Northern Leaders Kick against Restructuring

  • Want FG to deploy more resources into oil exploration in north

Oghenevwede Ohwovoriole in Abuja

Northern leaders on Wednesday rejected the calls for restructuring of the country.

They also called on the federal government to vote more resources for exploration of oil in the region.

During a meeting in Abuja, the northern leaders, who were members of the 2014 National Conference, spoke on the platform of the Northern Delegates’ Forum (NDF).

According to the forum, “The North was not given fair representation in the conference with 189 delegates despite its landmass of 70 per cent and 55 per cent of the country’s population.

“Therefore, we were not happy with the report and have come out with this second report and communiqué.”

Mr. Bashiru Dalhatu, who was a Minister of Power and Steel in the Gen. Sani Abacha government, while presenting his keynote address, said: “The 2014 national conference had 492 members and the north which constitutes about 70 per cent of the country’s landmass and 55 per cent of its population was allocated 189 delegates while the South with only 30 per cent of the landmass and 45 per cent of its population was given an incredible 305 delegates.

“This went against sensible demographics, law and practice, which could have hardly been done in good faith. Certainly it was designed to put in particular our delegates and the North in general at a disadvantage.

“All attempts to get the President Goodluck Jonathan administration, including pleas by well meaning Nigerians who genuinely wanted a national conference to reflect the diversity and complexity of the Nigerian society, fell on deaf ears.”

The leaders also noted that it had become fashionable these days for all manner of people to clamour for the restructuring of Nigeria along some undefined contours and outside, in some cases, contrary to the existing constitutional order.

“To reiterate and maintain our position that the report of the confab is of questionable legal validity, the outcome of a process that lacks popular mandate or support and major decisions were arrived at by undemocratic means or at variance with due process.

“To disassociate the NDF from any attempt by any group to seek to implement or force the federal government or any of its institutions to use the report of the conference, under any guise for the purpose of restructuring Nigeria.

“To call upon any group of sponsors or individuals agitating for any form of restructuring of the federation, first and foremost, to respect the existing constitutional order and to seek to do so within the bounds and parameters stipulated under our constitution and law. To suggest otherwise would lead to chaos and anarchy,” the NDF said.

The forum further urged members of the National Assembly to be wary of and not rely or act upon a report which is full of flaws and not enjoying national or popular support.

They also resolved to initiate all necessary steps and take all lawful measures to engage the stakeholders, such as governors, opinion leaders, civil society groups within the region and across the nation with a view to disseminating and canvassing the support of the report produced by the Strategy and Legal Committee of the NDF.