By Benjamin Omoike
The Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari and all South West Governors, Ministers, as well as Traditional Rulers in the region, on Sunday, converged on Lagos to brainstorm and proffer solutions to the issues surrounding the recent #EndSARs protests, which degenerated into violence across the South Western region of the country.
The Stakeholders’ meeting was hosted by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos at the Lagos House in Alausa, Ikeja.
They unanimously agreed that the security architecture of the country requires adjustment to adequately address the threats and realities of insecurity in the country, while there should be more police presence in communities in the South West States.
This is a consensus agreed in a 13-point communiqué issued after the meeting of Governors and Traditional Rulers of South West States and Presidential delegation, including Minsters from the South West.
The Communiqué signed by the Chairman, South West Governors Forum and Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, and Ooni of Ife on behalf of Traditional Rulers, also expressed appreciation to President Buhari and his administration, on the responsiveness to the initial demands of the #ENDSARS demonstrators and for his firm handling of the aftermath of the protest.
The meeting also endorsed the call by traditional rulers for regular consultations with state governors and federal authorities on challenges facing the state and for appropriate recognition of their role in the constitution.
It also encouraged the Nigeria Police by responding to their needs and appealed to them to do more to protect lives and property, and enhance security all over the country, as well as specific measures and proposals put in place to repair damage done to the physical infrastructure and economic assets of the South West.
The meeting endorsed the review of reports of constitutional conferences including the 2014 National Conference and implementation of some of the recommendations, especially with reference to security, economy, equal treatment for citizens all over the country, among others.
In his address, the Chief of Staff to President Muhammad Buhari, Professor Gambari, said the meeting was for those in Government to retrace their steps and have a rethink of a better way to engage the youths in the country more, so as to address their restiveness, going forward.
Professor Gambari, who noted that President Muhammadu Buhari was aware of the level of destruction to private and public infrastructure in Lagos, reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to address the many challenges and demands of the youths in due course.
In his opening remark, Chairman of South West Governors, Rotimi Akeredolu, noted that the engagement with traditional rulers was to foster relationship and unity of purpose in combating crisis and prevent a recurrence of what happened in Lagos and other South West States.
Akeredolu, who admitted that the youths have long been sidelined, called on more collaboration with them and appealed to traditional rulers to join hands with the Government in tackling crisis in the domain.
On his part, spokesman of the traditional rulers, the Ooni of Ile Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, equally stated that the government was far away from the traditional stools, as they were only remembered during election periods and were being underutilised.
Oba Ogunwusi called for proper close ranking between Government and Traditional rulers, to engage and brainstorm on a regular basis for South West Developmental Agenda on how to provide employment for the teeming youths.
The stakeholders meeting was attended by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; his Works and Housing counterpart, Babatunde Fashola; Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, among others, while Traditional Rulers in attendance included Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi; Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji; Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, among others.