Igbo leaders seek implementation of confab report, restructuring
• Nwabueze, Atiku, Utomi, Adebanjo, Duke meet in Lagos
• Why we oppose restructuring, by MASSOB
Igbo leaders yesterday affirmed support for the implementation of the report of the 2014 national conference and restructuring of the country on the basis of fairness and equity to check rising agitations threatening the unity of the nation.
The leaders urged the Federal Government to set up structures that would enable the implementation of the report within a reasonable time frame.
Rising from a meeting in Enugu last night attended by the five governors of the southeast, members of the National Assembly, Ohanaeze Ndigbo leaders, religious leaders and selected Igbo leaders of thought on the state of the nation, Ndigbo stated that the socio-political situation of the country has assumed a worrisome dimension that must be tackled with urgency.
Chairman of the Southeast governor’s forum and Ebonyi State Governor, David Nweze Umahi, who read the communiqué, stated that though they recognized quite rightly the challenge faced by each zone of the country by one form of youth restiveness or the other, they are “particularly concerned because of the crude dimensions that things are veering.”
Stressing that Ndigbo condemned hate speeches and certain conducts emanating from segments of the country over unresolved issues; he stated that they would “continue to seek avenues of positive resolutions in order to avert bringing pointless doom upon the country.”
Meanwhile, fiscal federalism and review of the controversial 2014 National Conference Report will dominate discussions as Nigeria’s leaders of thought meet today at the Ilupeju- Lagos chambers of the late Chief Rotimi Williams.
The Guardian reliably gathered that major proponents of restructuring, including former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Constitutional lawyer and former Minister of Education, Professor Ben Nwabueze, Professor of Political Economy and Entrepreneurship, Pat Okedinachi Utomi, Afenifere leader Ayo Adebanj, are scheduled to be part of the ‘closed meeting.’ Other leaders expected to participate in today’s brainstorming session in Lagos are former Governors of Cross River and Akwa Ibom states, Donald Duke and Obong Attah, among others.
Prof. Utomi, who gave the hint in a telephone conversation with The Guardian last night — upon returning from a similar conference in Rwanda — said the current situation in Nigeria demands urgent attention from men and women of goodwill.
The outcome of discussion at the ‘closed conference’ will form part of the restructuring template to be adopted by like-minded groups seeking audience from government on fiscal federalism and the report of the 2014 national confab organised by former President Goodluck Jonathan.
However, a pro- Biafra group, the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) said yesterday that it is opposed to restructuring because the foundation and intention of establishing the country does not favour the clamour.
In a statement made available to The Guardian in Enugu by its leader, Uchenna Madu, the group reaffirmed it’s belief in what it described as “outright self determination for Biafra independence from Nigeria,” stressing that Biafra referendum was inevitable with the successful formation of common platform by pro-Biafra groups.
Describing the country as “British sponsored northern domination of political and military landscape”, the group noted that such arrangement would never allow restructuring which would favour other segments of the country.
He said: “We shall consistently, unrelentingly and continuously press and demand for a referendum that will determine the fate and choice of identity of the people of Biafra.’’
Meanwhile, the General Overseer, The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) worldwide, Pastor Adejare Adeboye, has advanced the importance of restructuring the nation with a view to making Nigeria enjoy relative peace and move forward.
Adeboye at a thanksgiving service, yesterday at RCCG headquarters, Throne of Grace, Ebute-Metta, where he prayed for the first born and their families with the theme: “Born to Excel”, said Nigeria has everything she needs to excel as the giant of Africa.
Represented by the Assistant General Overseer, Admin. and Personnel, Pastor Johnson Odesola, he said restructuring of Nigeria would go a long way to proffering solutions to several unnecessary agitation in the nation and open door for Nigerians to enjoy the resources God has deposited in the nation.
He remarked that some people have paid dearly for the unity of the nation one way or the other while some even shed their blood for the nation to stand as one and it would be preposterous for all those efforts to be wasted.
Also the Senior Pastor and founder of Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries, Dr. Daniel Kolawole Olukoya, has urged Nigerians to desist from actions that can plunge the nation into another deadly civil war.
Olukoya said this during Power Must Change Hands (PMCH) monthly programme monitored on a live broadcast at the South West 4, Region and State Headquarters of the ministry in Akure.
According to him, war or civil strife cannot solve the difficult situations of nation and frustrations experienced by the people, but will further worsen them and heighten tension in the polity.