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Restructuring: Ohanaeze, Niger Delta Leaders Back Ibadan Conference

Ohanaeze Ndigbo and leaders of the Niger Delta threw their weight behind the agitation for restructuring as encapsulated in Ibadan Yoruba summit.
A cross section of Yoruba leaders at the Ibadan summit

The Igbo apex socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and leaders of the Niger Delta region have thrown their weight behind the agitation for restructuring as encapsulated in the summit held yesterday by Yoruba coalition.

The said Ohanaeze and Niger Delta leaders were present during the meeting on Thursday in Ibadan to demand a fully restructured Nigeria.

During the meeting, the stakeholders raised a 16-point communiqué dubbed Ibadan Declaration.

The communiqué was signed by the summit chairman, Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), and the Chairman of the Planning Committee, Dr. Kunle Olajide, and read by National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin.

Some of the demands include that Nigeria must return to proper federation as obtained in the 1960 and 1963 constitutions.

They stressed that this had been the position of the zone since the 1950 Ibadan Conference.

Read the full report as published by Elombah.com here: Yoruba Leaders Meet, Insist On Restructuring, Regional Administration

Throwing their support for the Yoruba position, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, who led the South-East delegation to the summit, said Nigerians, especially, people in the Southern part, were being ruled with a set of documents they were not party to.

He, therefore, concurred that it’s time for every region to dictate its level of development as it was in the regional system of the past.

Hear him: “I am here with a large delegation to emphasise the Ndigbo solidarity with this occasion. 

“What is happening today shows that democracy has begun to grow in Nigeria.

“Is it right to be ruled by a document that you are not a party to? 

“What we are saying today is that the people of Nigeria must have a say in the way they are governed. 

“It is not only the Yoruba that are saying it; we, the Igbo, are saying it loud and clear. 

“Many people have tried to destroy restructuring by saying that it is a ploy by Southern Nigeria to monopolise the God-given mineral resources in the area. 

“Those who are doing this do not love Nigeria.

“The Netherlands is the 18th richest country in the world. Its agricultural export every year comes to $100 billion. 

“The Netherlands has 34,000 square kilometres but Niger State in Nigeria has 73,000 kilometres. 

“If Netherlands can export $100 billion worth of agricultural produce, Nigeria should be able to do more in million folds.

“In a restructured Nigeria, only those who can till their land and produce food will be rich. All parts of Nigeria are endowed with agricultural resources.

“California is the largest economy in the world, yet, it is only one state in the United States. 

“California has given birth to richest companies in the world whose founders grew from universities in California. 

“If you give the people the power to develop themselves, they will do well.

“Education knows no boundaries, I was thought by Yoruba professors and today, I can mimic the Yoruba intellectual powers.

“I want to tell you that we support your motion for restructuring of Nigeria.”

Speaking on behalf of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, Albert Horsfall said Nigeria’s structure was lopsided.

He stressed that the lopsided structure gives undue advantage to a set of people to be at the saddle because of questionable, unproven population figure.

He stated: “The whole issue of restructuring depends on the control of what you or your soil produces. 

“We in the South-South have, for several decades, provided the engine room that runs Nigeria but we are still expecting to be given the privilege to run our own affairs. 

“That is the restructuring that we are talking about. The rest of us in the south speak with one voice over restructuring. 

“We believe in one Nigeria but every country must do something and contribute something to the nation. 

“We do not want a system called federalism but based on unitary system of government.

“If you go to the Niger Delta today, despite the fact that we lay the golden egg, our people are still agitating. 

“We are not mad; we are agitating because history repeats itself.

“The issue of restructure must start with resource control. That is what we believe. We support the Yoruba motion in its entirety. 

“The sage, Chief Awolowo is closely related in politics with my father, who was also a leader of the Action Group.

“We have affinity with the Yoruba and that is why we are here to speak in acknowledgment of what the Yoruba people are doing today.”

The Yoruba Summit, held in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, was convened to deliberate on the position of the Yoruba on restructuring and the future of Nigeria.

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