Afenifere, Ohanaeze, PANDEF Slam Buhari Over Stance Against Restructuring - Penangle | News Portal in Nigeria
Tue. Jun 18th, 2024
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  • Pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, the Ohaneze Ndigbo, Pan Niger Delta Forum and the Middle Belt Forum have kicked against the latest position of  President Muhammadu Buhari on the call for the restructuring of Nigeria.

According to the PUNCH Buhari had during the launch of Kudirat Abiola Sabon Gari, Zaria Peace Foundation in Zaria, erased any doubt about his dislike for the call for Nigeria’s restructuring.

Buhari, who was represented by the Executive Secretary, Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Alhaji Mohammed Shehu, had said, “those who are discussing restructuring; my question is, what are you going to restructure?”

“If you ask many Nigerians what they are going to restructure, you will find out that they have nothing to talk about. Some of them have not even studies the 1999 Constitution. The 1999 Constitution is almost 70 to 80 per cent 1979 Constitution.”

“Those calling for whether separation or restructuring; some of them I will say they are very naive or even mischievously dangerous. Those agitating for restructuring are ignorant of war and its consequences.”

But while Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and the Middle Belt Forum kicked against the President’s stance on the issue of restructuring, the Arewa Consultative Forum and an elder statesman, Tanko Yakassai, aligned with Buhari against restructuring.

Reacting, Afenifere in a statement by its Secretary-General, Sola Ebiseni, reiterated that the country needed to be restructured to get out of the current predicament.

Ebiseni added, “It is my submission that the statement could not be the opinion of President Buhari, who is already seeking restructuring the current Land Use Act under the 1999 Constitution to reopen grazing routes under a law made pursuant to the 1963 Constitution.

“We are at a critical stage where children, particularly in states with the highest population of children out of school in the world can no longer go to school at all for fear of being kidnapped for ransom.”

“State governments are demanding the powers to establish state police to deal with insecurity and prominent traditional rulers, especially Emirs have called on their people to rise in their own defence and some uninformed government officials are threatening us with war if we seek restructuring or self determination. It is so nauseating…this rudderless government.”

What’s holding Nigeria together no longer the same – Ohanaeze

In his remarks, the spokesman for Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Alex Ogbonnia, described the 1999 Constitution, which Buhari was talking about as fraudulent and should not be the basis for the renegotiation of Nigeria.

He said, “There is no way he (Buhari) can think that what has held us together for about 60 years ago will remain the same

“He has made his opinion but the truth now is that there is need for him to understand that the dominant view in Nigeria is that Nigeria should be restructured. We are saying that the centre is too homogeneous. The solution is restructuring.”

Restructuring advocates are patriots, M’Belt replies Buhari

Similarly, the President of the Middle Belt Forum, Bitrus Pogu, said those calling for restructuring of Nigeria as presently constituted were the genuine lovers of the country and not troublemakers.

Describing Buhari’s remarks as unfortunate, Pogu said it was only those who never wished Nigeria well that would push for the status quo to remain.

Pogu said, “Those clamouring for restructuring are genuine lovers of Nigeria; they are people who want Nigeria to work for the benefit of Nigerians because they have realised the skewed system which we are operating have created a lot of problems where insecurity has increased and things are not working well. Nobody is saying that Mr President’s powers should be seized.

Presidency either dishonest or confused, says PANDEF

Meanwhile, PANDEF’s National Publicity Secretary, Ken Robinson, said the presidency was insensitive to the unity of the country and her future.

PANDEF statement read in part, “The President’s statement indicts not only his party, the All Progressives Congress, but himself, as well. It speaks to the fact that they are either dishonest or incoherent and confused.

“How could a President whose party constituted a committee on restructuring that was chaired by one of his, Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, make such comments?  The Governor El-Rufai Committee concluded its assignment and submitted a report to the party, of which the President is the supposed leader over two years ago.”

“That the President could make such comments, though, through a representative, reflects the core of the nation’s problems at this time. That he could threaten war and the destruction of livelihoods of Nigerians shows that this Presidency is insensitive, callous, and doesn’t care about the unity and future of Nigeria.”

ACF knocks agitators of restructuring, aligns with Buhari

However, the ACF National Publicity Secretary, Emmanuel Yawe, who supported Buhari’s stance on restructuring said, “We in the ACF disagree with them (agitators). What we have found rather strange is that some of the agitators for restructuring are the same people calling for the dismemberment of Nigeria.”

“We don’t see how you are going to restructure a non-existent country. Before you restructure, we want a referendum so that we have a country to restructure. How can Nigeria be restructured if it no longer exists?”

Yakasai backs Buhari, seeks clarity   

Also, elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, said President Muhammadu Buhari was right to question agitations for restructuring within the context of today’s Nigeria.

Yakasai, who spoke with The PUNCH in Abuja on Sunday, said, “Let those calling for restructuring be clear about what they are asking for. Is it a return to the 1963 constitution or something else?”

“And for those calling for secession, who are burning down public buildings and killing security officials; is that how to make demands?”

“This country belongs to all of us; dialogue is always the best way to settle disputes because violence does no one any good.”

Buhari’s comments on restructuring, arrogant, dictatorial –PDP

But the Peoples Democratic Party faulted the statement credited to Buhari describing the demand by Nigerians for constitutional restructuring as contiguous with warfare.

The PDP, in a statement titled, ‘Restructuring: PDP cautions Buhari on warfare references: says he can’t stop Nigerians from amending constitution’, by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, accused the President of being arrogant, dictatorial, and inciting with his submissions.

The PDP asked Buhari “to stop pushing the nation to the precipices by his arrogant and dictatorial remarks as well as inflammatory referencing to war, particularly in his apparent aversion towards the constitutionally guaranteed rights of Nigerians.”

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