• Atiku: UK ban on diesel, petrol cars makes it now more urgent  Says Nigeria risks being bypassed by the global economy
  • Eastern Consultative Assembly, others threaten civil disobedience, election boycott  

    By Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja, Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia and John Shiklam in Kaduna

    The Northern States Governors Forum (NSGF) yesterday in Kaduna constituted a high-powered committee to collate views and comments on the state of the nation, with specific reference to the current agitations for the restructuring of the country. 

This is coming on the heels of the statement by former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar that the move by the United Kingdom and other developed countries to ban petrol and diesel cars by 2040 had given credence to his earlier warning that Nigeria must restructure now or risk being bypassed by the global economy.

At the end of the Northern governors’ meeting held at the Government House, Kaduna, the Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal was picked to head a 12 member committee to collate views on the agitation for restructuring of the country from individuals, groups and corporate organisations in the North.

The committee, according to a communique issued at the end of the meeting, is to come up with acceptable, tenable and sustainable position for the northern region in consonance with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, taking into cognizance, the current constitutional amendment process going on at the National Assembly.
The communique signed by the Chairman of the NSGF and governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, said other members of the committee include the governors of Nasarawa, Gombe, Benue, Bauchi and Kaduna states as well as the Emirs of Kano, Zazzau (Zaria), Gummi, the Etsu Nupe and the Gbong Gwom Jos while the Deputy Governor of Plateau state, Prof. Sonni Tyoden is to serve as the secretary to the committee.

The governors also decried “escalating clashes between farmers and cattle rearers,” noting that the situation is being worsened by the infiltration of criminal elements from outside the north who posed as fulani herdsmen and deliberately engaged farmers in deadly conflicts to create disunity and unnecessary crisis in the region.
“The forum therefore, discourages ethnicising the deadly conflicts and crimes with the Fulani tribe as other tribe could be cattle rearers too.
“The free movement of persons, goods and services within the West African sub-region as ratified by the ECOWAS Convention should be subjected to the laws of individual member states in order to check cross-border crimes, especially cattle rustling.
“Creating more grazing reserves and providing adequate infrastructure in such reserves by way of addressing the needs of cattle rearers and those of their animals before the enactment of the appropriate legislation will ameliorate the challenges” the communique maintained.

The communique further condemned the recent attack on the NNPC staff, security personnel and the staff of the University of Maiduguri, Borno state which resulted in the suspension of oil exploration activities in the Chad Basin.
It called on the federal government to urgently ensure the reconstitution of the Federal Character Commission, Federal Civil Service Commission and the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission to enable them discharge their constitutional responsibilities, stressing that failure to do so, has so far resulted in lopsided appointments.
The governors restated their commitment to national unity, peaceful co-existence and the rights of all Nigerians to reside and own property in any part of the country as guaranteed by the constitution.

“We re-assure all Nigerians who live in the north of our readiness to protect their lives and property and we therefore call on our colleagues in the south to emulate this gesture” the communique said.
Atiku: UK ban on diesel, petrol cars makes it now more urgent
Meanwhile, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has said that the move by the United Kingdom and other developed countries to ban petrol, diesel cars by 2040 is giving credence to his earlier warning that Nigeria must restructure now or risk being bypassed by the global economy.
The former Vice President’s Media Office in Abuja said yesterday that his position had been vindicated with recent news coming out from the developed countries of the world where dependence on petrol and gas is increasingly giving way to alternatives.
“Exactly a week ago (Wednesday July 19, 2017), at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, former Vice President, predicted that the automobile industry would be moving away from diesel and petrol powered cars in favour of electric and alternative energy powered cars.
“Of course the Waziri Adamawa was criticised and painted as crying wolf by the usual suspects, yet only eight days later his view has been further vindicated by the news from the United Kingdom which was reported in Thursday, July 27, 2017 THISDAY front page headline: ‘Doom for Nigeria, Britain Moves to Ban Petrol, Diesel Cars by 2040’,” it said.

Atiku had recalled that during his recent visit to the United Kingdom, he noticed that senior members of the Conservative Party were driving the Toyota Mirai, a car that runs on hydrogen and emits water instead of harmful carbon monoxide.
He stated that Professor Tony Seba, a world renowned global economist, had published his findings which predicted that all new cars will be electric by 2025.
Atiku said this was one of the reasons why Nigeria must restructure now or risk being bypassed by the global economy.
The statement said that the British move would serve as a warning to Nigeria to heed the warnings of patriots like Atiku and others like him and “while we still have a few good years of income from oil, we need to urgently diversify our economy which will only be possible by embracing restructuring.”
Anti-restructuring: CSOs threaten civil disobedience, election boycott
In a related development, as a result of the failure of the National Assembly to approve devolution of power to states in the just concluded constitutional amendment, the Eastern Consultative Assembly (ECA) and a number of civil society organisations in the South East zone yesterday vowed to embark on civil disobedience in the continued struggle for true federalism.
To this end, the groups stated that “if genuine processes towards restructuring Nigeria are not embarked upon by the federal government on or before the 1st of October 2017, our people will find it extremely difficult to continue to participate in the Nigerian project”.
They also declared that “We will no longer vote in any elections whatsoever, until Nigeria is restructured” saying that their stance “is the demand, desire and decision of the masses of Eastern Nigeria”.

This decision was taken at an emergency meeting attended by representatives of eight other civil society organisations (CSOs) held in Enugu, during which the action of the National Assembly members in shooting down the clamour for restructuring was deliberated upon.
Aside from the ECA, other CSOs that participated in the meeting include South East Elders Union, South East Christian Network, Igbo Women Assembly, Igbo Traders Association, Igbo Youth Movement, Igbo Students Union, South East/South South Youth Assembly and Ofuobi Cultural Association.
In a communiqué entitled Enugu Declaration endorsed by their representatives the CSOs   vehemently condemned “the desperate attempts by enemies of equity and justice to sustain by all means this evil unitary structure that has visited untold hardship, misery and disequilibrium on our land”.
It also declared as “enemies of the people” those struggling to resist the desirable change that will save Nigeria, and grant every zone a sense of belonging, adding that their action “is provocative”.
The groups therefore declared that “we are now left with no other choice than to embark on civil disobedience and passive resistance, (and) accordingly, our people will no longer participate in their unitary Nigeria events henceforth”.

Leaders of the CSOs said that they “consulted widely amongst our people, in order to build lasting and binding consensus, before taking final decision, since the spirited but shocking attempts of those fiercely opposed to returning Nigeria back to regional arrangement through a peaceful restructuring process”.
Citing the quit notice issued by a coalition of Arewa youths to Igbos living in the north the CSOs noted that it was part of the grand design to scuttle any attempt to restructure Nigeria and free the country from the grasp of underdevelopment.
According to them,  “to insult the entire country by embarking on childish distraction of quit notices and divide and rule tactics, and unhelpful constitutional amendments, all geared towards sustaining the current unitary structure imposed on Nigeria on May 26th 1967, it has become necessary to make public our findings and decision.
“Their arrogance and ruthlessness has no place in the 21st century. It can only lead to the death of Nigeria,” the groups warned in response to the modus operandi if the opponents of restructuring and true federalism.

Said the CSOs: “The struggle by a tiny clique to sustain by all means, the status quo, imposed on Nigeria by unelected soldiers, by issuing threats of war in the false hope that the 196 million Nigerians held down in unacceptable squalor, fear, helplessness and arrested development will be cowed by this threats of military action and therefore back down from the noble struggle to save Nigeria, through a peaceful restructuring.

“Nigeria must be restructured, if Nigeria is to survive. Egalitarianism, equity and merit-based system must be enthroned. And fiscal federalism and regional autonomy established through a new people’s constitution, affirmed at a referendum. This is the irreducible minimum.”