Former Lagos State governor and National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Ahmed Bola Tinubu yesterday joined some leaders of the Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, to a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja over rising incidents of insecurity in the South-West.
The Yoruba leaders, who were led to the Villa by Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye, also presented a number of demands to the President, including the need for Nigeria to cling unto the system of true federalism.
Presenting the demands, Durojaiye, who is the board chairman of the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), urged Buhari to take a bold step in combating insecurity through improving on the shortage of manpower in the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).
He said there is need to also extend control of the Police from the State to Local Government level.
Durojaiye said the President should reflect deeply and consider recruitment, training, equipping and deployment of Nigerian Police on the basis of 774 Local Governments listed in the First Schedule of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“We seriously recommend clinging to the spirit and letters of our Federal Constitution. This is one sure way of achieving the desired goal of unity even in diversity, mutual respect, tolerance and giving true meaning to the opening phrase of our Constitution that is, “We The People.
“We will be a greater nation if we sincerely practice true federalism, think and act as Nigerians rather than as champions of the smaller units we were born into. Our big size is an asset worthy of preservation,” he said.
Another demand from the group is that President Buhari should consider re-introducing the free education programme and make it compulsory at all levels and all over the country as a lasting gift to Nigeria in his final term in office.
Afenifere also said the country was in dire need of development in the power and agricultural sectors, especially in the field of afforestation, irrigation and revival of those agricultural produce like cocoa, groundnut, cotton, palm products and processing them for domestic consumption and export.
Speaking to State House Correspondents after the meeting, Tinubu said the essence of the meeting was to thank the President and congratulate him on his re-election.
He said the meeting was the first step on the security of the country to really see a way out to stem any hate speech, intolerance across the nation and look at the problem of security holistically and from the grassroots level.
Tinubu corroborated the Afenifere’s earlier remarks that there is a shortage of police personnel.
The APC national leader said: “It takes time to train people; you equally create employment from such an action, I mean employment for the people and strengthen security intelligence from the grassroots.”
Tinubu said that the government under Buhari was working to have the diversity of the economy itself, to address the infrastructural deficit; poverty and security.
“There is infrastructural deficit across the country and without infrastructure, you cannot galvanise the economy; you have the question of electricity that is critical to industrialization and economic growth.
“The question is that we want to build a nation and always believe in our diversity for prosperity. No matter what, we have nothing but one country and that is the only way that we can stimulate growth and understanding among various nationalities,” he added.
In his remarks earlier, President Buhari told Afenifere that what the South-West was facing with regards to insecurity was similar to what has been happening in the North-East and North-Central regions.
He pledged that his government was doing all it could to surmount the challenge.
“It is true that we have made some progress, but there are still some problems and those problems we are trying to solve them within our physical and material resources.
“We campaigned in 2015 and this year it is security, economy and fighting corruption. These things are basic,” he said.
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