The Southern Middle Belt Leaders Forum says never again will the core North dictate to the rest of Nigeria how to run the country describing the meeting of the Northern governors at the aftermath of the #ENDSARS protests as insensitive and total subversion of the unity of the country.
At an emergency meeting in Abuja on Wednesday, the forum said, “ We make it abundantly clear to our colleagues from the core North that yesterday ended last night and never again shall this country be run the same old way.
“No section of the country can play any supremacist role again as if the rest of us are fools.
It is either we live together as equals under the same rules of engagement or we explore other options as dignified human beings.”
The Northern Governors had held a meeting in Kaduna on Monday. The meeting had in attendance emirs, chiefs and Arewa leaders and some government officials from the North. At the meeting, the governors discussed the #ENDSARS protests among other issues.
However, the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders said the northern governors meeting at a time when all Nigerians should be “putting heads together nationally to seek solutions to our problems is most distractive, divisive and made Nigeria widely scattered .
The forum said, “Where would this country be heading to if we also decide to call our own meeting with our governors and top officials in the Federal Government?
“We do not see any responsibility displayed by those who have been serially accused of sectionalising our national government to allow such insensibility , insensitivity and total subversion of the unity of the country that only exists on the lips of those behind the meeting .”
The forum described the communique of the meeting making space for National Executive Council nominations to a sectional initiative “as the utmost level of disregard to the rest of the country whom they are treating as serfs when we are supposed to joint and equal stakeholders in project Nigeria.”
It wondered the quality of humanity of any group meeting at this period of mourning that did not have a word of compassion for those that were recklessly murdered by state forces and hired thugs during the protests.
“We reject the indecent approach to paste the peaceful protesters in dark colours. They made their demands clear and were orderly before the violent Nigerian state deployed armed soldiers and thugs in 911 lorries against them.
“It is wickedness to place “our power” above every other national interest by playing the “regime change” label on the peaceful protesters who were not armed like Boko Haram that the regime is chasing about with negotiations in the same spirit it has been cuddling and pampering killer herdsmen.
“ We do not see the thoughtfulness in the celebration of Northern youth not participating in #ENDSARS protests as if they did not also loot like their deprived young people in other areas of the country which shows they are suffering the same thing. But instead of treating leprosy our counterparts are dealing with eczema.
“We foresaw all that is happening now, which is why we have been calling for restructuring as a multi – ethnic country like Nigeria can only be run along federal lines. We were not oblivious of the damage the military did to this country by using fiat to create LGAs with headquarters in the villages of top shots mostly from the North.
“Kano State today has 44 Local Governments and Bayelsa has 8. When you want to recruit 10 policemen per LGA, Bayelsa will have 80 and Kano 44O.That affects where the materials to be drawn into SARS and others are drawn.
“The inequalities multiply everywhere. And this is why we insist on restructuring of the country now before we go for any national election.
“ We make it abundantly clear to our colleagues from the core North that yesterday ended last night and never again shall this country be run the same old way. NO section of the country can play any supremacist role again as if the rest of us are fools.
“ It is either we live together as equals under the same rules of engagement or we explore other options as dignified human beings.
“ We deeply mourn with all families who lost dear ones in the crisis we just went through and pray to God to comfort them. May those who wantonly destroyed lives pay grievously for their deeds,” the statement read.
Members of the forum include Chief Ayo Adebanjo(for Afenifere Leader) , Yinka Odumakin , Senator Kofoworola Bucknor-Akerele, Chief Supo Sonibare, Oba Oladipo Olaitan, Senator Femi Okurounmu, Chief Demola Folarin, Dr Akin Fapohunda,
Chief Ek Clark (PANDEF Leader), AVM Idongesit Nkanga, Chief Broderick Bozimo, Mr Solomon Asemota (SAN), Senator Bassey Henshaw, Prof GG Darah and Chief T k O Okorotie
Others are Chief John Nwodo (President General, Ohanaeze ), Chief Guy Ikokwu, Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Bar Chuks Muomah SAN, BAR Mike Ahamba SAN,Mr Madu Bright O Allwell , Bar Chuks Achi-Okpaga and Chief Alex Ogbonnia.
Other members are Dr Pogu Bitrus (President Middle Belt Forum), Air Cmdor Dan Suleiman, Dr S D Gani, Elder Stephen Bangoji, Hon Jonathan Asake, Mr Chris Aba, Barr Mark Jacob and Barr Festus Nyiwo.