Mallam Saliu Mustapha, former chieftain of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), has commended the Southwest leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for opposing agitations for secession.
The leaders, led by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former governor of Lagos State, met on Sunday and opposed any form of agitation for secession.
The leaders in a 9-point resolution issued after the meeting in Lagos, expressed strong opposition to separatist agitations and hate speeches.
While urging agitators for secession to desist forthwith, they renewed their belief in the unity, stability and sustainability of the country.
They hinged their resolution from the recent clamour and protests in the region, agitating for a Yoruba nation.
Reacting to the development, Mustapha, CPC’s former deputy national chairman, in a statement on Monday in Ilorin, commended the stance of the Southwest APC leaders.
He described it as a tranquiliser to the tension created by the agitations and a recipe for national stability, peace and progress.
“I commend the leaders of the All Progressives Congress and other stakeholders from the Southwest, led by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for their well thought out resolutions on the nation’s polity after their memorable meeting in Lagos.
“Their positions as contained in the communique are capable of stabilising the polity at this critical time in the life of the country.
“Their bold call for religious and ethnic unity in the country is not only patriotic, but also timely,” he said.
Mustapha, who is seeking APC’s national chairmanship ticket at the party’s forthcoming National Convention, noted that the Southwest remained a very important bloc in the Nigerian project, given its abundant human and natural resources.
“I find it heartwarming, therefore, that our party leaders from the region have resisted and spoken against separatist agitations and hate speeches that are nitpicking, destabilising and sometimes downright treacherous.
“At a time when vested interests are beating the drum of division almost at every corner you turn, they chose to play the music of peace and dance of unity.
“Leaders of thought from across the country have moral responsibility not to heat up the polity. One of the strategic ways to achieve this is to be measured and deliberate in our crisis communication.
“The position of the Southwest leaders is not only prompt, consistent and credible but also offers a rapid recognition of the danger at hand.
“It will, no doubt, inspire a sense of purpose among the citizens in the regio,” the statement noted.
He therefore urged leaders from other regions to emulate the intervention of the Southwest APC leaders in order to douse tension in their respective regions.
“We all have a responsibility to de-escalate the situation, because at the end of the day, if Nigeria works, it works for all,” he said.