By Emmanuel Oloniruha
Leaders from the South and Middle Belt regions of the country, on Saturday in Abuja, affirmed their support for restructuring and implementation of the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference.
The leaders in a communiqué issued after the meeting convened by Chief Edwin Clark, the Ijaw leader, said restructuring was solution to rising agitations.
The meeting was attended by leaders from the South-South, South-West, South-East and Meddle Belt.
Those in attendance were Chief Olu Falae, Prof. Jerry Gana, Idris Wada, Dan Suleiman, Labaran Maku, among others.
The communiqué was read by Yinka Odumakin, who said the summit was convened to find viable solutions to the rising agitations for a fair, just, equitable and balanced restructuring of the federal system.
He said that the leaders affirmed their loyalty, love and support for the Federal Republic of Nigeria as one nation.
Odumakin said the leaders were of the view that the current federal structure was ‘’unbalanced, unjust, unfair, over centralised, unstable, anti-development and therefore unacceptable.
“Accordingly, we firmly our support for the demand to restructure the federation in line with the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference.
“Recommendations to restore the country to the principles of federalism enshrined in the Independence Constitution negotiated by our founding fathers.
“ For the federation to function properly in the interest of the constituent parts there should be fundamental devolution of powers and functions to the federating units.
“This is important so that each federating unit can effectively serve the development interests of the people.
“This is the central essence of a good federation, not the current over-centralisation of powers and functions in the central government.’’
Odumakin said that as a logical derivative, Nigeria must work out a new fiscal formula that would move the country away from the current over-dependence on oil and gas revenue to a diversified economy.
“A diversified economy where all federating units are encouraged to develop their abundant natural human resources for regional and national development.
‘’`The federating units shall remit agreed percentage of their revenue to the federation account, ‘’ Odumakin said.
The leaders, according to Odumakin, also urged the Federal Government to take appropriate and urgent steps to ensure the full implementation of the resolutions and recommendations contained in the 2014 National Conference report.
They also called on the Federal Government to immediately review “the discriminatory appointments into key offices of government and the public service’’ in compliance with Section 14 of the 1999 Constitution.
The leaders, according to Odumakin , also condemned what they described as “ irresponsible and wicked destruction of lives and property,’’ by invading herdsmen throughout the Middle Belt and Southern states.
“We call on the Federal Government to immediately disarm all herdsmen in the country and bring an end to this organised terror.
“State governments are also called upon to outlaw open grazing in favour of organised ranching.’’
He said that the summit also condemned the quit order issued by Arewa youth to Igbos to vacate the North by Oct. 1.
“The quit order is reprehensible and we insist that any harm done to the lgbos will be taken as an attack on the entire South and the Middle Belt.’’