in the country’s government.
Sanwo-Olu stated that he remained committed to a united and thriving Nigeria, where fairness and equitable resource sharing are the norms.
“We are talking about separatists. I have only one passport; there is nowhere I am going. We are here, we cannot continue to gloss over it and talk about what we want to break away from. Even if any breakaway will start, it will end on a table, so, let’s create that table amongst ourselves and start talking.”
“If we understand that there are different strengths in the room, let equity and fairness come into play, let’s understand what are the things you have that is bothering you and what are the things you don’t have that you want to have and let’s be able to resolve it.”
“It is not by saying that we want to go (our separate ways). Oduduwa nation, when they come, they will now realise that even Egba, Ijebu and Ekiti, also want to break away, they will never see an end to that because every clan and every race will also want something and that is where it is difficult.”
“There is strength in number, let us utilise that strength and be able to work for all of us. It is when it is not working and it is perceived as nepotism, that is when people agitate. If we are fair and have a seat for everyone, we can take this country forward. Nobody wants a war. We never know how war will end. Who is going to take us? Over 200 million people? Please, let’s be sincere and be real with ourselves.”
Sanwo-Olu urged the National Assembly to amend the 1999 Constitution to reflect the wishes of the people.
“Let’s commend the leadership of the National Assembly and let us hope that they will take these commendations and this big, bold step to a logical conclusion.”
He also advocated on fiscal federalism, devolution of power, and reorganization in order for the sub-nationals to function as efficiently as possible.
“The Federal Government is really just too big. Let’s just say it. It’s got over a thousand agencies. It’s big and it really doesn’t have a state; it is still federal.
“Let us know what the sub-nationals can do. The state governments, the local governments, are closer to the people; let them be able to deal with these issues (while the Federal Government) deal with what is uniting all of us – foreign affairs – internal security, let’s do it,” he added.
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