…Say Nigeria must restructure
By Chinelo Obogo
The Southern Leaders Forum has condemned the National Assembly (NASS) for shutting down the clamour for the restructuring of the country in the ongoing constitution amendment.
The Forum met in Lagos yesterday, and after an exhaustive deliberation on the state of the country, said the refusal of the federal legislature to consider restructuring in the constitution amendment was ‘disappointing’.
Speaking on behalf of the forum, the spokesperson of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin said the Southern leaders will not back down on its insistence that the country must restructure despite the refusal of the move by NASS.
“We note with sadness the recent discussion of the National Assembly in shutting down devolution of powers in their recent votes in the constitutional amendment exercise. Their decision reflects the deepest disregard for the popular demand for the freeing of more powers to the federating units from our central government. Instead of devolving power, the National Assembly has now given us a stronger centre that may now conduct elections in local governments against the provisions of the federalism.
“It is obvious that the National Assembly has taken itself out of the resolution of the Nigerian crisis by fore closing devolution of power. Unknown to the lawmakers, they have unwittingly given more ammunition to self-determination forces by attempting to collapse the restructuring column in the battle for the soul of Nigeria.
“It would, however, be short sighted for the National Assembly and their sympathisers to think this is the end of the matter. The demand for restructuring cannot end with their decisions as Nigeria has reached a terminal crisis from which it cannot recover except it is restructured.
“The Southern Leaders Forum will therefore, continue on its insistence for the restructuring of Nigeria. For emphasis, the restructuring we demand is a return to principles of federalism in Nigeria as obtained in the 1963 Constitution, which allowed the federating units to have autonomy over their local affairs to create a Nigeria that sustains the principles of fairness, equity and respect for all constituent unit of Nigeria.
“We restate in unclear terms that this country has gone through war once and it is not likely to survive another one. The only way therefore to have a peaceful Nigeria is to have a country based on justice and equity for all Nigerians. In order to achieve the above, there is need for sacrifices on all sides as the only insurance for peace and justice is equity. We therefore call for immediate meeting of well meaning leaders from the South and the North to find a way to save Nigeria from destruction and crisis.”