The Senate President Ahmed Lawan, Speaker House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and some prominent Nigerians have disagreed with the Asaba declaration made by the southern governors.
The governors’ call for the convocation of an “urgent national dialogue”, “bold steps to restructure the country”, “total ban on open grazing” and for President Muhammadu Buhari “to address the nation”, was faulted by Lawan and Gbajabiamila.
This is contrary to the backing the call got on Wednesday from senators from the South and members of the House of Representatives from the South.
Lawan accused the governors of retreating to regionalism to address a national issue that should be collectively decided upon.
Gbajabiamila, in the same vein, said to end the security challenge, all must ‘imbibe the spirit of oneness, togetherness, unity and love.”
Lawan and Gbajabiamila spoke at the Presidential Villa in Abuja after the prayer along with President Buhari. Senator Adamu spoke in Keffi, Nasarawa State, also after observing the prayers.
Lawan said: “I believe that, as leaders, especially those of us who are elected, should not be at the forefront of calling for this kind of thing because, even if you are a governor, you are supposed to be working hard in your state to ensure that this restructuring you are calling for at the federal level, you have done it in your state as well.
“What you may accuse the Federal Government of, whatever it is, you may also be accused of the same thing in your state. So, we are supposed to ensure that we have a complete and total way of ensuring that our systems at the federal, state and even local government levels work for the people.
“We should avoid regionalism. We are all leaders and we are in this together. The solutions to our challenges must come from us regardless of what level of government we are, whether at the federal, state or the local government level. I believe that Nigeria is going to come out of these challenges stronger”.
Lawan added: “I also want to take this opportunity to say that we have diminished the local government system. I think we can attribute the security issues to the absence of a functional local government system.
“I think the time has come for us to take up the challenge and ensure that the local government system functions. This is as we look for ways to curb the security challenge. We must never neglect the local government system. We must go back to our local government system to ensure they are autonomous and functional”.
Gbajabiamila said: “If truth be told, we all have equal shares in the blame for what is happening today.
“Whatever challenges we have, we must all come together to make sure that we resolve these issues we’re facing. We must imbibe that spirit of oneness, togetherness, unity and love that would take us through this.”