Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, has said that a new Nigeria can still be created by the present generation of elites, despite the challenges facing its existence.
From the crisis of mistrust and agitations, Osinbajo said, he is optimistic that a new Nigeria based on trust, consensus and love is possible.
Osinbajo, speaking at the graduation ceremony of the 2017 class of Senior Course 39 of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, accused the elites of being behind the separatist agitations and hate filled speeches, to increase their take from the national cake.
It is the elites, according to him, that is stimulating the agitations, which majority of Nigerians has now conscripted into.
Ruling out military intervention in Nigeria, the Acting President told the military to engage themselves in supporting the good sides in the battle of ideas, which pitted moderation and tolerance against extremism, terrorism and Xenophobia, that has now defined the World today.
— Presidency Nigeria (@NGRPresident) June 23, 2017
For instance, Osinbajo said, the on-going battle against Boko Haram sect is not only to defeat them militarily, but also to defeat their ideologies and mindset, that feed its madness, such as, oxygen, fund and publicity.
“The rise of ethnic chauvinism rode on the wings of several agitations. The narrative of most agitations centres around alleged marginalization and fears of the dominance of one faith over the other.
In the 2015 elections, the ruling party repeatedly tried to cast the opposition as a party of Islamists determined to islamise Nigeria. The expression ‘Janjaweed party’ took root,” stated the acting President.
“So, the mere fact that a South-South person became President did not necessarily translate to prosperity for the tribe, neither was it the case when a President from the North-West emerged, nor one from the South-West.Aside from a few individual beneficiaries of some appointments or the other, there is usually nothing to show for the ethnic group of those who emerge in Nigeria’s numerous ethnic contests for power. Yet, the contests of the tribes are heightened by the elite, usually for personal political or commercial ends,” Mr.Osinbajo observed.
“I would like to emphasize the fact that this was essentially an elite phenomenon, unity and disunity are promoted by the elite which the vast majority of the Nigerian people are only later conscripted.
“While we must remain irrevocably committed to freedom of expression and the tenets of a free press, we must draw the line between freedom that conduces to healthy democracy and that which threatens and endangers the entire democratic enterprise . It is an important balance, that we must strike. Failure in any way will be tragic”, he said.