Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has said ‘force of arms alone’ cannot dissuade agitators of Biafra and Odudua Republics from continuing with their demand to exit Nigeria.
According to Atiku, until the Nigerian leadership lives up to the country’s motor of ‘Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress’, and until every citizen feels carried along, calls for separation would continue to arise.
The former vice president stated this in his message to Nigerians on the country’s 60th anniversary.
“We cannot defeat separatist groups by force of arms alone; we can only defeat separatism by making all Nigerians feel like they belong. And this is only possible when we live up to the words of our national motto: Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress,” he said.
Atiku also cautioned the federal government against incessant borrowing, which he claims threatens the country’s economic independence.
“As a nation, we asserted our independence in our infancy by lending to other nations. We must be careful not to lose the hard-won independence of our heroes’ past. By learning to live within our means, we can put a stop to the needless borrowings that threaten our economic independence.
He added that,
“Our nation is in dire need of healing. We must foster unity and douse the tense atmosphere which is breeding feelings of alienation. We must promote freedom of speech and freedom after the speech.
“As such, in the spirit of our 60th Independence Anniversary, I call on the Federal and state governments, to release all political prisoners and detainees, and discontinue the prosecution of such individuals. If Nelson Mandela could reconcile with those who imprisoned him for twenty-seven years, we can reconcile with those who have disagreed with us.”
Atiku further on those,
“who have taken up arms against Nigeria to have a rethink. Whatever differences they may have with the rest of Nigeria, whether religious, ethnic or political, terror, violence, and separatism are not the way. Let us learn from history. In Ireland, Israel, and the Balkans, such groups have seen the wisdom in giving up the armed struggle for participation in the political process.
“There is much wisdom in the saying that to the jaw is better than to war-war. We must accept the reality that we are all brothers and sisters sired by our fatherland,” he said.