The Southern Senators Forum has called for the restructuring of the country and the implementation of the 2014 National Conference Report, as it underscored the need for continued peace and unity in the country.
This was just as the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) urged the Senate president, Dr Bukola Saraki, to allow Nigerians to create their own constitution through a constituent assembly instead of speaking out of tune and context on the restructuring debate
Saraki had, on Friday, at the Southern Senators’ Retreat held in Calabar, harped on the unity of the country without giving consideration to the genuine demands by Nigerians for restructuring, resource control and true federalism.
The senators, in a communiqué read by the chairman of the forum, Senator Hope Uzodinma, at the end of a three-day retreat in Calabar on the theme: Unity and Restructuring of Nigeria, stated that the foundation for a just and fair country laid by the forefathers of the country had been destroyed, hence the need to restructure the country.
“After three days of brainstorming, we came to the conclusion that Nigeria and Nigerians have come a long way and it is imperative that we live together in a country of justice, equity and farness and the unity of Nigeria cannot be compromised. But it is also apparent that the foundations have been eroded and need to be renegotiated.
The forum urged President Muhammadu Buhari to convene a meeting of the members of the National Assembly, the governors and state Houses of Assembly in order to put modalities in place for the restructuring of the country and the adoption of the 2014 National Conference Report.
“We urge the leadership of the senate to bring up the issue of the 2014 National Conference Report for deliberation and adoption. It is important we dialogue to ensure a peaceful and fair restructuring that will meet the demands of various parts of the country,” the senators said, pledging to join forces with lawmakers from other parts of the country to enact an appropriate legislation in order to bring to fruition the issues raised in the communiqué.
In another development, the IYC, in its response to the senate president, the IYC’s national president, Pereotubo Oweilaemi, in a response to Saraki’s remarks, on Saturday, opined that Saraki’s comment “shows his lack of knowledge on the political development of our chequered history.”
“Maybe he is trying to be economical with the truth because the region he belonged to is a beneficiary of the structural imbalance Nigeria is facing. There is no nexus between the unity of Nigeria and the demands for restructuring, true federalism and resource control,” he affirmed.
According to the Ijaw youth leader, ‘Restructuring never means dismemberment of Nigeria. The only consideration of which every average Nigerian including the Senate President to look at is the implication arising from the refusal of the present government to restructure the country.
“We make bold to say that restructuring, true federalism and resource control are the only weapons that will guarantee the continuous existence of Nigeria in the midst of her challenges.
“A country cannot survive at the test of time when some people are being colonised to the whims, caprices and the pleasure of some few ethnic groups.
“Sen. Saraki and other ant-restructuring elements should rather consider the unity of Nigeria before they oppose the popular demands for restructuring.
“We want to draw Sen. Saraki’s attention to the Constitutional development of Nigeria. Apart from the Macpherson Constitution of 1951 and the 1957/8 constitutional conferences held in Ibadan and London which produced the 1960/3 Independent and Republican Constitutions, Nigerians have never at any time sat together to enact a law for the country.
“The reliance placed on the military-made 1999 Constitution which is the protagonist of Nigeria’s democratic growth is the greatest legislative blunder committed by the 8th National Assembly,” Oweilaemi recollected.
He reaffirmed that what Nigerians wanted is a constitution that will accommodate the interest of everybody, adding that the present political arrangement in the country could hardly guarantee the continuous corporate existence of the country.