Southern Govs’ Call For National Dialogue: Echoes From Aburi

By Joe Ezuma

Governors of Southern Nigeria have urged the  Federal Government to convoke a national dialogue and take urgent steps to restructure the country.

But  many who have become  doubtful  about  confabs     claim the call for  dialogue would rather serve as  safety valve for those who have constantly  blocked  the  implementation of  earlier  dialogue , as it would offer them postponement  of the evil they so much dread.

they point  to insincererity of  those who  had held the country at the jugular  , suppressing democracy and popular expression

The Southern Governors met in Asaba, Delta State on Tuesday to deliberate on the current security situation, agitations and clamour for restructuring of the country.
The governors  expressed  grave concern on the security challenge currently plaguing the nation and strongly urged that President Muhammad Buhari, to address Nigerians on the challenges of insecurity and restore the confidence of the people.
Chairman of Governors of Southern Nigeria and Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, who read the communique after the meeting which at the Government House, Asaba, said the country is long overdue for restructuring

“In view of widespread agitations among our various peoples for greater inclusiveness in existing governance arrangements, the Federal Government should convoke a national dialogue as a matter of urgency.”
The Southern governors recommended that in deference to the sensitivities of the various peoples of the country, there is need to review appointments into Federal Government agencies (including security agencies) to reflect federal character as Nigeria’s overall population is heterogenous.
The  governors, however, observed that the incursion of armed herders, criminals and bandits into the Southern part of the country has presented a severe security challenge such that citizens are not able to live their normal lives including pursuing various productive activities leading to a threat to food supply and general security.
Consequently, the meeting resolved that open grazing of cattle be banned across Southern Nigeria.
They noted that development and population growth has put pressure on available land and increased the prospects of conflict between migrating herders and local populations in the South.
“Given this scenario, it becomes imperative to enforce the ban on open grazing in the South (including cattle movement to the South by foot); recommended that the Federal Government should support willing States to develop alternative and modern livestock management systems,.” they stated.

Accding   chief  Mike Obodoechi, ‘’ opposition to restructuring arose from  mistrust among ethnic nationalities  in Nigeria’’

Obodoechi  said that  discordant tunes from all sections of the country clearly shows that the  centre  could no longer hold .

These , among other centrifugal issues bedeviling the country  formed  their deposition in a communique at the end of the meeting.

 But many are asking questions which the governors could not  put answers to in   their communique. how many dialogues and confabs  can we have in the country for it to move ahead.

some who see the call as a mirage  noted that the bed rock of the Aburi dialogue or conference by Nigeria’s leaders before the civil war broke out  was  the confidence among Nigeria’s populations had been grossly erased

It was agreed that  to restore this lack of confidence for the nation to forge ahead, different regions should  stay apart in a loose federation controlled by the centre but each with a limited autonomy.

The regions were to control their resources  and pay 12 percent to the federal government for maintenance of the armed forces, the police  telecommunications customs  and immigration among others while also maintaining a regional police .  But the federal forces twarted the agreement  and encouraged  then Gen. Yakubu Gowon to backslide at the  agreement.

Since then  the nation has witnessed  more conferences, dialogue and constitutional amendments    which adorn the shelves of the government

The last was the 2014 confab which many felt  would salvage  the country from disintegration if implemented .      suffice it to say that most of those at the Asaba meeting were at that Confab.

What has been a national refrain since the fourt republice  has been  a reechoing of the  Abuja conference and  various Confabs these sore points include resource control, agitations for ethnic nationalities independenc such as   agitation by Ralph Uwazurike survival of the sovereign state of Biafra,  IPOB, Oduduwa republic , Niger Delta republic  , agitation by  United Middle Belt Forum. these were escalated  by the  Boko Haram insurgence which introduce mass killing In their quest  for Islamic  political entity.

The  Vive president  Alex  Ekwueme had   at one of  the interviews he granted a national daily, noted  the  failure of the  Gowon’s federal government to implement  the Aburi Accord  was  at the root of  flurry of agitations in the country.

Observers  say how sincere the governors at the Asaba  meeting are ,would be seen in the  months to come. they point to the inability of some of the governors  to allow for  independence of the judiciary, local government autonomy  and independence of  state legislatures

Related posts