On Nigeria’s Restructuring We Stand- Southern Leaders

On Nigeria’s Restructuring We Stand- Southern Leaders
Prominent leaders from the south west, south east and south-south
Sunday converged on Lagos to brainstorm on the vexed issue of the
country’s restructuring, saying the patience of Nigerians is fast
evaporating under the present governance structure.
The leaders operating under the aegis of, “Southern Leaders Of
Thought” led by Prof. Ben Nwabuze, at a press conference in Lagos said
the present situation could lead violent reaction and resistance if
the clamour for restructuring is not immediately addressed.
The group said it has produced a roadmap that will form basis of its
negotiations when all concerned groups eventually converge to discuss
the future of the country.
In an abridged prepared text read to the media, Nwabueze said, “The
message underlying our statement at this Press Conference is that
negotiated Re-structuring, implemented through a new Constitution, is
the best assurance for the realization of our desire for one Nigeria.
“We, members of the Group of Southern Leaders of Thought, are
committed Patriots, imbued with an abiding faith in one Nigeria, and
the belief that the majority of Nigerians share the same faith, but
wish to be given an  opportunity to negotiate changes in our
governmental structures, needed to accomplish their desires believing
that appropriate structures must be put in place for good governance,
another of our vital needs, to take place”.
The group declared that the circumstances of Nigeria as a country
with vast expanse of territory, comprising a great diversity of ethnic
nationalities, with divergent interests and outlooks, seems generally
agreed that a federal system is the system appropriate to our
situation.
“We therefore conceive Re-structuring as requiring, modified as
necessary, the restoration or re-establishment of the kind of
federalism that existed under our 1960/1963 Constitutions. That is the
central object or purpose of Re-structuring” Nwabueze declared.
Offering further explanations, the elder statesman said, “In more
explicit words, the essential purpose of Re-structuring is to enable
the component ethnic nationalities, grouped together by affinity of
culture/language or territorial contiguity, to govern themselves in
matters of internal concern, leaving matters of common concern, not
overwhelmingly extensive in their range, to be managed under a central
government constituted in such manner as to ensure that it is not
dominated by any one group or a combination of them, and above all, to
ensure justice, fairness and equity to all in the management of matter
of common concern”.
According to him, this will assure a optimal measure of self
determination or self government consistent with the territorial
sovereignty of the country, explaining that self determination
connotes essentially, not  independent government, but the right of
each group, within the territorial sovereignty of the country as one
state, to govern itself in matters that concern it alone, as for
example local government matters which is a example par -excellence of
a matter of local concern.
Nwabueze, counseled those who misconstrue the term self
determination, pointing that it simply expresses the essence of
Re-structuring, adding that is means a situation where ethnic
nationalities, grouped together by reference to culture, language and
geographical contiguity should be enabled to govern themselves in
matters that concern them alone, within the sovereignty of a central
government common to all, with powers appropriately circumscribed.

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