Legal icon Afe Babalola on Friday debunked allegations that his planned peace conference is inimical to the government of President Muhammadu Buhari and Nigeria’s unity. He asserted that the summit will instead find ways out of the current national challenges.
The nonegarian said this in a goodwill message at the foundation-laying ceremony of the “NBA House”, located along NTA road in Ado Ekiti.
Mr Babalola said he has been a steady friend of governments and that his views and advice have always been respected in the past.
The presidency had on Tuesday, in a press release by Femi Adesina claimed that “disruptive elements are now recruiting the leadership of some ethnic groups and politicians round the country, with the intention of convening some sort of conference, where a vote of no confidence would be passed on the President, thus throwing the land into further turmoil.”
But Mr Baba said his initiative for a peace conference is a direct response to an earlier request by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo for men and women of goodwill to contribute to moving Nigeria forward.
The legal luminary had pleaded with the Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, to lead other opinion leaders and moulders like former Presidents, National Assembly, traditional and religious leaders, Civil Society Organizations to the conference, tagged “Summit of Hope”.
Mr Babalola said the participants at the conference would consist of past presidents, members and representatives of National and State Assemblies, University Vice Chancellors, Obas, Emirs, Trade Unionists, among others, who will suggest how the country will have a new constitution to solve our labyrinth of problems.
He said lawyers knew that “the constitution is clear on the right of all of us, either singly or together, to advise the government, in good faith, on how the country can move forward, devoid of disintegration or anarchy.”
Mr Babalola said Mr Osinbajo’s blame on Nigerian elites for keeping quiet, formed part of the reasons he took up the challenge.
”All I am doing, in my own case, is to prevent the country from disintegration and drifting into anarchy so that it can remain an indivisible entity, and not to throw the country into turmoil as being suggested.
”I am here to spend my own money and time to help the government return decorum to our dear nation. There must not be anarchy or civil war,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ekiti State Council of Elders, in a separate statement after its strategic committee meetings, expressed support for Mr Babalola’s move to help the federal government return normalcy and peace to the country.
A communique, jointly signed by its President, Professor Joseph Oluwasanmi, General-Secretary, Mr. Niyi Ajibulu,
and Public Relations Officer, Dr Bayo Orire, said the council is proud to identify with Mr Babalola.
The council said it is also proud of the cooperation exhibited by the Ooni of Ife and urged others to emulate his kind gestures.
The Elders Council said it will also organise a mini summit which will act as a prelude to the one being contemplated by the eminent lawyer.
News Agency of Nigeria