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Ethnic Agitations: Federalism Non-negotiable, Says Ijaw Youths Congress Leader

Roland-Oweilaemi-Pereotubo-the-IYC-President

Barr. Roland Oweilaemi Pereotubo

From: Ben Dunno, Warri

The President Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) worldwide, Comrade Roland Oweilaemi Pereotubo, has reiterated the need for a constitutional review that would accommodate the interest of the minorities by enforcing strict adherence to fiscal federalism based on resource control and devolution of power as panacea for peace and sustainable development.

Making this submission in a paper presented at the ’National Conference On The Future of Nigeria’, held in Washington D.C, USA, last weekend, Peretuobo, attributed the growing ethnic agitations in the country to the fundamental lapses in the constitution that was foisted on the people by successive military governments who ruled by decrees and barrels of guns.

He noted that there was never a time that the Nigerian people sat together to adopt both the 1979 and 1999 constitution as the constitutional conferences that reviewed them prior to adoption were the creation of military rulers then to fulfilled all righteousness as the input made were never taken into cognisance by the dictators in power.

He stated that until the Nigerian people were made to come to a round table and deliberate on how they choose to be govern themselves  with reference to the principle of fiscal federalism that would guaranty the rights and privileges of the   minority ethnic groups in resource control, devolution of power and restructuring, there would continue to be ethnic nationalities agitations.

According to him, “The 1979 and 1999 Constitutions are military decrees wearing a constitutional gown. The military rulers enacted them only to satisfy their dictatorial urge. Since after the 1957/8 constitutional conferences, none of the Constitutional conferences held so far by successive governments have produced any Constitution”.

“The 1995 Constitutional conference held by Late Gen. Sani Abacha, the Constitutional Reforms Conference by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in 2005, the Pro-National Conference (PRONACO) by PA Anthony Enaharo and Prof. Wole Soyinka in 2006 as well as the 2014 National Dialogue by Dr. Goodluck Jonathan did not resulted in the enactment of any Constitution”.

“The 1999 Constitution which is a creation of Gen. Abubakar Abdusalami’s military junta cannot be said to be representing Nigerians interests”.

“The only way that consensus can come in is when Nigerians sit together to enact law for ourselves. It is my humble view that some of the above mentioned constitutional conferences have wider acceptance by Nigerians”.

“If the Government of the day can implement the recommendations of the PRONACO Constitution or the 2014 National Dialogue, the constitutional crisis in the country would be addressed”.

“My suggestion therefore to the solution of the Nigeria’s future is for the government to address the constitutional crisis in the country, vis-a-vis the popular demands for restructuring, devolution of power to the region/States, resource control and true federalism”.

“To us in the Niger Delta region, our demands are in addition to the above are self-determination and political autonomy. We want to be free citizens in our fatherland. The present political structure of Nigeria treated Niger Deltans as outcasts”, he concluded. (The Sun)

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Nigeria Remains Better As One, Says Osinbajo |The Republican News

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Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo

From: Obinna Odogwu, Abakaliki

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Saturday, said that Nigeria’s unity remains non-negotiable. According to the Osinbajo, the country is and would remain better of as one nation than divided. He insisted that dividing the country into different entities across ethnic lines would serve no one any good.

Osinbajo spoke in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capiral, during the solemnisation of his Chief Detail, Ekene Nelson Nwokoro and his wife, Ngozi, at the Pastoral Centre of the Catholic Diocese of Abakaliki.

The Vice President noted that the country was a great country and has everything in it to provide for the people. It was also a wedding involving another couple, Stella Awoke and her hubby, Peter Nwenyi.

Osinbajo also opined that the country is better together, stronger together than separating but identified corruption as its only problem.

“This country is better together, stronger together than separating. There is nothing that we will gain by being separated. The countries around us are all tiny countries, very tiny countries. Rwanda which is celebrated in Africa, Lagos state alone is six times the economy of Rwanda. So, we are a great country and anybody who wants to separate us, we must reject the person because this country can provide for every one of us, it can carter for all of us.

“Our problem is corruption. If we check corruption in this country, there is more than enough for all of, more than enough. We should just bear it in mind that this country must remain a united country, we must stand together and as we go along, where there are difficulties, we must sit down and look at those difficulties, resolve them and move along as brothers. That is the way great countries developed. Let us come together, stay together and I want to thank his Excellency the Governor for his stand on the unity of the country” he said.

On the request by Governor Umahi for the Federal Government to construct railway that will pass through the South East, the Vice President said, “the Port Harcourt–Maidugari end of the road has been approved by President Muhammadu Buhari and that will pass thorough Enugu, Abakaliki and Awka, the capital of Anambra State.”

“So, there is no question at that the railway will pass through Enugu, Abakaliki and Awka. So, there is no need to make that request because it has already been granted by Mr. President. The budget has been approved,” he said.

Osinbajo also lauded the agricultural policy of the Ebonyi State Government which he described as phenomenal and therefore promised that the federal government would support the state to realize its full agricultural potentials. This is even as he described Gov. Umahi as one of the bridge builders of federal government administration.

“We will do our best to support Ebonyi State. The progress Ebonyi State has made is phenomenal and it is what everyone in the country has the knowledge about. I listened to all that His Excellency has said about what Ebonyi state required and I want to say that there is very little we will not do for Ebonyi state” said he.

Earlier, Governor Umahi commended the Federal Government for support of the state. Present at the ceremony is the former Governor of the state, Chief Martin Elechi; Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi; Mrs. Rachel Umahi; Sen. Sam Egwu and wife, Ukamaka; among others.  (The Sun)

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Igbo Presidency In 2023 Will End Agitation – Amaechi (Ohanaeze Nidgbo) |RN

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PRESIDENT of Ohanaeze Ndigbo of the 19 Northern states, Augustine Amaechi has said an Igbo presidency in 2023 will end various agitations in the South East.

Amaechi also alleged high level injustice, marginalisation and lack of fair play against the South East.

Speaking in Minna, Niger State, yesterday, after a one-day meeting of the group, Amaechi said the region has suffered marginalisation and neglect for too long.

“Nigerians should support Igbo presidency in 2023, as the only way to douse growing tension in the South East.”

He insisted that agitations by the banned Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) were borne out of injustice and continued marginalisation of the region.

“Virtually every Nigerian agrees that there is injustice in the country, especially against the South East, but what every Nigerian has not agreed is what to do to address the injustice.

“Some have called for restructuring, some for devolution of power, all these still boil down to restructuring and the reason for this is that one region has not been recognised as belonging to Nigeria,”

He pointed out that what they are seeking is equitable distribution of power and resources in Nigeria.

“We want every Nigerian to be happy, I want to say that injustice to a Nigerian is injustice to all irrespective of tribe or creed. It does not matter where the person comes from, once a Nigerian suffers injustice, it should be a concern to all,” he added.

Amaechi explained that the leadership of Ndigbo from the 19 Northern states was in Minna, not only to address issues that concern Igbo, but to also get feedback from all the northern states on the recent quit notice issued to Igbo, although the tension has died down.

In addition to this, “the meeting will enhance a better relationship among the Igbo and their host communities.

“This meeting will help us advise one another on a better understanding of the host community culture and give due respect to the community that has accommodated us. Igbo in the North are wealthy. As a result of the conducive environment we enjoy, we have prospered and we are bound to appreciate some of their cultures.”

“We are here to deliberate on issues as it concerns Ndigbo particularly and to point out areas where we feel the state has not treated us well.

“I want to tell you here that our national head quarters has spoken in favour of restructuring and we are bound to follow the fact that this country should be restructured,” he said.

Amaechi said politics would not be ruled out of the meeting in Minna “because when leaders are taking political and economic decisions, ‎it is necessary to weigh the effects of such decisions.

He said Igbo would do everything to secure the unity of the country as they aspire to produce an Igbo president in 2023‎.

“We want to produce the president of Federal Republic of Nigeria and not Biafra and this reminds everybody that we are not talking of Biafra this time,” he said.

Amaechi said with such ambition, the Igbo has to build bridges of friendship between Igbo and their various communities.

“At the end of this meeting, I can assure you of ‎the Igbo presidency in 2023,” he said.

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My Agenda For Yoruba: Achieving True Federalism An Urgent Objective – Gani Adams

Gani-Adams

Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yoruba, Otunba Gani Adams

By MUSA jibril

The new Aare Ona Kakanfo-designate  of Yoruba land, Otunba Gani Adams has said that achieving true federalism is the urgent objective before the leaders and people of Southwest Nigeria. He stated this in an interview with Saturday Sun during the grand finale of the annual Olokun festival held at the Suntan Beach, Badagry, Lagos.

“We are talking about restructuring––what politicians call true federalism––which in a proper arrangement, is called federal system of government, not the system we are running now that is completely a unitary system of government,” he said.

Adams, who observed that true federalism was the foundation of Nigeria’s independence in 1960 and the basis of the republic constitution in 1963, argued that it is the pragmatic system that affords each geographical zone the luxury to develop at their own pace. He said “without restructuring this country there is no way Nigeria can move forward.” He noted how the lack of it has been inimical to the development of the country. “We have been over-dependent on allocations coming from the centre and we have not been creative in our government levels, and at the same time, private initiatives have not thrived,” he said.

Adams, who is also the national coordinator, Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) and convener, Oodua Progressive Union (OPU), gave a hint on how his new position as Aare Ona Kakanfo, proclaimed by the Alaafin of Oyo on October 15, will impact on his leadership of the pro-Yoruba organisations he has been leading for many years.

“Being Aare Ona Kakanfo will energise me to foster unity in Yoruba land and to project the Yoruba culture more; it will assist me to defend the interests of Yoruba land better, and also to defend the interest of Nigeria in general on the basis of justice and equity,” he declared.

In the same breath, he dispelled the notion that he would be pursuing a narrow agenda of ethnic prerogatives. “My cause is not only about Yoruba; it is about justice in the whole world,” he avowed. “I do not support the Yoruba people doing wrong against other people, and vice versa. Every human being comes from God, therefore, anything I do will be on the basis of justice so I can enjoy the happiness and prosperity of God.”   ( The Sun)

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Poverty Rate In The North Alarming, Says Emir Sanusi |The Republican News

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Emir Muhammad Sanusi II

Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II, has said the poverty rate in the North is alarming and added that it is just as alarming all over the country.

The monarch has also urged the political class not to clothe restructuring in religion and in ethnicity.

Emir Sanusi this at the 100th anniversary of Union Bank in Lagos, on Wednesday, where he also said there is a need to reduce the cost of governance.

He blamed the inability to pay salaries of workers on the amount spent on public servants.

Sanusi said restructuring, in the real sense, should be  about but how to reduce the cost of governance.

“We are surprised that we are spending 80 to 90 percent of our revenue on public servants? That is the system we designed.

“We have a Constitution that says we must have a governor and a deputy governor, and a state House of Assembly in each of the 36 states.

“You have a president and a vice-president and a minister from every state; you have 109 senators, over 300 members of the House of Representatives.

“You have 774 local government chairmen and, in each local government, you have 10 chancellors and a speaker, a regime of special advisers and assistants and you are surprised that you cannot pay salaries?

“So, you want to have a discussion on restructuring? How do you reduce the cost of governance without amending this structure? Do we need 30, 40 legislators in every state? Do we need 100 legislators in Abuja? Must we have 36 ministers or more?

“This is a constitutional conversation. You don’t have education, public health. We have seen the numbers; infant mortality, maternal death by childbirth and yet, the states and local governments, which are supposed to provide education and healthcare do not have the naira share of government revenue.

“Let’s have that conversation.

“It can be an intelligent conversation. You don’t need to shout Biafra or Boko Haram. Let’s sit at a table and talk about what works for Nigeria. At the end of the day, devolution is not about ethnicity or devolution; devolution is all about bringing development to the grassroot.

“When we clothe this in gender, ethnicity or religion, we lose the opportunity to make progress and our constitutional rights.”

He recounted the story of a woman whose child died while waiting to see him, to ask for N3,000 for medicine. The monarch said the poverty rate in the North and the country, in general, is alarming.

“My one disclaimer to all politicians is that if I do not call you by name, I am not talking to you,” he said.

“A famous politician, who is unnamed, said a mark of the prosperity of this country was the number of private jets we had. It is the elite mindset.

“I came face to face for, maybe the first time in my life, what it means when we say X percent of Nigerians are living on less than one dollar; 75 percent of adolescent girls in the North West are married. In Lagos State, the poverty rate is 8.5 percent, in Zamfara, it is 91 percent, in Kano it is 77 percent, in Yobe, it is over 90 percent.

“Now, put human beings behind those numbers and ask yourself, how many of the 170 million Nigerians are living on less than one dollar per day? Where do they live and is there likely to be peace and stability in those areas in the nearest future?

“You ask if there can be prosperity without peace, I say to you; there is no peace without prosperity.

“Nigeria is a country with 170 to180 million people and the medium age is 19. In the next 20 years, you will have at least 85 million Nigerians within the ages of 20 and 40.

“That is the population of Germany; the third largest economy in the world.

“And, till we begin to think of economics, not in terms of inflation, Gross Domestic Product, reserves, but how many human beings are able to eat three square meals a day, how many young people have an education and how many people have a chance in life, we can never have peace.”  (The Sun)

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Devolution Of Power Least Of Our Problems, APC Chieftain Tells Southern Governors

Souther-Governors-Forum

Southern Governors’ Forum

From: Zika Bobby

An All Progressives Congress, (APC) chieftain in Enugu State, Prince Mathew Agu, has expressed disappointment on the resolution of the Southern Governors Forum that met, in Lagos, on Monday.

Agu said rather than come out with solution to youths unemployment, increase in crime and other compelling national issues, the governors chose to talk about devolution of power which he described as least of our problems.

In a statement, in Enugu, on Thursday, Agu wondered if the governors lacked ideas or were ill-prepared for the offices they presently occupy.

He said that Nigeria was bedeviled with myriad of serious fundamental problems that the governors should have looked into and come out with answers to the problems but failed in the mission at Lagos.

His words: “I am disappointed with the high level selfishness among the governors because they talked about decolorisation of power without discussing the issues of local government autonomy. If you want to talk about devolution of power you do it holistically and just what you like and what is favourable to you.

“The level of corruption in governance of Nigeria has long attained the biblical merchandising with the people in the name governance, and I had expected that the governors of the southern regions should have been greatly disturbed by the scourge and aligned themselves with the efforts of the President and came up with resolutions aimed at strengthening the institutions of governance with a view to eradicating corruption in our polity to institutionalize a culture of leadership of selfless services to the people,” he said.  (The Sun)

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Call For Break-Up: Northern Elders, Arewa Youths, ACF, Disown Ango Abdullahi

 

Prof.-Ango-Abdullahi

Prof/ Ango Abdullahi

The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), leader of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Dr Paul Unongo, and the Arewa Youths Consultative Forum are not on the same page with Northern Elders Forum (NEF) chieftain, Professor Ango Abdullahi, on his position that Nigerians should “go our separate ways.”
The former vice chancellor of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, has also come under attack from the youth wing of Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, which called his view “very, very unfortunate and unexpected from a man of his calibre.”
Abdullahi, speaking on Wednesday at a public debate in Kaduna had said the best option for the country was a return to 1914 or 1960 or what he called “let us go our separate ways.”
“If on the other hand we give credit to the British and our founding fathers (and they deserve credit), and we cannot contain restructuring based on what existed in 1914, we should go back to 1960 when the country operated regions. The north is not afraid of getting our north back,” he said at the forum “The North and the Future of Nigerian Federation”, organized by the Arewa Research and Development Project, in collaboration with Sir Ahmadu Bello Foundation; the Northern Elders Forum; Arewa Consultative Forum; Code Group; Northern Delegates Forum; Arewa Reawakening; Jamiyar Matan Arewa and Forum for Northern Youths Organizations.
Asked yesterday to respond to Abdullahi’s view, the ACF Secretary-General Mr Anthony Sani said Abdullahi was on his own on.
He said: “Prof Ango Abdullahi has the right to air his view, but he is on his own on this matter of public importance.
“As far as we are concerned, the certain benefits of a big and united one Nigeria are more than the uncertain gains of a split.
“It is, therefore, defeatist to allow our temporary challenges to redefine our cherished common destiny and set our collective agenda.
“Nigerians must know that in the mechanism of community living, victory and defeat are never final. Our current challenges are not beyond redemption.”
Dr Unongo who heads the NEF of which Abdullahi is a prominent member said that the 1914 amalgamation of Nigeria by Lord Frederick Lugard was not a mistake.
The Second Republic Minister of Steel Development said by phone that though he supports devolution of power to the states, he is totally against any move to break up Nigeria.
His words: “Professor Ango Abdullahi has spoken for himself and he has a right to do so. But, going our separate ways is not the best for this country.
“That we have challenges does not mean that we have not done well in so many other areas.
“Nigeria has done very well as a nation-state. The amalgamation of Nigeria by Lord Lugard is not a mistake because we have come this far as a united country. But, the agitation by the youths and other groups is that we ought to have done better, which the truth.
“Mind you, this situation is like the car we use.There are times we need to change worn-out nuts and others like that. So, the most sensible way of addressing this situation is to address our challenges as a nation.
“So, we should not split this country. Yes, I support devolution of certain power to the states. Let them be given power and resources to develop the states and same to the local governments.
“What I will not support is allowing state police. States should not be allowed to form their own army because states will go to war against each other.”
The national president of the AYCF, Comrade Shettimma Yerima, said the disintegration of the country would do no good to Nigerians and would amount to suicide.
He said: “We respect Professor Ango Abdullahi and he might have his reasons for saying this.
“That is his own opinion and that how he sees it.
“ He saw yesterday but for us who are for today, we really don’t want to reflect on the past because it’s nothing to write home about. We are looking for how we can build a nation, how we can work together to make Nigeria stronger.
“I don’t agree with him that Nigeria should disintegrate. We have more to lose now if the country disintegrates.
“I am of the view that whatever the grudges are, we must know that all hope is not lost. The present generation (of Northerners) strongly believe that we can work together with our brothers from other parts of the country to build a nation where there will be no suspicion, where there will be equity and fairness to all.
“That is what we are looking up to. We are working towards building a nation where all of us will begin to see ourselves as Nigerians.
“This is why the Arewa youths, the Ohanaeze youths and others across the country and working together to make sure peace reigns and that we have a virile nation. Disintegration will amount to total suicide.”
The youth wing of Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, also does not share Abdullahi’s view.
In a chat with our correspondent, the President of the OYC, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, said the statement by Abdullahi was unfortunate.
He said:”As a youth group, we have been working with the Arewa youths and other youth groups in the country to promote peace and cordial relationship among our people.
“Why should Professor Abdullahi now be making such statement that is capable of heating up the polity again and causing needless confusion. We stand for a united Nigeria where equity, fairness and justice shall reign.”
Niger Delta leaders who were also contacted insisted on a fair, just and equitable country as opposed to the break-up canvassed by Prof Abdullahi.
The National Coordinator, Pan Niger Delta Peoples Congress (PNDPC), Chief Mike Loyibo, said though the Southsouth was not afraid of a breakup, the people had unanimously agreed that Nigeria would be better as one entity.
He said the zone would continue to advocate a restructured Nigeria where states would be allowed to control their resources and pay a certain amount of taxes to the Federal Government.
He said they were tired of the current lopsided arrangement where the region which feeds the country, remained marginalized in key security and oil and gas positions.
He said: “Our problem is that of injustice. The constitution itself is defective and we have been long marginalized.
“What we are simply saying is give us true federalism where all the regions are allowed to develop at their own pace. Allow us to control and manage our resources and we pay certain taxes to the government.
“Nobody is afraid of a breakup, after all, Nigeria is a forced marriage.
“ Our position as Niger Delta leaders is that there should be restructuring. We want a structure that will address the injustice we have.
“ I don’t support breakup but I support one Nigeria where there will be justice, equity and every side will be allowed to develop at their own pace.
“ Ango Abdullahi is entitled to his opinion. The other day he said it was not resource control but resource management”
Also speaking, a former President of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide, Mr Udens Eradiri, said Nigeria would be stronger as a united country.
He said the country urgently needed restructuring to ensure equity and justice adding that devolution of power will enable states to develop at their pace.
He said: “I think Nigeria is stronger as one nation where equity and justice will prevail. It is not difficult to get justice and equity. It is just that leadership is not serious.
“Somebody said something that the mineral resources offshore should belong to the Federal Government while the ones onshore should belong to the state. That could also be the starting point. But the important point is that equity and justice demand that the state must get what belongs to it.
“In any case, Nigeria is failing. States can no longer pay salaries. The federal government is taking 87 percent of the resources after giving 13 percent to states, but cannot sustain infrastructures. Roads are nothing to write home about even in APC states.
“It is not about supporting an administration, it is a system that has failed and that cannot be sustained. It is only common sense that when you are doing something for many years and it is not working, you ought to do it differently.
“ The most important part is that there is a failure of leadership. If we have had clear-headed leadership, we won’t be where we are today.
“Even when we will be restructuring and devolving power, the people must take control of the electoral process. That is the only way you can guarantee responsible leadership. As we are today, it is not working.”     (The Nation)

 

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