Prominent leaders from the southern part of the country have insisted that the terms for Nigeria’s continued existence must be negotiated.
This was part of the consensus they reached on Wednesday when the Southern Leaders Forum met in Lagos.
Their meeting was inspired by the national broadcast by President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, where he declared that the unity of Nigeria cannot be negotiated.
In a communique jointly signed by Edwin Clark and Reuben Fasoranti, and read after the meeting, the group said the meeting the president claimed he had with late Odumegwu Ojukwu where they agreed in Nigeria’s unity is reviewable.
The communique read in part: “President Buhari expressed dissatisfaction about comments on Nigeria (while he was away) that ‘questioned our collective existence as a nation’ and which he said has crossed the ‘red lines’.
The president deployed the imagery of the late Ikemba Ojukwu to play down the demand for the renegotiation of the structure of Nigeria by saying they both agreed in Daura, in 2013, that we must remain one and united.
While we agree with them, the meeting between the two of them could not have been a Sovereign National Conference whose decisions cannot be reviewed. The claim that Nigeria’s unity is settled and not negotiable is untenable.
If we are a settled nation, we would not be dealing with the crisis of nation building that are affecting us today.
The one sentence by the president that every Nigerian can live anywhere without hindrance is rather too short to address the clear danger that the unwarranted threat against the Igbo represents.
Some prominent names at the meeting were: President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, John Nnia Nwodo, Afenifere chieftain, Ayo Adebanjo, former Foreign Affairs Minister, General Ike Nwachukwu (rtd), Prof. Joe Irukwu, former Director-General of the Department of State Service (DSS) and Albert Horsfall.
Others were Dr Walter Ofonagoro, Prof. George Obiozor, Tony Uranta, coordinator of Oodua Peoples Congress, Gani Adams, Prof. Banji Akintoye, Dr Amos Akingba, Col Tony Nyiam (rtd) and Yinka Odumakin.