Southern Leaders Warn Against Opposition To Nigerias Restructuring

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…..Says Nigeria’s Unity Negotiable, Kanu To Drop Biafra Agitation

Yemisi Izuora

A new wave of agitation for Nigeria’s restructuring filled the air as leaders from southwest joined by prominent elements from south east and south south came out strongly today demanding immediate discussions on the unity of the count.

At a well attended meeting which was followed by a press conference the leaders warned about the dire consequences of opposing the agitation.

The leaders under the umbrella of “Southern Leaders Of Thought” led by Prof. Ben Nwabuze, at a press conference in Lagos said it has produced a roadmap that will form basis of its negotiations when all concerned groups eventually converge to discuss the future of the country.
In a text read to the media, Nwabueze said, “The message underlying our statement at this Press Conference is that negotiated Re-structuring, implemented through a new Constitution, is the best assurance for the realization of our desire for one Nigeria. We, members of the Group of Southern Leaders of Thought, are committed Patriots, imbued with an abiding faith in one Nigeria, and the belief that the majority of Nigerians share the same faith, but wish to be given an opportunity to negotiate changes in our governmental structures, needed to accomplish their desires believing that appropriate structures must be put in place for good governance, another of our vital needs, to take place”.
The group declared that the circumstances of Nigeria as a country with vast expanse of territory, comprising a great diversity of ethnic nationalities, with divergent interests and outlooks, seems generally agreed that a federal system is the system appropriate to our situation.

“We therefore conceive Re-structuring as requiring, modified as necessary, the restoration or re-establishment of the kind of federalism that existed under our 1960/1963 Constitutions. That is the central object or purpose of Re-structuring” Nwabueze declared.

Offering further explanations, the elder statesman said, “In more explicit words, the essential purpose of Re-structuring is to enable the component ethnic nationalities, grouped together by affinity of culture/language or territorial contiguity, to govern themselves in matters of internal concern, leaving matters of common concern, not overwhelmingly extensive in their range, to be managed under a central government constituted in such manner as to ensure that it is not dominated by any one group or a combination of them, and above all, to ensure justice, fairness and equity to all in the management of matter of common concern”.
According to him, this will assure an optimal measure of self determination or self government consistent with the territorial sovereignty of the country, explaining that self determination connotes essentially, not independent government, but the right of each group, within the territorial sovereignty of the country as one state, to govern itself in matters that concern it alone, as for example local government matters which is a example par excellence of a matter of local concern.

Nwabueze, counseled those who misconstrue the term self determination, pointing that it simply expresses the essence of Re-structuring, adding that is means a situation where ethnic nationalities, grouped together by reference to culture/language and geographical contiguity should be enabled to govern themselves in matters that concern them alone, within the sovereignty of a central government common to all, with powers appropriately circumscribed.

He also, notified the gathering that he had the mandate of the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnadi Kanu, that the agitation of Biafra would would end when there is progression and commitment by the authorities on the ongoing clamour for Restructuring.

” Kanu has given me the mandate to announce that he will renounce Biafra agitation when there is true commitment and significant progress as well as sincerity in the restructuring process. However, no one should hold him responsible if the clamour for restructuring is surpressed” Nwabueze added.

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