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Southern, Middle Belt Forum faults Agbakoba on nation’s restructuring

By Seye Olumide and Kehinde Olatunji
09 December 2019   |   4:16 am
The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) has disagreed with a former President of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) over the latter’s position on restructuring.

Olisa Agbakoba

The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) has disagreed with a former President of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) over the latter’s position on restructuring. Agbakoba recently suggested that the agitation for restructuring of the country should be suspended since it had gone on for so long without results and was beginning to hurt the country rather than help it.

The forum also faulted Agbakoba, who said the suspension of agitations for restructuring had become necessary because President Muhammadu Buhari does not believe in it. It argued it was convinced that failure and refusal of successive administrations to restructure the country was dragging the nation to the abyss.

Agbakogba was quoted to have said: “I personally will urge all political parties, all sub-nationalities, like Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Ijaw National Congress and others to suspend it for now because it is tearing us apart.

“The President does not believe in it and the President exercises the executive power under the constitution. So, if the President does not believe in it, we are the ones to suffer. Rather, let’s look for a new philosophy.“Let us put restructuring on hold and I say this not because I don’t believe in it, but it is causing trouble in the North and South. So, I will rather urge all the 36 states to pursue what I call cooperative federalism. Let us cooperate; let us forget about who is exercising what power.”

But in a statement yesterday, spokesmen of SMBLF, Yinka Odumakin (South West), Henshaw Bassey (South South), Gen. Collins Ihekure (South East) and Dr. Isuwa Dogo (Middle Belt) said the group’s attention has been drawn to Agbakoba’s submission to suspend agitation for the country’s restructuring.“We would have ignored his (Agbakoba’s) unfortunate views as comments are free and opinions are questionable if not that our names were mentioned in the not-well-processed thoughts.

“The whole idea is akin to somebody suggesting to our founding fathers to stop the struggle for independence because the colonial lords were opposed to the idea.“We recall and salute those patriots that they secured independence for Nigeria seven years after the same forces who are opposed to restructuring today walked out of Parliament and killed people in Kano over the motion for independence moved by Anthony Enahoro in 1953,” the statement reads.

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