an attack on Igbo is an attack on the entire South, which will be resisted
SOUTHERN leaders have demanded that one way to halt the continued drift of the Nigerian nation in the face of deep internal squabbles and distrust, is to restructure the polity the implementation of the 2014 National Conference Report before October 1, 2017.
After hours of deliberations on Sunday at the Lekki, Lagos residence of Yoruba leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, leaders of South-West, South-South and South-East, tasked their Northern counterparts on the quit notice issued by northern youths on the Igbo.
The Southern leaders warned that an attack on Igbo “is an attack on the entire South, which will be resisted” while they also called on Northern leaders to call Arewa youths and their sponsors to withdraw the quit notice “as failure to do so will be taken as an ultimatum given to the entire Southern Nigerians to quit their region.”
They also faulted the refusal of the Federal Government to activate the law against any of the youths and their sponsors and noted that “such refusal by the authorities gave the impression that these youths are not acting on their own, but with the backing of their establishment.”
Recognising ongoing and pending discussions on the development, the leaders noted that any further discussion on this crisis should be between the entire South and the North of Nigeria.
In a communique, signed by Ayo Adebanjo for the South-West, Albert Horsefall (South-South) and Ebitu Ukiwe (South-East), and read by Yinka Odumakin, the Southern leaders declared that:
“We, therefore, advise the Federal Government to take seriously and live up to the primary responsibility of any government which is to protect the lives and property of every citizen of Nigeria wherever they may reside.
“We consider the need to avert the impending danger arising from the ultimatum given by the Arewa youths.
“We agree that there is a growing demand by our people and other Nigerians to form a stronger federation in which principles and practice of true federalism are upheld.
“We observe that the cry for self-determination will continue unabated and become much more stringent unless the Federal Government sincerely address the issues of restructuring of Nigeria.
“We, therefore, resolve that we reject the attempt to reduce the current crisis in Nigeria flowing from the unresolved nationality question to an Igbo and North affair.”
“The South-East is advised to consider any further meeting where the South-West and South-South are not involved as not of southern Nigeria because the issues involved affect all of us.
“The meeting also condemned in strongest terms the activities of Fulani herdsmen, who have taken over the entire Southern Nigeria and Middle Belt of Nigeria, including invading State House of Assemblies preventing them from making laws, cows going to classrooms and chasing our children out of schools, killing our farmers on their farms and raping their wives.
“Now, we also resolved on the need for the restructuring of Nigeria and to uphold the principles of true federalism as agreed by the founding fathers of Nigeria and practised effectively in the years before the first military coup in Nigeria.
“We reaffirm our stand on true federalism as a system of government founded on the democratic principles and institution in which the power to govern is shared between the national and the federating units. Such units have control over their own affairs and bequeathed equal status with their constitution which is consistent with the federal constitution.
“We affirm and resolve in the implementation of the report of the 2014 National Conference aimed at complete transformation and restructuring of our country and to build and confederate Nigeria unity through peaceful and harmonious unity, progress and genuine development.
“We want concrete steps taken on the implementation of 2014 National Conference Report before 1st October 2017.
“We resolve to reawaken once more the spirit of friendship and mutual respect among our people and extol our common determination to pursue peace, progress and enhance the continued existence of Nigeria just as we commend the convener of this dialogue in bringing us together. We appeal to them to continue to do so in the future”.
Others at the meeting were Prof. Joe Irukwu, Dr. Okey Anueyiaya, Major-General Ike Nwachukwu, Chief Sydney Dike, Chief John Nwodo, Chief Eric Ebeh, Senator Kofoworola Bucknor-Akerele, Ogita Iyalla-Finnih, Dr Kunle Olajide, Chief Mike Uwaka, Abdulaziz Ude, Chief Goddy Uwazurike, former Minister of Information, Walter Ofonagoro; Senator Femi Okurounmu, Senator Bassey Henshaw, Prof George Obiozor, Charles Odunukwe, Iyaze Ebigwe, Col. Tony Nyiam, Dr. Amos Akingba, Supo Shonibare, Chief Tokunbo Ajasin, Air Commodore Idongest Nkanga (rtd) and Chief Guy Ikokwu.