On the 7th and 8th of April, 2021, Northern leaders under the aegis of the Northern Peoples Forum met at Arewa house in Kaduna and resolved that the re-structuring of Nigeria is now vital for its survival as one united entity.
The communique noted that the North is now ready to embrace the restructuring of the country but with a caveat – the office of the President must be a permanent preserve of the North. In essence, the North, as it is, cannot let go of the Presidency to any other part of the country. Ostensibly to protect their exclusive right to power!
In its thinking, the Northern Peoples Summit say the North will not be stampeded or blackmailed into taking major decisions around rotating the Presidency. While it is gladdening that the North has suddenly woken up to embrace restructuring, it is sad that it still wants to hang on to power in perpetuity. Even with the lopsidedness in appointments skewed towards the North, it is worrisome that it still wants to perpetuate the injustice which it has brought unto the Southerners.
Or, how come is it that one section of the country will want to be the leaders while the other sections should be the slaves. Why should Southerners be second class citizens in a country whose independence they fought for and won with their sweat and blood.
Perhaps the leadership of the Northern Elders Forum, the Arewa Consultative Forum and the Coalition of Northern Groups should be reminded that this marriage that joined us together is no longer working and must be reviewed and if agreeable to both parties, dissolved. There is nothing sacrosanct about the unity of Nigeria if one part of the country sees itself as the lord of the manor who is “born to rule”.
Having rubbed it on our faces for this long, it is time to apply the brakes. Enough is enough. The South can no longer be on the receiving end of the injustice, maladministration, tribalistic and nepotistic tendencies of the North.
For the Northern Peoples Summit to warn that it would no longer tolerate the continued demonization, attacks and killing of Northerners in the Southern part of Nigeria is not only laughable but insensate. Pray, who is killing who? Who is destroying the livelihood of the other? Whose nationalities are involved in the spate of kidnappings across the country. Where has it been reported that Southerners are driving their herd on farmlands owned by Northerners? Which nationality has inflicted so much terror on the other with impunity and perhaps official Federal backing? We know that when the mind is blind and conscience destroyed eyes and ears become useless. Power is a contaminant. Contaminated minds are dangerous to self and the environment. That the South has endured these indignities for this long should not be seen as weakness on our part. That we have tolerated the excesses of the North for this long should not be taken as acquiescence. We accepted their misrule with the mistaken belief that we can somehow create Nigerians out of the diverse ethnic groups that make up the geographical territory called Nigeria. It is now clear that their desire is to annihilate us. That we have bent over backwards because of our accommodating and cosmopolitan nature should not be taken for submission.
Certainly, the Northern Peoples Summit must now be told in clear and unmistakable language that when a goat has been pushed to the wall and there is no other place to go, the goat will lunge an attack and usually, very devastating.
Let leaders of thought in the North call its people to order. The days of winner takes all are over. We consider the tone and content of the communique arrogant and condescending. Where on earth will a set of people claim the exclusive right to leadership simply on the basis of ethnicity and place of birth. Their insensate expansionist desire has blinded their mind to the fundamental right of every citizen to choose how he or she is governed. Nigeria has been turned into an unmitigated disaster. They take pride in negotiating with terrorists. No part of the country is safe for habitation. Be it known to all stakeholders that a set of people that ran Nigeria aground with cluelessness and unimaginable incompetence should not hope to hold on to power. Official security outfits have become tools to harass, intimidate and torment any citizen that dares to talk or attempt to protect themselves from mindless killers and rapists. Obviously, Nigeria is on the brink! There is no section that is free from existential threats brought about by gross leadership deficits.
We are ready to chart our own course and take our destiny in our hands. If we must go our separate ways, so be it, but if we must stay together, it must be on mutually agreed terms or in the final analysis, we go back to regional government, each region with its Constitution as it was in the pre military era. We should restructure to United Regions of Nigeria with autonomous regions.
Owolabi Oladejo (President)
Prince Adefemi Mapaderun (Director of Publicity)
Olaolu Abogunloko (Secretary)
For: The Rebirth Group