How to rescue Nigeria from breaking into pieces — Afenifere, Ohaneze, Middle Belt

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The Leadership of some major socio-cultural groups from Southern and Middle Belt part of the country has adopted a common position calling for an emergency National Conference that will lead to the emergence of a new constitution and restructuring of Nigeria.

This was part of the measures proposed in order to rescue the country from breaking into pieces.

The groups comprising the Afenifere (South West), Ohaneze (South East), Middle Belt and Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) made the call on Monday in Abuja at a dialogue session titled, “The Nigeria’s 2023 Presidential Transition Inter-ethnic Peace Dialogue”.

According to them, it is possible to reverse the current challenges facing and prevent Nigeria from breaking into pieces if federal government listens and implements the recommendations they are putting forward.

President of Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, while presenting the position of the Yorubas, which was also adopted by both the Ohaneze and Middle Belt Forum, said that the process for a genuine consensus on an acceptable national constitution should henceforth begin with the production of position documents by all nationalities between now an December.

He said that going forward, Nigerians be allowed to exercise their mandate and sovereignty on how they want to live together under mutually beneficial terms.

“The various regions in the country should be allowed to chose the type of government they want to adopt within their area under a truly federal structure which will guarantee some measure of autonomy and control over resources and policing of their entities.

“There should be no artificially prescribed number of regions in a manner that may foreclose the rights of the people that desire to organize themselves as a semi- autonomous regional member of the Nigerian state so long as the territory desiring such regional status can guarantee its self-sustenance and viability as an entity.

“Flowing from the above, something like the United Regions of Nigeria (URN) is hereby proposed.

“In this proposal, powers, mandate and authority to formulate the articles of association to form the Central Government of Nigeria shall in effect lie jointly and severally with the ethnic nationalities occupying their respective territories and not with law makers who were randomly picked,” Adebanjo said.

While citing examples on further ways forward, he said, “A National Referendum can be conducted on the adoption of the final Constitution for the Restructured Nigeria around the middle of 2022. The said Constitution can then become effective from October 01, 2022.”

On it’s part, the Ohaneze said that while it fully endorses the proposals by Afenifere, it believes there is need for an emergency National conference to consider the proposals of various ethnic groups and also to review the reports of previous national conferences so as to come up with a new constitution accepted by all.

A former Governor of Anambra, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, who spoke for the Apex Igbo socio-cultural group on behalf of it’s leader, Ambassador George Obiozor, said the genesis of the problem being witnessed in the country started when the military took over power in 1966 and removed the federal constitution that would have guided the country to a viable economic and political entity.

Earlier, Obiozor who spoke briefly before leaving the meeting for another engagement warned that no one should be under any illusion that he can pocket the rest the country and can dictate what they should do.