Ijaw Youths Reply Buhari, Say Nigeria’s Unity Negotiable


*’One Nigeria creed old-fashioned’

*Urhobo group flays president’s appointments

Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa

Youths of Ijaw descent, under the umbrella of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), on Thursday replied President Muhammadu Buhari’s comments that Nigeria’s unity remained a done deal and therefore was not open for discussion.

The youths argued that as presently constituted, the country would soon ’suffocate’, noting that the future of Nigeria should be thoroughly negotiated to avoid the consequences of a forced political marriage.

The president had posited that he aligned with a former military Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, that “to keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done”.

“…What we were after is (was) one Nigeria. Please, pass the message to the militants that one Nigeria is not negotiable. And I pray they better accept it.

“The constitution is very clear as to what they should get and I assure them there would be justice”, Buhari said.

But in a statement by the IYC’s spokesman, Eric Omare, on Thursday, the youths maintained that such a comment coming from the President was “old-fashioned”.

The group opined that the approach being adopted by the President had never yielded the desired result for the country to excel.

According to the youths, the unity of Nigeria is being suffocated under the present administration, which they argued had refused to embrace modern trends worldwide.

“The circumstances of the present day Nigeria demand a renegotiation of the future unity and existence of Nigeria”, the group noted.

The IYC explained that it believed that it was the general opinion of all ethnic nationalities in the country that Nigeria’s unity was discussed.

“This demand is not peculiar to the Niger Delta region but cuts across all parts of the country. For Nigeria to make progress President Buhari should dump his old fashioned approach to the unity of Nigeria and face the reality of the present day situation.

“Nigerians want a renegotiated Nigeria that reflects a true federal state and allow people to grow at their own pace.

“Nigeria as presently constituted is suffocating and the federating ethnic nationalities can no longer bear the suffocating effect of the defective structure which hampers the development of the country. It is in the interest of all Nigerians to renegotiate the future unity of Nigeria”, the IYC held.

It added, “The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) worldwide states that the statement by President Buhari to Niger Delta militants on Wednesday, June 6, 2016 that the unity of Nigeria is not negotiable is an old-fashioned approach to the resolution of national problems.

“This is more so as President Buhari in making the said statement quoted former Head of State, General Gowon’s comment in 1967 on the unity of Nigeria.

“Nigerians want a country that is united on mutually agreed terms and not the present defective structure. The IYC calls on President Buhari to wake up and face the reality of the situation and stop relying on outdated notion of Nigeria’s unity. Nigerians demand renegotiation”, the group noted.

But just as the Ijaw youths were berating Buhari over Wednesday’s comment’s, the Urhobo Monitoring and Development Group (UMDG), was expressing concerns over recent appointments by the President.

National President of UMDG, an Urhobo pressure group, Prince Kingsley Oberuruaria, told journalists that Mr President’s appointments were tilted to favour northerners and Muslims.

He maintained that such actions were capable of unnecessarily creating ethnic and regional tensions in the country.

Further details later