48 hours after All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain and former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, defied ethnic odds to criticise the recording and circulation of an Hausa hate song against the Igbos, one other in his party has found his voice.
National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun has described perpetrators of hate-speeches, images and songs as worse than Boko Haram. Odigie-Oyegun said this in his reaction to an audio recording that is currently being circulated especially in the north of the country, which he described as “dangerous and despicable”.
The APC National Chairman therefore called on security agencies to promptly apprehend those behind the recording and other similar acts, “no matter who they are.”
“Every ethnic based crises of whatever nature had started with hate speech. When people within the same country frame and define one another in the manner intended to set them up for violent attack, then they are setting themselves up for a major disaster,” he said.
“The “merchants of hate” don’t know or just don’t care about the consequences of the fire they are stoking in the country. But they have the experiences of other countries to learn from. Rwanda remains a classic example on our continent. However, even as terrible as Rwanda was, it would be nothing compared to what could happen if a huge country like Nigeria is allowed to fall into the disaster of hate-driven conflict. This is why we must all rise, regardless of our political differences and condemn these ugly and shameful acts with one voice.
Odigie-Oyegun observed that even though ethnic distrust is not new in the country, the rising wave of hate speech, negative religious and ethnic utterance and actions as is currently being experienced, is part of the fallouts of the 2015 presidential election.
“Anyone participating in an election knows that there could only be two outcomes, you win or you lose. When you lose, you prepare for the next election. What we have seen however is that since 2015, some politicians and political groups have carried on as if they wish the country itself to collapse just because they are no longer in power. This is tragic indeed.”
Odigie-Oyegun called on the Acting President to direct the security agencies to ensure that those behind these odious acts are promptly arrested and swiftly brought to justice. “We cannot sit idle and watch a few disgruntled individuals to destroy our democracy, and God forbids, the nation that we all fought hard to achieve and build,” he concluded.