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North should back restructuring now to save Nigeria, says ECA

By Onyedika Agbedo
27 March 2021   |   4:05 am
The Eastern Consultative Assembly (ECA) has called on the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) to support the quest for restructuring the country, saying nothing else can save Nigeria except a wholesome reconstruction...

Hakeem Baba-Ahmed

The Eastern Consultative Assembly (ECA) has called on the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) to support the quest for restructuring the country, saying nothing else can save Nigeria except a wholesome reconstruction of the polity by convening a constitutional conference that would throw up a new people’s constitution.

The group was reacting to a recent statement by the Secretary General of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, wherein he warned President Buhari that the country was falling apart under his watch. According to the group, piecemeal amendment of the constitution by the National Assembly would not inspire the desired sense of belonging needed to create a new Nigeria acceptable to everyone.

In a statement signed by its secretary, Elliot Ugochukwu-Uko, ECA warned that time was running out and urged the NEF to “direct its energy towards convincing the anti-restructuring elements in the North,” so the country could be saved.

Ugochukwu-Uko said, “Everyone agreed with the salient points raised by the NEF on the precarious state of the nation, but nobody could understand why they danced around the inevitable restructuring of the polity that would save Nigeria, if Nigeria would survive. The truth is the truth. Shying away from the truth is unhelpful. The inevitable constitutional restructuring of Nigeria will give every region the impetus to boost agriculture, mine solid minerals and plan for infrastructural development and security arrangements. No region will remain stagnant and unproductive, as is the case today.

Every region will plan with their resources.

“Deliberately delaying the restructuring of Nigeria is actually unpatriotic, because it is inevitable.

NEF should direct its energy towards convincing the anti-restructuring elements in the North that restructuring will not hurt the North; rather, will empower the North greatly and release latent energy that will transform the region positively. We should do well not to shy away from the truth.”

“Advising that the country “sits down” to sincerely appraise the way forward isn’t enough. Shying away from the truth isn’t very helpful.

The days of decorating the needful with diplomatic language are long gone. We have entered ‘injury time’. We must tell ourselves the truth only if Nigeria should be healed. No rational person believes Nigeria will survive without a new people’s constitution affirmed at a referendum. Delay to set the ball rolling is the big issue today. Why are some people still humouring themselves, talking about constitutional amendment by the National Assembly? Why are leaders and elders across board silent and reluctant to speak up?