By; NIYI OGUNGBOLA ,Abeokuta
The Ogun State Governor Prince Dapo Abiodun has attributed the recent clashes between farmers and herdersmen in the state to the handi work of enemies of progress who are non-residents of the state.
Abiodun however assured that no matter the efforts of these bad elements, his administration will not compromise in any form adding that his priority is to ensure safety of lives and property of everyone in the state.
Governor Abiodun stated this in his speaking note at the stakeholders parley that had five serving Governors in attendance to find a lasting solution to the incessant clashes between Farmers and Herdersmen in Ogun State.
According to him, those evil doers sneaked in at night, wreak havoc and retreated after their evil acts.
“It became evident there are some elements intent on setting our people against one another by whipping up ethnic sentiments. The recent avoidable conflicts left casualties and loss of property on both sides.
“Those fomenting the crisis are said to be non-residents in our state. Unfortunately, the crisis has been exacerbated by some undesirable elements within and outside the State that whipped up ethnic sentiments.
“In whatever form, colour or ethnic group, a criminal is a criminal. We condemn all forms of crimes and criminality, regardless of the ethnicity of the perpetrators.
“There is a need for collective action between all of us, whether as native farmers; cattle owners; herders; local community leaders; security agents etc. to rid our dear State of these criminals.
“We must use the opportunity of this parley to tell ourselves the truth, not necessarily by apportioning blame, but definitely we must come up with more practical and viable recommendations that will further cement the peaceful coexistence that we have always had in Ogun State.
“Today as Government and people of Ogun State, we pride ourselves as the industrial capital of Nigeria; we pride ourselves as the education capital of Nigeria hosting the highest number of tertiary institutions with students from all over the country and beyond. We have never been known for ethnic or religious tension and we would never be defined by those negative tendencies.
“Without sounding immodest, since my brother Governors are here, we pride ourselves as the preferred investors destination of choice, not only in Nigeria but the entire West Africa; we pride ourselves for garnering the third largest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into Nigeria. We must all understand that all these have been made possible by the peace and tranquility we enjoy.
We must all jealously guard this.
“Ogun State will continue to be home to its citizens and all those who have legitimate business and have made our dear State their home.
“The presence of my brother Governors cutting across all political parties shows a joint commitment to the peaceful resolution of this conflict, and a reflection of the relationship and mutual goodwill I share with my brother governors across the country and across party lines. They are also here because of their indigenes that have lived here for many years peacefully and have accepted to lend their voices to enable peaceful cohabitation.” Governor Abiodun stressed.
He also enjoined all the personalities at the meeting to come out with the same mind and agenda for a peaceful coexistence of all tribes.
“Together we will build the Ogun State of our collective dream that creates an enabling an individual prosperity of all residents and development of the State.
“It is my sincere belief that at the end of this parley, with our sincerity of purpose, we will come up with viable recommendations towards ensuring continued and peaceful coexistence of the people of Ogun State.” Abiodunsaid concluded.
Meanwhile four Northern Governors who were present at the parley included Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello from Nigeria State, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu;from Kebbi State, Bello Muhammad Matawalle; fromZamfara State and Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje from Kano State while Governor Rotimi Akeredolu from Ondo State was also in attendance.