Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, says that there are opportunities in the ongoing separatist agitations in Nigeria.
He stated this on Channels Television’s ‘Hard Copy’ programme aired on Friday night which was monitored by Akelicious.
Agitations for secession in Southern Nigeria have risen in the last one year as separatists complain of injustice and express dissatisfaction with lopsided appointments into top government positions, improper allocation of resources amongst the federating units, insecurity, worsening economy, and many others.
While Nnamdi Kanu leads the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra in the South-East, Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho is an arrowhead of Yoruba Nation agitation in South-West Nigeria.
The regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), which turned maddening heat on separatists this year clamped down on the two agitators and they are currently behind bars. Both Igboho and Kanu have been accused of terrorism and treasonable felony and are facing similar charges in court.
Many Nigerians as well as socio-political groups including Afenifere and Ohanaeze Ndigbo have called for political solutions to resolve the crisis.
In a shift from status quo and his hard stance, Buhari on Friday told respected Igbo leaders who visited him in Aso Rock that he would consider their demand for the release of the IPOB leader who is currently in the custody of the Department of State Services in Abuja.
When asked whether he sees opportunities in separatism, Fashola said, “I see opportunities in the challenges that we have as a country; there are always opportunities every time that we have a problem and that is why people tell you: ‘don’t waste a crisis’. There is one thing to have a crisis but the worst thing is to waste one.
“There are opportunities in every problem that we face and I am always positive in my outlook: how do I get better from this? A life without problem is not a life lived at all. A life lived is a life that confronts problem, solve them, learn from them.”
When asked for the second time the opportunities he sees in separatism, the two-term ex-governor of Lagos said, “There are opportunities there for a conversation around why those voices are now louder perhaps than they were 20 years ago.
“Those agitations are not unique to Nigeria; the Scottish wants a referendum and they want to leave if the opportunities provide them, so it not unique to us. These are human issues and how we engage with one another and to then ask a genuine question and we would always be better off together and to find out how to make that union stronger, better and more fulfilling. That is an opportunity and it is a conversation I will like to have.”