The Nigeria National Summit Group (NNSG) and Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE) have called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to act fast in saving Nigeria from the danger of imminent disintegration.
In separate interactions with The Guardian yesterday, Executive Secretary of NNSG, Mr. Tony I Uranta, and Secretary-General of YCE, Dr. Kunle Olajide expressed concern over the rate at which several socio-cultural organisations, militia bodies, individuals, and associations have been clamouring for self-determination and dismembering of Nigeria in recent past.
They said unless the President Buhari-led government takes proactive steps by either renewing interest in the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference or at best revisit the Malam Nasir el-Rufai-led APC Committee on True Federalism, “Nigeria might be heading for doom.”
Rising after an emergency virtual assembly yesterday, NNSG said it is worried that many Nigerians, who were known to be committed to Nigeria’s unity in the past, no longer care the country dismembered or show concern about the negative fallouts such would force on both Nigeria and the world.
The group said: “The only news that we hear these days regarding Nigeria are frighteningly bizarre. It is all about unilateral declarations of independence and the avoidable massacres that will be visited on Nigerians nationwide. Nobody’s leading any attempt to urge restraint on anybody; even as erstwhile commonsensical leaders are grandstanding and computing what may be gained by who, at the end of a series of no-walks-in the park set of conflicts that we all must join in the fighting.”
The group said this sad pass, citizens are in today, could have been avoided if leaders have respect for the people they profess to lead and if a reconciliatory National Roundtable had been convened by the government. “The Roundtable could have been focused on the principles distilled and agreed upon during the 2014 National Conference; or the government could even have chosen to concentrate on Governor El Rufai’s APC Report, which was a mishmash of the 2014 National Conference in a sense. Now, everybody’s bent on the country splintering regardless of the human, territorial or property costs,” it said.
It said if the ongoing insecurity issues, threatening the very fabric of Nigeria as a country, must be resolved, “sanity and stability must calculatedly and consistently replace the current anarchy and diminishing humanity that have become de rigueur.
“The FGN must begin to act more as a government of all the people, must act decisively against every anti-law and order bodies and actions, such as kidnappings, banditry, and herdsmen attacks on other Nigerians. Government must show that it is determined to see to their elimination, even if it means inviting in some superpowers of the European continent especially.”
The group called on the FGN to convene a brief assembly of all the protagonists of the ongoing anarchy and urgently revisiting the 2014 National Conference, which was chaired by former Chief Justice, Idris Legbo Kutigi.
Olajide said what has generated the recent call for self-determination by most groups, especially the Yoruba, which had shown a commitment to the unity of the country during the civil war is the failure of the present administration to inspire the confidence of Nigerians.
According to him, “Not many Nigerians are comfortable with President Buhari’s reaction to the menace of the herders, which is creating crisis across the country. Every region in Nigeria has invested so much in the unity of this country but the way things are under the administration, it appears this government places more emphasis on the Fulani ethnic group over others, which is breeding hatred and lack of confidence.”
Olajide added that most Nigerians are already in doubt of the sincerity of the APC-led government towards the unity of Nigeria. “We need to know where the President stands on the challenges of herdsmen, banditry, and other vices, else if he allows the country to implode, I can beat my chest that the northern region may suffer the most calamities.
“At least former President Goodluck Jonathan did his best. He built schools for the Almajaria children in the north to take them off the streets but what has this government done? If this situation must be addressed, there is a need to revisit the 2014 national Conference report because it is glaring that the current 1999 Constitution can not take Nigeria anywhere.”
In another reaction, The Director-General, Progressive Governors forum (PGF), Dr. Salihu Lukman, said there is a need for the implementation of the el-Rufai APC Committee on True Federalism.
Lukman argued that the implementation of the report would avert the recurrence of the circumstances that led to the controversial quit notice issued to criminal and unregistered Fulani herdsmen by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo state and other challenges confronting the country.
He charged those entrusted with the leadership of the country to rise to the occasion pitting sections of Nigerians against one another.