By Sylvester IdowuÂ inÂ Warri
Barring last minute changes, all is set for a mega rally by the leadership of the South South as part of the renewed struggle for the restructuring of the country.
The rally is being planned by the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) to liberate the Niger Delta people from exploitation, oppression and neglect.
A communique signed by leaders of PANDEF drawn from all the South-South states of the region and made available to newsmen in Warri, Delta State, said that there would be delegation from the South West, South East and Middle Belt for the mega rally.
The rally christened, the â€œfirst-ever South-South Mega Rally On Restructuringâ€ to be led by elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark, will hold at the Samson Siasia Stadium in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State as agreed by monarchs, past and present political office holders, community leaders, academics, opinion moulders, leaders of thought, women and youth groups in the region.
According to the communique, the essence of the Mega Rally was to â€œmobilise and raise the consciousness of the people of the South-South region and to articulate a common, unified agenda on the subject matter of restructuring.â€
Delegation expected from the South West, according to the release, would be led by Afenifere chieftains, Chief Ayo Adebanjo and Chief Olu Falae and a delegation from the South East would be led by the President-General of Ohanaeze, Chief Nnia Nwodo and former governor, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife.
Others expected include statesmen from the Middle Belt led by the President of Middle Belt Forum (MBF), Dr. Bala Takaya and Jonah Jang, former Governor of Plateau State.
Speakers and participants, the communique further stated, shall be drawn from across political, economic and social spectra; government and non-governmental organisations from the whole country.
The press release however reiterated that there was the need to â€œre-emphasise and redefine the essence and significance of the PANDEFâ€™s 16-point demands to serve as the basis of constructive engagement with the Federal Government and other geopolitical zones in the United Federal Republic of Nigeria, on the platform of equity, fairness and justice.â€
PANDEF averred that restructuring the country had become germane in a situation where resources taken from the Niger Delta region was controlled, managed and retained by â€œothers who contribute nothing in return to the development of our region.
â€œArising from series of strategic meetings of Southern Nigerian Leaders with PANDEF, the Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the Middle Belt Forum, and other stakeholders, in Lagos and Abuja respectively, and in each region, it was resolved that the campaign for restructuring should be extended more to grassroots levels.
â€œTo this end, the South-West region held her own Summit/Rally on restructuring at the Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba, Ibadan, Oyo State on Thursday, September 7, 2017, and our own Chief A.K Horsfall led the South-South delegation to the rally, while the South East delegation was led by Chief Nnia Nwodo, President General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo.â€