By Lizzy Okoji
Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi has called on Nigerians to halt all forms of ethnic, religious and political divides threatening the peace, unity and development of the country.
Bello made the call on Wednesday in Abuja when he received members of the Ex-Agitators Forum from the Niger Delta on a solidarity visit to him for his achievements in security and unity in Kogi.
He said that Nigeria could only be fixed if everybody, irrespective of ethnic origin, religious and political views, came together.
He also urged youths to resist being used in perpetuating criminal activities especially by those who do not have the interest of Nigeria, but to stand up to become part of the leadership process at all levels.
“Let us come together as Nigerians, whether you are from Niger-Delta, whether you are from East, North, West, South, or not, let us come together.
“Enough of this divide and rule, enough of this ethnic sentiment, enough of these religious sentiments.
“The time has come to produce the next leaders across board. Leadership at top levels comprising of all these ethnic groups and religions.
“I do not think you have ever seen our leaders exchanging blows during our meetings. We as elites are united, some only create the fights for you and you fight yourselves. God forbid, I will not belong to that.
“Let us not allow those who do not have the interest of Nigeria at heart use these sentiments to divide us and take our resources away and crumbs are thrown at us.
“Nigeria is blessed; all it takes is good leadership to harness these blessings,” said the governor.
Bello added that the Kogi strategy, if emulated across board, would bring the desired change and solution to the challenges confronting the country.
He noted that if his state with several different ethnic groups and religions could come together and see themselves as one, that it could be done in Nigeria.
“What countries at war are experiencing, we do not have to experience it to learn. We the younger generations have to say no to these divisions.
“I want to assure you that by our coming together, by our unity we will get Nigeria fixed and when we get Nigeria fixed we would have gotten Africa fixed,” he said.
According to him, if Nigeria is fixed, it will not only become the African big brother, but will become home to even those in Diaspora.
“Our leadership in Kogi Sate and success recorded so far is not rocket science but common sense to bring out the best and ensure that the government reflects that of democracy,” Bello said.
He commended the ex-agitators and the Niger-Delta region for the peaceful disposition they have demonstrated towards the present administration.
Spokesperson for the forum, Mr Joshua Opia, said the group and the Niger Delta region commended the leadership styles and strategies of Bello, saying it had made Kogi amongst the peaceful states in the country.
“Your track record in Kogi State as a Youth friendly governor, how you brought the down-trodden to government, the man that changed the narratives of governance in Kogi State remains appreciated.
“We believe that if every leader applied that same knowledge and wisdom Nigeria would be a better place for all of us,” Opia said.