Makarfi, traditional rulers urge Avengers to embrace peace, dialogue
The Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Caretaker Committee, Senator Ahmed Mohamed Makarfi, yesterday urged the Niger Delta Avengers and other militant groups to embrace peace in resolution of their grievances instead of damaging oil facilities.
This is coming as some traditional rulers from the Southeast geo-political zone of the country have also appealed to youth groups currently agitating for self-determination of the zone to dialogue with the Federal Government.
The appeal was contained in a communiqué issued by the monarchs in Owerri following their workshop and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday.
The PDP leader who spoke with The Guardian on Sunday said, “There comes a time when the country needs all hands on deck for the nation to move forward and I think this is the time.”
According to him, “We need all hands on deck in order to sit down and think on how the nation will move forward. Let us buy into reforms, irrespective of political alignment, and get our country out of the present mess and economic situation that we found ourselves today.’’
Makarfi also raised concern on the level of poverty in the country, urging Nigerians to join hands together in ensuring an end to Nigeria’s economic trauma.
Besides, Makarfi who also spoke on the present democratic system under the prevailing dispensation explained: “We are running an expensive system of government, an expensive structure. Federal system of government is good because of its ability to address various complexities. But, it should be a federal system that we can sustain and maintain, may be quasi-presidential system of government. We don’t need a unitary government because it will not serve our purpose in the country.’’
He faulted those advocating that the country should go back to regionalism, stressing that regionalism will only suit geopolitical zones that are homogenous such as South East and South West.
“Even North West is not really homogenous, not to talk of North East and North Central, South South. So, we should be cautious when we call for the adoption of certain system of governance. But it is good to sit down and talk and see how we reform. We must reform, and in my opinion we must do something like reform rather than restructuring. Let it be the one that will be acceptable to the entire Nigerians, rather than the one that suits a part of Nigeria.”
The workshop organized by the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) was to strengthen their capacity in peace building and conflict resolution.
The communiqué noted that traditional rulers and civil society organisations were critical stakeholders in the drive for peace in the zone.
The monarchs in the document called on the government to assign them a constitutional role to ensure their involvement in more coordinated communal responses to the increasing incidences of violence in their communities.