The Secretary-General of Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), Dr Kunle Olajide, called on Buhari to sustain the reconciliatory effort made by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in addressing grievances of aggrieved ethnic groups in the country, also saying that it was significante for the President to understand that Nigeria needs to be restructured to strengthen its unity.
Olajide advised President Muhammadu Buhari to constitute a forum where ethnic groups in Nigeria would be able to table their agitations and grievances.
Olajide added that YCE has put up a committee that would address key points raised in the speech made by Buhari.
Olajide said, “The YCE is happy that Buhari is back in the country. We thank God for the restoration of his health. The nation was apprehensive and waiting anxiously to have him back and that has been put to rest.
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“We must not forget to thank Osinbajo who steered the ship of the nation successfully while Buhari was away for so long. He must be commended for all his effort to lower political temperature in Buhari’s absence. It is our hope that the effort of Osinbajo will be sustained by Buhari.
“The president must not shy away from the fact that there is agitation from all zones in the country. Elders in the South-West must be commended for ensuring that there is calm among its youth. Don’t forget that the South-West is home to millions of unemployed youths who are educated and reasonable.
“We want to observe that general grievances cannot be addressed by threats, stiff legislation and force of arms. Buhari must constitute a forum where every group will table its grievances and agitation for Nigeria to remain united.
“If truly he has been monitoring situation at home while in London, he must have seen the hostile reaction to the National Assembly’s rejection of devolution of powers.”
Speaking on Buhari’s statement that mischief makers and other troublemakers would be dealt with, Odejide said that while the YCE would not support hate speeches and attempt to cause crisis by groups or individuals, it would stand against any attempt by the Federal Government to silence the opposition or constructive criticism.
“Criticism must not be driven underground by the government. We do not support hate speeches of animosity but Nigerians must be allowed to air their views and grievances. We believe in a united Nigeria for the benefit of all. We will support efforts to make Nigeria united, strong and peaceful but we will not support suppression of criticism. Buhari should put up machinery that will listen to peoples’ grievances and suggestion for a way forward,” Olajide added.