By Emeka Mamah
Enugu – Nine socio-political organisations in both the South – South and South East zones yesterday lambasted the National Assembly, NASS, over its opposition to restructuring of the country, saying that there would be no future elections in the old Eastern Region if genuine efforts were not made to start the process before October 1, this year.
They said that the 1999 Constitution which was handed over to Nigerians by the General Abdusalami Abubakar’s military administration was more of a decree and hence unworkable as a constitution.
The groups which met in Enugu included the Eastern Consultative Assembly, ECA, South- East Elders Union, SEEU, the South East Christian Network, Igbo Women Assembly, Igbo Traders Association, South East/South Youth Assembly, Ofuobi Cultural Association, Igbo Students Union and Igbo Youth Movement, IYM.
In their communique entitled, “Enugu Declaration,” the groups lamented that “The General Abubakar Decree 24 popularly known as the 1999 Constitution and its militarily imposed unitary structure simply makes it impossible for the hapless electorate to choose their own leaders.,” warning that Nigeria must be restructured now or count the easterners out future elections in the country.
The communique signed by the Founder of IYM, Evangelist Elliot Ugochukwu- Uko, Publicity Secretary of ECA, Rev Fr John Odeh, as well as Dr Alfred Udokwu for South East Elders Union; Bishop Mike Ibenene for South East Christian Network,; Chief (Mrs) Maria Okwor for Igbo Women Assembly; Chief Chris Obikwelu for Igbo Traders Association; Mazi Chimezie Ubani for Igbo Students Union; Comrade Akpan Effiong for South East/South South Youth Assembly and Elder Richard Okonkwo for Ofuobi Cultural Association read, “The Eastern Consultative Assembly, in conjunction with eight other groups held an emergency meeting today (yesterday) in Enugu and declare as follows:
“Due to the desperate attempts by enemies of equity and justice to sustain by all means this evil unitary structure that has visited untold hardship, misery and disequilibrium on our land, we are now left with no other choice than to embark on civil disobedience and passive resistance, accordingly, our people we no longer participate in their unitary Nigeria events henceforth.
“Having consulted widely among our people, in order to build lasting and binding consensus, before taking final decision, since the spirited but shocking attempts of those fiercely opposed to returning Nigeria back to regional arrangement through a peaceful restructuring process, to insult the entire country by embarking on childish distraction of quit notices and divide and rule tactics, and unhelpful constitutional amendments, all geared towards sustaining the current unitary structure imposed on Nigeria on May 26th 1967, it has become necessary to make public our findings and decision.
“The struggle by a tiny clique to sustain by all means, the status quo, imposed on Nigeria by unelected soldiers, by issuing threats of war in the false hope that the 196 million Nigerians held down in unacceptable squalor, fear, helplessness and arrested development will be cowed by this threats of military action and therefore back down from the noble struggle to save Nigeria, through a peaceful restructuring is provocative and offensive.
“Their arrogance, and ruthlessness has no place in the 21st century. It can only lead to the death of Nigeria.
“Nigeria must be restructured, if Nigeria is to survive. Egalitarianism, equity and merit-based system must be enthroned.
And fiscal federalism and regional autonomy established through a new people’s constitution, affirmed at a referendum.
This is the irreducible minimum.Those struggling to resist this desirable change that will save Nigeria, and grant every zone a sense of belonging, are hereby declared enemies of the people.
“Accordingly, we the oppressed masses of Eastern Nigeria, conscious of the fate of our children, reject in totality, the quite offensive arrogance of those opposed to restructuring, and hereby declare that we will not participate further in any elections whatsoever until Nigeria is restructured to true fiscal federalism anchored on regional autonomy.
“We restate that if genuine processes towards restructuring Nigeria is not embarked upon by the Federal Government on or before the 1st of October 2017, our people will find it extremely difficult to continue to participate in the Nigerian project.
“The division in the land, the hate in the system and the apprehension in the air, all, confirm the urgency for a re-engineering and reconstruction of the nation, we aver, that those who disagree, are not only enemies of the country, but also agents of destabilization.
“That we affirm, with every sense of responsibility, that continuing to vote in elections in this dysfunctional land will be deepening the hole the country has fallen into. Moreover, we do not wish to enslave our children to a life of second class status.
“We will no longer vote in any elections whatsoever, until Nigeria is restructured. Period. This is the demand, desire and decision of the masses of Eastern Nigeria.
“We therefore conclude, that apart from the political class and their political structure oti mpku (foot soldiers) and the elite club who live in comfort zones, 99 percent of our people do not see any benefits of electing leaders the structure makes impossible to hold accountable. Leaders who remain insensitive to the needs of the masses. Restructure now, or count us out of your elections.”
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