Senior Special Assistant to the president on media and publicity, Garba Shehu, Tuesday stated that President Muhammadu Buhari would not succumb to the tactics of agitators for self-determination in certain parts of the country designed to extort money from the government as was done in the past.
Addressing journalists at a media parley organized by APC Professional Forum at the party’s national secretariat, Shehu, who described those calling for secession as rabble-rousers doing so with the intent of raising unnecessary dusk to force the government to pacify them with money, stressed that President Buhari cannot be intimidated or bully into submission.
The president’s spokesman maintained that the position of the government on the situation is that Nigeria remains one united nation by the grace of God and will continue to be united.
He said, “You can’t intimidate Buhari. You can’t bully him. A lot of these people who are calling for secessions are the problem of this country and I’m happy that reasonable opinion is now being, reasonable voices are now rising. Is it not only yesterday we are reading Afenifere, the most credible faction of Afenifere saying we’re not for secession.
“The Ohanaze Indigbo has said this over and over again. So this thing about secession is, they had used it in the past. You create secession and break up Nigeria, and then you intimidate the sitting leader, and then he opens the booth, and he brings money to settle people. President Buhari will pay no one. He is not going to pay, and now it is clear that having ignored all of that, reasonable opinions are coming from those States and from those regions.
“The Governor’s in the southwest, we have all heard them, they have denounced all of these things. So it’s a shame, Nigerians want to be one, they want to continue. Yes, there are problems and we are hoping that as people united and loving of one another, we will come together and solve our problems.
On the call for a National Conference to discuss burning issues stoking the call for secession, Shehu referred to the advocates of such to resort to the national assembly.
He said, “What can National Conference do more than a parliament? In every democratic government, there must be a parliament, the executive arm of the government and the judiciary, each one being independent and cooperating with the other.
“We have an elected parliament, which mandated is to be the custodian of the sovereignty of the Nigerian people. Look, a lot of these people were crying for this secession, they are unelectable. If you think your electable go around for a parliamentary seat whether in the House of Representatives or Senate and come and table an amendment for the Constitution.
“The process is ongoing as we speak now under the Deputy Senate President. They are calling for me Memoranda, why can’t you present what you want? So the issue is that people who are not democrats want a parallel parliament to be set up and this Constitution does not recognize two parliaments in this country. We have one parliament that is sovereign, that is the custodian of the sovereignty of the Nigerian people.
“If your member representing you has failed to present this request that you want whether it is a change of the structure at state, local government or national level pull him out four years after, don’t vote for him. Put another representative who will do what you want. This is how democracy works, periodic elections.”
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