Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State has appealed to Nigerians not to allow differences and the challenges confronting various ethnic nationalities to divide them as members of a united country.
Ajimobi made this appeal in his goodwill message issued in Ibadan on Saturday by his Special Adviser on Communication and Strategy, Mr. Yomi Layinka, on the occasion of the 57th independence anniversary of Nigeria.
While admitting that many things were wrong with the current federal arrangement in Nigeria which, according to him, had put some parts of the country at a serious disadvantage, he said that things could be sorted out under, one and indivisible country.
Ajimobi said, “It is quite unfortunate that at 57, Nigerians are more divided along ethnic and religious lines than we used to be at independence in 1960. The drum of separation is being beaten now more than ever before.
“Ethnic groups with separatist agenda are springing up on daily basis, while erstwhile brothers and compatriots are taking up arms against one another, with others shouting `To thy tent, O Israel’.
“Right now, many of our countrymen see Nigeria as one alien enterprise from which they are very distant and which has no bearing on their existence. This alienation had led to the series of unwholesome developments which have put Nigeria on the map of violence-ridden countries.
“While it is true that some ethnic nationalities have not fared better under the current federal arrangement, the solution does not lie in the disintegration of the country or issuance of quit notice by one ethnic group to another.
“We are indeed better and stronger together with common aspirations in a united Nigeria.’’
Ajimobi then called for concerted efforts at combating the violence, maiming and wanton destruction of lives and property, all in the name of religious extremism.
“More fundamentally, let us combat the demon of violence and crimes that is posturing as part of our clime. We must wean our country from the hands of this unwholesome tag that is a major disincentive to growth and development.
“We should hold the relative peace in the country very sacred and deepen the confines of peace. We can do this by living peaceably with our fellow men and women and put Nigeria at the centre of our interpersonal relationships”.
Ajimobi while congratulating Nigerians on the occasion, called for more patriotism, resilience and determination on their part to ensure that the country attains greatness.