•Call your youths to order, CNSA, ASETU urge northern elders
From Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka, Chuks Onuoha, Umuahia and Okey Sampson, Aba
The Eastern Consultative Assembly (ECA) has pleaded with the Federal Government not to politicise the June 22, 2017 meeting with northern and South Eastern leaders.
The ECA also insisted the reason Nigeria is still drifting is because those scared of restructuring make excuses, issue threats and hope to intimidate the political elite from other regions into accepting the Northern view point.
In a statement signed by ECA Secretary, Elliot Ugochukwu-Ukoh, said the Presidency should set up a committee that will begin the process of restructuring Nigeria immediately.
“Acting President Yemi Osinbajo’s meeting with northern and eastern leaders on June 22 must not go the way of similar federal government interventions in the past.
“The Presidency, for the sake of posterity, should be sincere enough to set up a committee that would begin the process of restructuring Nigeria.
“There are no other solutions. The anger and frustration in the land is frightening, this unitary structure isn’t working. We have deceived ourselves for too long.
“The meeting should focus on why this agitation has continued for so long.
“The truth, actually, is that the ongoing tug of war between those for and against restructuring is dragging this long simply because some people are afraid of change, any kind of change.
“They see a restructured Nigeria as creating a level playing field for all. They resist it, they don’t want that.
Meanwhile, Coalition of Northern States Association, resident in Abia State has asked Nigerians to condemn threat statements credited to some Northern youths, asking Igbo to vacate their region within a specific period.
The group, which made their stand public after a meeting in Umuahia, capital of Abia state, described the threat as “reckless” and added that it is capable of destabilising the peace of the country and urged the youths and their supporters to use their freedom of expression to build bridges of national unity rather than dissipating energy in fanning embers of discord.
Led by their coordinator, Chief Dogo Akasco, the association, which include members and representatives from Benue, Plateau, Kaduna, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Taraba and Adamawa, called on the youths to withdraw their unwarranted threats.
They urged the youths to support patriotic Nigerians with useful ideas that could end the evil activities of Boko Haram, the menace of Fulani herdsmen as well as the economic and educational backwardness of the people.
In a related development, Igbo town unions under the Association of South East Town Unions (ASETU) have urged Northern leaders to call their youths to order, over the October 1 quit notice given Igbo residents in the North.
ASETU said the call became necessary because such declaration, though coming from youths, portends great danger to national security and was capable of worsening the already shaken security situation in the country.
ASETU’s position was contained in an interim resolution signed by its trustees, Dr. Innocent Onwubuya and Chief Emeka Diwe titled: “ACF, Northern Elders Forum, call your youths to order,” over the ultimatum issued to the Igbo in the North to leave the region.
“Northern leaders and civil society organisations in the North should call these exuberant youths to order.
“We believe they have the wisdom and capacity to tame the youths”.
ASETU said mourning the dead is part of Igbo culture and celebrating heroism is part of the peoples’ value which nobody can take away from them.
The association stressed that Igbo can not be threatened with destruction because of the way they have chosen to live their lives.
“Such threat is unwarranted and most uncalled for. The Igbo have done nothing to deserve such threat to their lives and property. We have never killed anybody.
“In the context of Nigeria’s current challenges, we believe that misgivings held by ethnic nationalities of Nigeria can be sorted out amicably.
“This moment provides us with a great opportunity, as elders, to come together and chart a course of discourse that follows the trajectory of building sustainable peace in Nigeria.
“We, therefore, enjoin notable leaders and elders across the country to expedite efforts to come together on a non governmental platform to dialogue on options that will make for lasting peace.”
Thanking the federal government for taking immediate pre-emptive actions to douse tension and appealing to the Igbo in the North to remain peaceful and go about their normal businesses, ASETU called on Igbo leaders not to take any hasty action of making arrangements for the return of the Igbo in the North to the South East.
ASETU said it has put the world bodies on notice because the threat by Arewa youths against Igbo in the North was not don out of provocation or retaliation to any offence by the Igbo.
“The international bodies that have at all times been on the side of justice and have shown determination to protect the defenceless are put on notice that the threats of annihilation on Igbo in Northern Nigeria are not in retaliation to any offence by Igbo,” the body said.