Kolade, Anya, others chart new course for Nigeria

The meeting, which was co-chaired by Anya and Kolade, was convened in response to the recent threat and quit ultimatum by the Arewa youths to Nigerians of Igbo extraction residing in the northern part of the country.

Prominents Southern leaders, using a coined name of YIIEGBA, which according to them, connotes cry of anguish and shout of victory, have emphasised the need to chart a new path that will lead Nigeria out of her current predicaments and stop the drum beats of war.

The leaders, who include scholar and Igbo leader, Professor Anya O. Anya, Nigeria’s former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Dr. Christopher Kolade, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gen. Ike Nwachukwu (rtd), former governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, a chieftain of Afenifere, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, former Director of Ground Operation in Nigeria Airways, Captain Prokeme Porbeni (rtd), Dr. Amos Akingba and Yinka Odumakin among others, in a meeting held yesterday in Lagos, canvassed for unity, particularly in the south and across the country to build a strong, workable and viable Nigeria.

The meeting, which was co-chaired by Anya and Kolade, was convened in response to the recent threat and quit ultimatum by the Arewa youths to Nigerians of Igbo extraction residing in the northern part of the country.

In his address, Kolade who said it is imperative to stay together in order to build a stronger and viable Nigeria, stressed the need to have a peaceful, productive and progressive country and that the only way this could be achieved is to stand in unity.

He said, “Nothing should defeat this purpose. The gathering is not looking for any political, ethnic or selfish affinity but purely the good and the progress of Nigeria. Whatever you are or wherever you are coming from, the utmost good and unity of Nigeria where everybody will progress and benefits the God-given endowments in this nation is our goal.”

Anya in his remark said there was the need to explore everything that needed to be explored to create a foundation for a new Nigeria. According to him, “We need a Nigeria that would be fair to all, peaceful and where everybody irrespective of their ethnic background, would feel free. We need a country that would put its citizens to work and not war and in which all will benefit and not few individuals.”

On the agitation for restructuring, the scholar commended former Military Head of States, Gen. Yakubu Gowon and Ibrahim Babangida (rtd) and former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, for lending their voices for Nigeria to be restructured saying, “their voices have added credence to the call to reform Nigeria and you can be rest assured that the battle to get Nigeria reformed is half won. The reason we elders are coming out now is because the country is at a point where we could no longer sit on the sideline. The journey to get a new Nigeria has begun.”

In his comment Ezeife warned that time is running out for Nigeria to get restructured “if we don’t get restructured between now and next year, we may loose the country.” The former governor emphasised the need to go back to the type of Nigeria, which our founding fathers agreed on that is regionalism and true federating units.”

Ezeife further urged the Federal Government to create a body that will deal with restructuring between now and next year “even if it will involve a referendum.”

Adebanjo on his part encouraged those who were still skeptical about the trending relationship between the South East, South West and the South-South elders to see beyond their doubts. He added that the bond was not a gang up, as some people tend to believe, but rather to further make stronger the call to reform the present skewed system.

The charter presented after the meeting by the elders stated the acceptability of the equality of all mankind, whether male or female. It also posited that based on the bitter African experience, “war and violent expressions have produced no benefits, instead dialogue should be encouraged at all times and the non-violent approach adopted to re-engineer our diversities as a strength rather than weakness.’

Lastly, it harped on the fact that the legitimacy of all forms of government should be based on the consent of the governed and must exists solely for the better life of citizens in the form of security, education, healthcare, and social welfare.

The charter further stated that working in this new light of mutual respect and equity on the platform of universal brotherhood, Nigeria could reverse and engineer the negative programming behind Africa’s fractals of failure.



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