By GBENGA OLARINOYE

 


OSOGBO—In the wake of a heated debate on national unity with particular reference to disagreement between some northern elements and their southern counterparts over derivation and fiscal  federalism, some traditional rulers in the country including the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saa’ad Abubakar and the the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, have advised Nigerian leaders to drop all impediments to national unity and work together for the overall development of the country and ensure cooperation among the diverse ethnic groups.

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From left; Emir of Kano,Alhaji Ado Bayero; Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State; Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade and Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa'ad Abubakar at the event.

Governor Rauf Aregbesola, who hosted the eminent traditional rulers, the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, the Emir of Zauzau, Dr. Shehu Idris, and other traditional rulers from the state, to a reception at the Government House, Osogbo, also added his voice to the call saying, “Since there is no other country we can call our own, Nigerians have a duty to ensure the continued cooperation of all entities for peace and progress.”

The governor, who had been accused of championing a secessionist agenda because of his belief in regional integration, said, “I want to seize opportunity of this visit to call on all our political leaders, spiritual leaders, military leaders and traditional leaders to drop whatever it is that is beclouding our focus to build a virile, united, country that we shall be proud of.I commend the sacrifice and commitment of these leaders. Nigeria is a star in Africa. We all must rally round that focus, that potential to make it not just a mere big nation but a nation that is big in population, big in size and big charting a course for all the black people of the world.”

Aregbesola commended the role of traditional rulers in the country.

He said: “We can be great. Our traditional rulers are already showing us the path to greatness. Unity is the basis of progress. Let all of us come together and work towards the progress, development and peace of our nation. We have no other country we can call our own Nigeria is ours.

And willy-nilly, we will be accountable for what becomes of it. It is our desire for our nation to be as great as other nations that are great. And for the greatness to happen there must be stability. A major implication of this is the fact that today; there are some issues in the core of the North, particularly Kano. So, if the Emir of Kano would leave the instability there, take the time to visit us here at this moment, it is a major sacrifice that must be recognised.”

Responding, the Emir of Zauzau, Dr. Shehu Idris, said that for centuries, traditional rulers had provided a way to promote unity among the ethnic communities in the country, stressing that the unity of Nigeria was not negotiable.

 

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