- Seek return to regionalism
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The National Christian Elders Forum has described as subversive the action of northern governors that negotiated the suspension of the controversial quit notice given to Ndigbo by the Arewa Youth Coalition.
The group also canvassed sought the backing of political parties for a return of the country to regionalism through the re-introduction of the Republican Constitution as was the case in 1963.
While making a presentation to the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ahmed Makarfi thursday in Abuja, the leader of the forum, Chief Solomon Asemota (SAN) deplored the use of the word, â€˜suspendâ€™ by the youths in withdrawing their quit notice.
He said for the northern governors to condone such an â€œunlawful and ill-motivated statementsâ€ is unbecoming and tantamount to subverting their oath of office.
â€œRecently, there was an unfortunate quit notice given to Ndigbo living in the northern part of the country by the Arewa youths. What is perhaps more unfortunate is the information that the governors of the north announced that the quit notice has been suspended.
â€œThis implies that it can be resumed at a later date, this is very unfortunate. If governors are now seen to condone such unlawful and ill-motivated statements, then how shall the youths be contained? We wish to stress that the conduct of these governors is subversive to their oath of office wherein they swore to preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the law,â€ he said.
In their lengthy presentation handed over to the party leadership, the forum also called the dismantling of religious and ethnic politics, insisting that such have never done the nation any good.
Asemota said the forum has therefore taken it upon itself, to meet with as many political parties as possible and to appeal for a re-think, in the way politicians handle governance in Nigeria.
â€œWe have observed, rather painfully, that political parties in Nigeria have not evolved to the point of operating based on ideology. Presently, it would appear that people enter politics to share the spoils of war.
â€œThis may explain why the moment election is over people from the parties that lost election gravitates to the party that won, There is no conviction, no principle, and no political ideology that would make an individual identify with a political party whether it lost or won elections. These are rather sad observations that should be corrected in our body polity,â€ he said.
Going forward, he said the forum is advocating governors who have served out their tenure should not be allowed by parties to recycle themselves back to occupy the National Assembly seats.
â€œIt is sad very sad that governors who have mismanaged their states and looted the state treasury dry now find retirement space in the National Assembly. Why can we as political parties not say no to such wasteful managers of state resources?,â€ he added.
In his remark, told the forum that the party is support of most of the positions being canvassed by them, adding that PDP believed strongly on the issue of restructuring.
â€œWe as a party was the first to address a world press conference subscribing to restructuring as Nigerians are calling for. After that I have continued to maintain that PDP is in support of restructuring but the APC has not taken a clear position on the issue, instead the party appointed a man who has publicly spoken against restructuring to head its committee on restructuring,â€ he said.
He identified three key aspect restructuring being sought for by Nigerians to include, economic restructuring , political restructuring and institutional restructuring.
But he cautioned that the push for restructuring must be devoid of ethnic coloration if we are to achieve any progress.
â€œOtherwise people will be suspicious of it and will give it interpretations that it is not and instead of making progress, we will be pulled back,â€ he said.
On how to reduce the rising agitation and disenchantment in the land, Makarfi said: the guiding principle should fairness and equity, once you have done that, you cannot satisfy everybody but at least an overwhelming majority will be to say yes you are doing the right thing.
Makarfi also spoke about the shortcomings of the anti graft war being prosecuted by President Buhariâ€™ saying that itâ€™s politicisation was the greatest undoing.
According to him, the PDP was keen in fighting corruption, which was why it went ahead to establish all the anti corruption agencies.
He said another reason the anti corruption war was not succeeding as expected was that it is woven around an individual rather than effort to strengthen the institutions.
â€œIf we didnâ€™t want to fight corruption why would we have established all the anti corruption agencies during our tenure.the intention has there right from the beginning although the level of performances may not be the same but certainly these agencies were created to help tackle corruption.
The question is, have they been empowered more they were during the PDP era? Has anything more been created since then,â€ he said.