National Orientation Agency, NOA, in Ekiti State has called on non-indigenes residing in the state to respect the culture of their host communities.
Coordinator of NOA, Mr. Dayo Famosaya, made the remarks while addressing ethnic nationalities residing in the state.
The topic of the day was: “Building A People of Peace” held at the civic centre at the palace of the Ewi of Ado, Oba Rufus Aladesanmi Adejugbe.
According to Famosaya, this would further promote peaceful co-existence and reduce hate speeches, as religious leaders and heads of security operatives also called on all ethnic groups to promote values of unity, peace and tolerance among one another.
He said: “The need to propagate message of peace and unity made NOA to bring together ethnic nationalities in Ekiti. Whatever happens in Ado-Ekiti as a state capital will affect other cities.
Famosaya added that the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, Oba Rufus Aladesanmi, has laboured so much to ensure peace in Ekiti by having meetings with several ethnic groups and security operatives. This is why in Ekiti today, you would hardly distinguish between ethnic nationalities as they have inter-married and even those not of Ekiti origin can speak Ekiti fluently.
“‘The peace in this state has ensured that all the ethnic groups cultivate on same land for agriculture purpose. We must not forget that there is strength in unity. The more we are in population the better, what has helped us so much as a nation is our population. We must always learn to resolve our differences through peaceful dialogue.
“We should also learn to be courteous with one another and ensure that there is peace no matter the case. Let us live peacefully with one another, no hate speech. Any community we live in, let us respect their tradition and the culture of the community and see it as our home.
In his own speech, the President General, Ohaneze Ndigbo, Southwest, Nathaniel Uzoemeka said there would not be peace and unity because government has failed to treat all ethnic groups equally, citing government insincerity and unequal distribution of government portfolios among the six-geo-political zones as part of challenging causing disunity.
The Igbo leader said: “We all know that peace is very paramount and everyone desires it. But before we can talk about ensuring peace, we must first take cognizance of some challenges that metamorphosed into agitations.
“I tell you some of these challenges, first our leaders are not sincere, and this has led into disillusionment among the citizenry. For example of the 36 states in the country, the north alone has 19 states taking over two-third of the entire country’s resources. The south has only 17. Why can’t we balance up by making the south have 19 states also.
“Lagos has a very large population and generate bigger resources, but not as many local government areas as Kano, which has far more local government areas.
“Why should the Southeast have only five states, why not six? Why. Should southwest have only 5? Why not increase it to six?
Whenever we in the southeast complains that we are marginalized, the FG would tell us to channel our grievances through the national assembly where we don’t have the majority, but the majority over there carries the day.
“On Federal character, the way and manner appointment are given by the federal government is one sided. For instance, the appointment of service Chiefs, we have all the six of them concentrated in one geo-political zones of the country”.
The Commissioner of Police, CP, Abdullahi Ibrahim Chafe, said Ekiti is one the most peaceful states in the country, owing to the efforts of traditional rulers and other socio-cultural groups co-operating with the security operatives.
“Traditional rulers should help shun disunity among various ethnic groups living in their domains, as continued unity and peace of the country rests on traditional rulers, religious leaders and business entrepreneurs”
Oba Adejugbe called for unity and peace among the ethnic groups, calling on government to provide employment for youth and good governance so that unity and peace will be promoted.
The ethics nationalities in the meeting include Urobo, Igbo, Hausa, Egbira, Yoruba, religious leaders and security operatives.