Southern leaders laud governors on restructuring
The Southern Leaders Forum has commended the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) for owning up to the fact that the current structure of Nigeria is not working.The position of the Southern Leaders is coming on the heels of the communiqué issued by the PGF on the nationhood crisis, which culminated in a quit order to South Easterners living in the North to leave by 1st October 2017. The Arewa Youths, apparently claiming to speak for the North, issued this order.
The Southern Leaders commended the governors for speaking out at this critical time and for repeating what patriotic Nigerians have been saying, which is that the current structure of Nigeria is not working.
It also appreciated the governors’ position on the need to review the long exclusive list in the 1999 Constitution to allow for the transfer of several items to the concurrent legislative list, to enable states, which are the nodal points of development, to legislate on them, while it noted that the PGF’s suggestion for the review of the revenue sharing formula between the Federal Government and the federating units was a welcome idea.
In a statement issued yesterday by representatives of the Southern Forum, Mr. Yinka Odumakin for South West, Senator Bassey Henshaw for South-South and Dr. Okey Anueyiagu for the South East, the forum said it strongly recommend a meeting between the governors, National Assembly leadership and leaders of all ethnic nationalities in the six geo-political zones to agree on the critical areas of the 2014 National Conference that need to be incorporated into the constitutional amendment so as to move Nigeria forward..
The forum also urged the Federal Government and the governors to expedite actions on vital recommendations contained in the 2014 National Conference report, which include, but are not limited to, equity in the number of states per geopolitical zone with the states remaining as federating units, greater autonomy for the states including their individual constitutions, police and freedoms to manage their affairs and resources and to cooperate or even amalgamate if they so choose and devolution of more powers and resources to the states to allow them develop at their own pace.
The statement reads: “We do not think we need to impress on these leaders at this point that time is running out for the polity and concrete and urgent steps have to be taken to save the Republic not by mere platitudes but proactive measures towards building an inclusive country along federal lines.
“Again, it is precisely for this reason that the Southern Leaders Forum like the vast majority of patriotic Nigerians has been speaking out in favour of autonomy and self-determination for all the constituent units of Nigeria; so that each can take its destiny and those of its people into its hands to manage its affairs, develop and pursue the aspirations of its people at its own pace.”
While it reaffirmed its support for the position of the government and the governors on the need to reform the country, the forum said, “While we appreciate the fence-mending measures of the Acting President and the proclamations of the APC Governors; we want to see them move beyond the same rhetoric Nigerians having been hearing for so long into practical actions as leaders of our people.”