Nigerian lawyer and former Federal Commissioner for Works and Housing (1967), Alhaji Lateef Femi Okunnu has said agitators Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho of the proscribe Indigenous People of Biafra IPOB and the Yoruba (Oduduwa) Nation respectively have no business seeking secession in Nigeria.
Femi Okunnu said this in a recent interview with The Vanguard, insisting that people misread, misinterpret or misconstrue history for their self purposes. According to him, Nigeria’s problem is bad governance and not the disunity or disintegration that these two are seeking.When asked what his take is on the activities of Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho who are agitating for secession of the Igbo and Yoruba, Femi Okunnu asked who gave them the mandate. “That is a large issue but my question is, who gave them the mandate for self-determination? Who gave Sunday Igboho the mandate for Yoruba independence? Who gave Kanu the mandate for Biafra nation? Who gave them the mandate that the Igbo should break away from Nigeria or that the Yoruba should break away? Who told them that there was a Yoruba kingdom or an Igbo kingdom? Where is it in history? People just misread, or misinterpret or misconstrue history for their self purpose.”
Giving his stance on unity and secession, Femi Okunu said he has been against secession from 1967. “I am firmly for the unity of this country. I am strongly for it. As I stood against secession from 1967-1970 when I was in government, I will still stand against secession by any group in Nigeria, be it Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa or any group. Nigeria is a collection of many groups and we should leave it like that. The problem with Nigeria is bad governance. Like I said about vaccines, if we are still begging for vaccines instead of buying and making sure it goes around; I’m saying the same thing about bad governance. Bad governance has been the problem with Nigeria”, he said.
Femi Okunnu was further asked if the banditry and killings stemming from the North is not enough reason for people to want to break out of the nation and not want to associate with the tribe. Insisting on unity, he said, “No. There are answers to some of these issues. For example, the herdsmen, the Fulani herdsmen have been there 50 or 60 years before independence. The herdsmen to my mind, belong to the ages. Look, there should be no herdsmen today. Even the Sardauna of Sokoto when he was the Premier of Northern Nigeria established ranches in the North. In Borno, he established a meat processing company. What we have now is herdsmen anachronism. We should move forward.”
“Today, people should not be moving on foot grazing and selling animals especially now that they invade farms and people’s private properties. It is wrong and against the law for your herds to come into my land to eat my grass and my crops, threatening people’s lives and even killing or kidnapping them. That’s against the law. It’s an anachronism which should not be practised in this age. The government is doing something. The government is building railways which should have been done years ago. This is the only thing apart from constructing roads that I will give them credit for. The railway wagons should carry the rams and other animals. We don’t need herdsmen. This is 21st Century. We don’t need herdsmen any more. Railway wagons should carry the herds to their destinations to avoid the problem of herdsmen”, he added.TRENDING VIDEO OF THE DAY: How I Bribed Abba Kyari In $1.1m Fraud Deal –Hushpuppi Reveals Photos Credit: Getty