…count us out-middle belt leader as Afenifere, Ohanaeze insist on restructuring, rotation of power
A northern socio-political group, Northern Consensus Initiative (NCI), on Monday, confirmed that the north has agreed that there should be disintegration of Nigeria even though they never wished for it.
The group said the north never wanted to join issues with people from the south who have been clamoring for restructuring and possible dismemberment of Nigeria lately, for whatever reason.
President of the group, Awal Abdullahi, who stated the position of the north at the 2023 presidential transition inter-ethnic peace Dialogue meeting organized by Youth Off The Street Initiative (YOTSI), maintained that togetherness of Nigeria is still better because of enormous benefits thereof, suggesting that a better approach is adoptee to address rising developmental issues.
He said: “I believe in Nigeria and its collective existence. But whether we like it or not, there is a problem which we need to discuss. We are disagreeing with ourselves and we have every reason to disagree.
“The North before now never believe in separation. North did not want to hear anything separation but as at today, as I speak to you, the north is equally ready. I can tell you that if there’s going to be separation tomorrow, the north is ready for it.
“What I am saying might be controversial but I am speaking the mind of northerners and I have no apology to anyone. Although, I respect the leaders and elders in this meeting but I have no apology to anybody on what I say.”
But in a quick response, leader of the Middle Belt Forum, Bitrus Pogu, disagreed with the position of the NCI President, that the north is ready for breakup, stating that the Middle Belt won’t be part of the separation.
He said: “If my brother, NCI President, says the north is ready to quit Nigeria, be sure the Middle Belt is not going with you. You are on your own. We have served and sacrificed for this country. All the wars that occurred, we the people of the Middle Belt were used to fight while the north sat back to enjoy.
“All we are saying is that restructuring is what we want. Electronic voting is what we need and should be taken care of before 2023.”
Acting Leader of Afenifere, Ayo Adebanjo, in his remarks stated that it is only a new constitution of a federal system of government that will save Nigeria from the present situation.
He added that they are neither in support nor believe in secession, but owe no apology for being the chief advocate for restructuring Nigeria to Federalism.
He said: “Afenifere believes the country needs a brand new constitution agreed to, by all the nationalities in the country. If a new constitution is made on the basis of true federalism, there will be no more agitations for Biafra, Oduduwa Republic, and other self-determination groups.
“What gave birth to the agitations would have been taken care of. So, we are calling on all those who are supporting President Muhammadu Buhari to persuade him to let us change the constitution to what we can call our Constitution.
“A constitution that prescribes genuine and true federalism that heralds a restructured Nigeria. If that is done, his name would be written in gold. Having such a constitution that restructured Nigeria to federalism will prevent the country from going under.
“Afenifere does not believe or support secession, and we owe no apology for being the chief advocate for restructuring Nigeria to Federalism. Let the opponents of restructuring and cohort of the Federal Government stop the blackmail of labelling advocates of restructuring as secessionist.”
Ohanaeze Ndigbo President, George Obiozor in his remarks insisted that Nigeria belongs to all, and so, political power should be rotated.
He said: “The idea of rotation from North and South is a historical imperative, it is what is not negotiable. It’s indeed a sign of total abandonment of acknowledgement of history to assert authoritatively that Nigeria’s unity is not negotiable.
“Nobody owns Nigeria but all. This meeting, in addition to the meeting in Asaba by the 17 Southern governors and the meeting we held on Sunday are clear indications that majority of Nigerians are aggrieved. The idea that problems don’t exist when it is engulfing the nation is unacceptable.
From Charity Nwakaudu, Abuja
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