BOSS Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), has said his comment that Nigeria may break up was misunderstood.
Mustapha who represented Yemi Osinbanjo, Nigeria’s Vice President at an interdenominational church service to commemorate Nigeria’s 60th independence anniversary on Sunday, warned that there were cracks in the nation’s wall, which if not addressed, could lead to its possible breakup.
The SGF statement had attracted condemnation from the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), which admitted that there are “unhealthy cracks” in the nation’s wall but cautioned the Vice President against utterances that could worsen the tension.
The ACF through Emmanuel Yawe, its National Publicity Secretary in an interview with The Punch, also warned other leaders to “watch their words.”
Yawe added that with time the nation will overcome its cracks.
“The cracks are unhealthy but we expect the Vice President to calm nerves and not make a pronouncement that will aggravate the situation,” he said.
“The ACF is hopeful that Nigeria will overcome its current travails as it did in the past and even overcame a fratricidal war to break up Nigeria. To do this, Nigerian leaders like Osinbanjo should watch their words,” he said.
However, in a statement on Wednesday, the SGF said he and the Vice President remain committed to an indivisible Nigeria and that he appreciates the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari in strengthening the country’s unity.
He added that any contrary opinion was a clear misinterpretation of the government’s position.
“I have observed with concern, the apparent sensitization of the remarks I made at the 60th Independence Anniversary Church Service, where I stood in for His Excellency, the Vice President,” Mustapha said.
“For the avoidance of doubt, I want to affirm that His Excellency, the Vice President, and I remain very firmly and irrevocably committed to the ideal of one indivisible Nigerian nation.
“We are also deeply appreciative of President Muhammadu Buhari’s consistent efforts to strengthen the unity of the Nigerian nation.
“Any suggestion to the contrary is a clear misinterpretation of our common position as a Government.”