By Omeiza Ajayi – Abuja
The Federal Government has again kicked against calls for secession by separatists in some parts of the country warning that such would be the surest way to extinction.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo gave the warning late Thursday in Abuja while delivering a keynote address at the 2020 Leadership Conference and Awards organized by the Leadership Newspaper Group.
The Conference which had as its theme, “National and Regional Security: Role of Political and non-Political Actors in Stabilization and Consensus Building” held at the International Conference Centre ICC, Abuja.
Among awardees at the event were Central Bank Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele; President, African Development Bank AfDB, Dr Akinwumi Adesina; Borno state Governor, Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum as Persons of the Year; Gov. Mai Mala Buni of Yobe state and Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo state as Politicians of the Year; Gov. Ezenwo Nyesom Wike of Rivers, Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos and Gov. Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara state as Governors of the Year.
Other awardees include the Secretary to the Government of the Federation SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha (Public Service Person of the Year 2020); Late Flying Officer Arotile Tolulope Seraph (Outstanding Young Person of the Year Posthumous Award); Shola Akinlade (CEO of the Year), Abdulrazaq Isa Kutepa (Business Person of the Year); the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC (Government agency of the Year) and the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 (Government agency of the Year).
Speaking at the event, Osinbajo said; “Often when we explore the concept of national and regional Security, there is a tendency to situate the discourse around the machinations of externally generated vulnerabilities and external adversaries.
“So, we argue often that the problem is state fragility in Africa is on account of the colonial origins of her nation-states.
“The notion for example that Nigeria is a hastily and arbitrarily cobbler together, patchwork of mutually alienated kingdoms and as a result, it has remained plagued by fundamental challenges rooted in its founding.
Now, this is a popular view but of course it is not the whole true. Indeed it is my humble view that the colonial beginnings of African nation-states do not constitute an inimitable obstacle to nation-building that it is often thought to be. After all, colonialism itself was a historic global phenomenon across states from Africa to Asia to Europe and America.
“The chief weakness that we have is a human one. Our political, economic and religious elite who have so far proved to be socially irresponsible, has so far been unable to build institutions.
We must be able to say to the young men and women who for instance say that secession is the only way or that we should break into little nations and that that is the only way. We must be able to say to them that that is the way to extinction not development”.
Chairman of the event and Sultan of Sokoto, Abubakar Saad II on his part denounced religious extremism, saying religion should be a personal relationship with one’s God.
He said working with other religious leaders, would ensure that those who are fanning the embers of religious strife do not succeed.
In his remarks, Dr Adesina noted that Africa should not be begging for COVID-19 vaccines.
“Africa should be producing vaccines. Nigeria and Africa must put in place a health security defence system. Health security is only assured by being self reliant. Health security cannot be outsourced. AfDB will be providing $3billion for developing health infrastructure in Africa”, he stated.