Acting President Yemi Osinbajo says he has observed the existence of false narratives peddled by Nigerians in his engagement with some religious and traditional leaders within the past two months.

His meetings with the leaders were informed by different secession agitations mostly from south-east and quit ultimatum issued to Igbos in northern part of Nigeria.

Professor Osinbajo listed the false narratives on Wednesday in Abuja at a National Security Seminar organised by the Department of State Service (DSS).

'Mere Geographical Expression'

‘Unity in Diversity: Security and National Development’ was the theme of the seminar.  

The Acting President said one of the false narratives was that ‘Nigeria is a mere geographical expression’ formed without the agreement of its people, and as such, will fail.

"Such narrative was not true as it was first used for Italy, exactly a century before Nigeria was born, adding that Italy was still a “geographical expression’’ and had not failed.

“We must not be misled by some few intellectuals suggesting to us that if we do not for one day hold a conference to come together as a nation, we cannot stay together. Indeed, we can.

“Most countries of the world came together by some accidents of history in one way or the other.

“Many were put together, many were forced together, but the wise ones have remained together and united.

'Superiority'

“The second false narrative is that one particular religion or ethnic group is more responsible for the Nigerian problems than the other, or that one is superior to the other. My experience is exactly the opposite.

“As a matter of fact, whenever you find a charge-sheet of people who have been charged with an offence, especially stealing or corruption, you will never find one ethnic group alone represented.

“You will always find an equal representation of the ethnic groups. There is complete unity in this business of stealing. You will also not find one religious group.

“You will find that there is nobody arguing about religion when it comes to this matter,’’ Osinbajo said.

“As a matter of fact, what history has shown is that no ethnic group can be better off, economically or socially, merely because a leader of the country as at that time is from a certain ethnic group.’’

'Maginalisation And Freedom Of Speech'

Another false narrative he observed was embedded in complaints that certain ethnic groups were being marginalised and said that each group in Nigeria could bring up a narrative to suit it on the matter.

youth corpers

Professor Yemi Osinbajo wants young Nigerians to always ensure their comments promote the unity of the nation

“There was also a false narrative that hate speeches are allowed by freedom of speech. This is very wrong and we should not allow that to continue.

“We must ensure that there is respect for each other in conversations and interaction. We must show respect for one another, respect for each other’s religion and views. The language of interaction must be civil,” he emphasised.

Osinbajo assured the gathering that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was committed to protecting lives and property as well as ensuring that each Nigerian is confident of his security.

He said the executive was working on all agencies of government – the police, the security and the armed forces – to ensure that they understood the first primary duty of government.

One demand he made was for Nigerians to be united in the fight against corruption, emphasising that corruption was the worst evil the country had or would experience.

“We should not look for excuse for people who make our feature impossible,’’ he stated.

The Acting president then urged youths, to promote narratives that would keep the nation united, observing that the future of the country lay with the youth and that they must be involved in building it.