A coalition of pressure and socio-political groups in the South-East on the banner of the Eastern Consultative Assembly, ECA, has made the restructuring of the country, a major condition for backing any candidate or political party in the 2019 general elections.
Rising from a meeting in Enugu, the Enugu State Capital, leaders of the groups, who lamented the killings of Igbo people in many parts of the country and refusal of the Federal Government to punish the culprits, said Nigeria cannot afford to continue with the unitary system of government.
Held at the residence of Chief Mrs. Maria Okwor, the meeting had in attendance leaders of the Clergy, Christian Association, CAN, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, town unions, students groups, women associations, youth organizations and traders unions.
Also present at the meeting were relatives of Ndubisi Uzoma, who was beheaded by Fulani herdsmen, last week, in Abuja and Pastor Mike Agbahime, who decried the release of Dauda and co who murdered his 74 year old wife, Bridget, in Kano last June.
In a communique by Mrs. Maria Okwor and secretary of ECA, Evang. Elliot Ugochukwu-Uko, the ECA said ”the continued pretence by the central government that the loss of faith in unitary Nigeria as shown by various agitations for secession can be resolved through force of arms is childish and actually paints government as unserious and insincere about the need to save Nigeria’s future. Every adult in Nigeria, knows Nigeria’s survival is hinged only on a sincere restructuring of the polity along the lines of regional autonomy, anchored on true fiscal federalism according to the 1963 constitution.
Continuous delay in restructuring Nigeria only deepens the acrimony, distrusts and fears presently ruling the land.” The leaders also tasked the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubabakar 111, who is visiting Enugu, today, on the killings of Igbo in the North and menace of Fulani herdsmen.
They said: ”As a new awareness slowly but certainly emerges from the ashes of these trying period, we warn our leaders without followers that their 46 years old self-centred agenda and mindless exploitation of the masses’ helplessness has abruptly come to an end, as they have to key in to the people’s demand of political restructuring of Nigeria, if they want to truly lead the people.
”No politician who is not in support of restructuring Nigeria will receive votes in Igbo land, from ward elections, through state and National legislative elections to governorship and presidential elections. Our people will only vote for freedom from eternal slavery henceforth.”
It condemned the release of Dauda Ahmed and co, who were charged for the murder of 74 year old Bridget Agbahime in Kano on June 2 2016, and urge both the Kano state government and the Federal government to re-arrest and retry the five murderers and bring to justice the killers of Mrs Agbahime as earlier promised by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The ECA also condemned the non arrest and prosecution of Fulani Herdsmen who beheaded and carted away the head of citizen Ndubisi Uzoma in Iddo, airport road Abuja last week over incessant altercations with Fulani herdsmen due to the destruction of his farms.
It stated that the continuous refusal by government to set up a Judicial commission of enquiry as demanded by the Senate, Amnesty International and others, over the extra-judicial killings of Igbo youths especially on February 9, 2016 at National High School Aba and St Edmonds Catholic Church Nkpor on May 30, 2016 has earned the secessionist groups more sympathy and painted government as the villain. ”The current government strategy of ‘we have enough ammunition to deal with you people’ exemplified by military operations named after all kinds of reptiles, is clearly not working. Identifying and addressing the issues that has led millions of young people to lose faith in Nigeria remains the only solution to resolving these agitations. Military solution only exacerbates it,” it added.