By Collins Ughalaa
Igbo and Yoruba leaders gathered in Enugu State for the Handshake Across The Niger summit which was held at The Base Event Centre, Enugu, where they reached far reaching decisions for the unity of the country.
The Handshake Across the Niger which was the initiative of Nzuko Ununna had in attendance delegations from the Middle Belt as led by the former Governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang, and the Niger Delta led by former Military Governor Ewang, said there will be no elections in the country without restructuring.
Opening the discourse on restructuring, the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, noted that while the Handshake Across the Niger was going on, about 73 persons were being buried in Benue State, including some Igbo sons who were sent to fetch the corpses of their brothers who had died in the State.
He added that the call for restructuring Nigeria was irrevocable, saying: “Our irrevocable stand that Nigeria must be restructured is nonnegotiable. To abandon restructuring is to self-destruct Nigeria. Every credible analysis shows that unless we devolve powers to the states and allow them control of their natural resources and basic utilities of powers, environment, education and infrastructural development, Nigeria will collapse. Anyone opposed to restructuring is a proponent of the liquidation of Nigeria. Already the signs are becoming obvious as over 70% of the states can hardly meet their expenditures”.
Also speaking, Chief Ayo Adebanjo who led the Yoruba leaders to the summit said that only by restructuring Nigeria would an Igbo man become President, saying that the Igbo cannot become President as of favour done to them by any group.
“We did not come here to gang up against anybody. We came here to fight a common oppressor. You don’t have to be President by any favours done to you by anybody or group. It is your right, and only through restructuring can that be possible.
“2019 is coming and they are preparing for elections. We say we cannot go into any election without restructuring. We must know the basis on which we must go into the election”, he said.
He also said that “President Buhari is the problem Nigeria is facing by opposing the restructuring of Nigeria”, adding that the President cannot be more northerner than the Saduana of Sokoto whom he said was part of the 1960 constitution.
He noted that the North is opposing restructuring because they are the beneficiaries of the lopsidedness in the country.
Also speaking, former Governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang, said the handshake should be extended across the Benue, adding that what Nigeria needs now is the people’s constitution.
But Chief Femi-Fani Kayode took over the entire hall when he called for the banning of Miyetti Allah, calling on the Federal Government to declare the group a terrorist organization.
He also called on the Federal Government to produce Nnamdi Kanu dead or alive, even as he condemned the Operation Python Dance in the South.