Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Former President Goodluck Jonathan has, again, called on President Mohammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government to revisit the report of the 2014 national conference to end the myriads of agitations, protests, provocations and clamours for reforms in Nigeria.
The former president spoke, on Saturday, at a mega rally tagged ‘Restructuring The Nigerian Federation’ organised by leaders of Pan Niger Delta Elders Forum (PANDEF); Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Afenifere and Middle Belt forum under the aegis of Mass Alliance for Inclusive Nigeria(MAIN) Front, at the Ox- Bow Lake Pavilion, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital.
He maintained that the implementation of the Confab report was the only way out for Nigeria.
Jonathan, whose speech was read by Sen. Nimi Barigha Amange, noted that Nigerians “have to dialogue in order to avoid the opposite action which could bring about destruction to lives and property and the very thing that holds us together as members of the Nigeria federation.”
He disclosed that he decided to convene the 2014 national conference as a response to the yearnings of Nigerians for reforms to make the Nigeria federation work.
According to him, in convening the national conference, “I had my mind trained on establishing a polity that would work for our people and further unite our country. The one that would close the gaps along tribal, ethnic and religious lines.”
Jonathan pointed out until Nigeria comes up with an acceptable way of running the country, “there is every like hood that our nation would continue to witness agitations and protests from groups and ethnic nationalities that believe rightly or wrongly that they have been handed the short end of the stick.”
He added, “The goal of the 500 member conference made up of young and old; diverse people from all walks of life as true representative of different interest group in our country was thoroughly and fully discuss and agreed on every issue that has for long agitated the minds of Nigerians on how best to run the federation.
“This they did to the best of the abilities and to the satisfaction of most stakeholders as decisions were uniquely reached by consensus. Recent agitations, clamour and proffer of solutions have not radically departed from those findings. To me it is a confirmation that the 2014 Confab report needs to be looked into by the authorities.
“I believe the Confab report contains recommendations that provide answers to most of those questions that agitate the minds of Nigerians today.”
Governor Henry Seriake Dickson, in his comment, reiterated his assertion that those calling for the restructuring of Nigeria were the true lovers of the country, declaring that all over Nigeria there are cries for justice.
According to the governor, “The calls for restructuring which we are all here to reiterate is a call for a return to the original founding principles. All our leaders here are the real lovers of Nigeria and not the other way round.
“And no blackmail, intimidation should sway us to abandon this noble cause. Our nation is crying for justice; our nation is crying for freedom; our nation is crying for prosperity; our nation is crying for unity; unity that is sustainable; unity that is founded on justice.”
Other speakers at the event were PANDEF leader, Chief Edwin Clark, President- General of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nwodo jnr. and a chieftain of Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo. They all commended Governor Dickson for hosting the rally and said they were ready to rescue Nigeria from collapse as nothing short of restructuring of Nigeria would be acceptable.