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League of Professionals, ARG, UPU canvass support for Southern governors’ resolutions

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The League of Professionals for Strategic Advocacy, has described the coordinated condemnation by a section of northern leaders on Southern governors’ resolutions banning open cattle grazing, call for national dialogue and restructure.

In a statement, Convener of the league, Prince Obaro Unuafe, chairman, Mr. Pius Mordi and the Secretary, Mr. Fred Akpewe, yesterday said the disposition of the northern leaders towards the resolutions was provocative, insulting and a confirmation that the security challenges confronting Nigeria is orchestrated by dubious groups thriving under the current unjust political situation.

The group took exception particularly to the statements attributed the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan and former a Chairman of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof Usman Yusuf, saying, “In accusing the southern governors of not consulting the Fulani before banning open grazing of cattle, Prof. Yusuf is still clinging to same old but baseless thinking that the Fulani are superior in the Nigerian arrangement.”

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The group wondered why southern governors, who have a responsibility to secure life and property of their citizens have to consult Yusuf and his ilk other than for his warped and conflicted superiority complex?”

On Lawan’s statement in which he condemned the southern governors’ resolutions, the group said: “Lawan is reflecting the view of his principal, who arm twisted the upper legislative chamber in making him Senate President. President Muhammadu Buhari made Lawan Senate President and the President’s aversion to fairness and justice in the running and structure of Nigeria is undisguised. Even as the country is on a cliffhanger with all the signs of a failing state, they are more interested in sustaining the crumbling building than in nation building.”

The group described the issues and measures adopted by the Southern governors as the first significant step towards rescuing Nigeria from the precipice, stressing that a structural reform of the country is an inevitable step towards laying a fresh foundation for Nigeria’s regeneration.

“The ruling party and President Buhari must not see the recommendations from the prism of politics. They must note that the Asaba Declaration is the product of dispassionate evaluation of governors from all the three political parties controlling the 36 states. From the day the 1999 Constitution was promulgated, it was clear the document is conflicted, unsustainable and never reflected the true desires of Nigerians. The problem is not about President Buhari, but the system foisted on the nation.”

The group tasked the governors to initiate the process of getting their individual Houses of Assembly to enact legislations to implement their decision on ban on open grazing across the 17 states of the south,

“The governors should set up a joint committee with representatives from each state to draft a Bill that would be passed by each House of Assembly. It is our view that the bill should be passed into law within four weeks. Until the ban is back by law, it will be unenforceable,” it stated.

The League of Professionals also commended the southern governors for adopting the strident call by Nigerians for State Police, adding: “Allowing states to have their own police is long overdue. Crime is local and the solution is also local. The natures of crimes confronting Nigeria are very sophisticated and pose existential threat to the country.

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“No governor can stand the shame of seeing his people evicted from their communities, kidnapped and killed routinely and would remain aloof. We call on the governors to stand their ground as the establishment of State Police is now irreversible, if the country is to regain a semblance of sanity and order.”

It also called on President Buhari to hasten the process of returning the country to true federalism, noting that too much power is concentrated in the central government. “The number of items on the Exclusive List are too many and have vested too much powers on the Federal Government to the extent that it cannot manage the powers and have ironically become toothless.

“Nigeria has been pampering over the cracks and challenges since 1999. Unfortunately, we are now on a cliffhanger and unless we retrace our steps and lay a fresh and solid foundation, Nigeria is on the trajectory to perdition,” the group said.

While flaying the Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila for rejecting the southern governors’ call for restructuring, the professionals stated: “By the pronouncements, Lawan has proved to be unreliable in the task of rebuilding Nigeria and can no longer be trusted. That is why we endorse stance of the 17 governors from the south for a national dialogue to be convened by President Buhari. Such dialogue should be made of genuine representatives of the people and ethnos nationalities and their resolution and declaration should form the bedrock of a new constitution. The present crop of lawmakers are two enmeshed in the decayed system holding the country down to be trusted to be part of the change Nigerians desire and deserve.”

MEANWHILE, National Chairman, Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG), Mr. Wale Oshun dismissed the position of Yusuf that the southern governors ought to have sought for the permission from Fulani before holding such meeting

Oshun said: “But the Northern governors meet regularly beyond party affilitions, sociological and value level, so why should the meeting of the Southern governors be a threat to anybody? Why and on what basis should the southern governors take permission from the Fulani before holding a meeting?”

He noted that Fulani people came alongside Uthman Dan Fodio to Nigeria in 1804 and on that premise they are not the and cannot be the ancestral owners of the lands in the South, especially Yoruba land. “If at all they want to claim that they conquered any part of Nigeria, it is not the South. Or did the Fulani people take permission from anybody before they implemented the Sharia law? Those northerners, who are miffed by the resolutions of the Southern governors, are only being malicious.

“There was nothing in the resolutions outside the rights of the governors to demand as far as Nigeria is concerned and as a matter of fact, what they asked for is what their people have been agitating for in the last 30 years that this country must be restructured. What I will only ask our governors to do is to match their demands with action by prevailing on President Buhari to bring out the 2014 National Conference resolutions out of the archives.

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“There is nothing Nigeria can or will achieve if the 1999 Constitution is not jettisoned and a new one written.”
Similarly, Spokesman of Urohobo Progress Union (UPU), Abel Oshevire, said the decision of the Southern governors was a bold step and the height of patriotism so far taken by political representatives from the south and it transcends party affiliations.

According to him, “Our governors from this part of the nation spoke the minds of their people. For so long the South has been marginalised despite being the one that produces the wealth of Nigeria.”

UPU also condemned the position of some northerners, saying, “It was the most disappointed gesture the north has shown to a patriotic demands of their southern brothers.

“Nigeria is due for restructuring and that the Southern governors have spoken out that is the only basis upon which this country can make any meaningful progress. It was a wrong notion for the north to perceive that restructure means dismemberment of the country. It will rater bring the best out of Nigeria.”

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