Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The former Governor of Abia State, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, has sought for the understanding and support of every segment of the country towards the cause of restructuring as a way of resolving the challenges facing the nation.
He reassured Nigerians, especially southerners living in the 19 northern states that there was no cause for alarm over the October 1 quit notice issued to Igbos by the Coalition of Northern Group (CNG).
According to him, elaborate efforts are being madeÂ to quash the notice and to douse the tension it has created in the minds and psyche of the people.
Kalu, who gave the assurance at a meeting with the leadership of the CNG, in Abuja, said the idea is to get them to withdraw the quit notice.
â€œWhen they say Igbos in the North, you donâ€™t know who is Igbo or Urhobo or who is from Bayelsa State. All of them are Igbos as far as I am concerned. So I want to assure the southerners who are living in the northern part of Nigeria that we will continue to put our efforts, nothing will happen to them,â€ he said.
Â Kalu used the opportunity to call on the Arewa youths to support dialogue on the issued of restructuring of the federation, adding that it would be the most effective way of ending the frequent agitations bedeviling the country.
â€œYerima, I will also like you to take this message as you go; Restructuring does not mean breaking the country. There are some certain things we have outgrown; we need to look at readdressing issues of how our economy should be run. Poor people will benefit from efforts of restructuring,â€ he said.
According to Kalu, this is the time for all Nigerians to come together and make frantic effort to salvage the country from the current conflict situation.
â€œThe discussion was very fruitful. You know the diversity of this country is the strength of the country. Demography of this country is very essential to what we are doing. People who think that any part of the country Â has nothing to contribute to its development are making a mistake.
â€œIf this country wants to be serious, agriculture can make more money for this country more than anything on earth. Agriculture can make more money. And second to agriculture where we can make money would be tourism.
â€œIt is interesting to see us as a very big country. Ours transverse from Sahara desert to the to Atlantic ocean. This is the only country that can proudly boost of having the two. Some people are asking God to give them one of it.Â But we have the two – we have the Sahara desert and we have Atlantic Ocean.â€
The leaders of the coalition who attended the meeting include the Chairman, Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Yerima Shetima, Abdulazeez Sulieman, Aminu Adam and Balarabe Rufai, who are representatives of other northern groups.
Kalu who lamented the heavy economic losses resulting from the tension and anxiety caused by the agitations and counter agitationsÂ by the various groups in the country, promised to reach out to the southern groups fuelling the agitations with a view to achieving amicable settlement of the raging conflict.
â€œI have access to all of them and I will be talking to them and in due time, they will listen to the voice of reason and allow peace to reign. I am going to speaks to Nnamdi Kanu and I know that he will one day listen to wise counsel.
In his remarks, the leader of the group, and Chairman of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Alhaji Yerima Shetima, said they had very fruitful discussion which would end the current impasse.
Yerima, who assured that the country would remain one Nigeria, added: â€œWe will work within the framework to ensure nobody holds the country to ransom. We have embarked on a lot of consultations to review our position on the quit notice and ultimatum.â€