By Amos Tauna
Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum, SMBLF, has enjoined Nigerians to heed the warnings of former leaders, General Yakubu Gowon and Chief Olusegun Obasanjo on the restructuring of the country to avoid a war situation following the challenges facing the country.
SMBLF observed that it is only those who do not wish the county well that would ignore such statesmanly call.
SMBLF in a joint statement on Sunday by Yinka Odumakin, Gen. C. R. U. Ikekire, Senator Bassey Henshaw and Dr Isuwa Dogo for South West, South East, South-South and Middle Belt respectively, said, “The warnings to Nigerians from the two oldest ex-leaders in two months to restructure the country and avoid a war situation was not lost on the group.”
The group said it aligned itself with the warnings by the two leaders, saying that the concern they raised was the core issue at the heart of restructuring calls, adding that the citizens can live together in peace and harmony once the country makes justice and equity the cornerstones of its existence and not what it described as a union of the horse and the rider that is the order at this time in violation of federal spirit.
SMBLF said, “It is sheer wishful thinking for anybody to assume that the displeasure that various nationalities are feeling over the many attendant inequities of unitary Nigeria can disappear with strong-arm tactics and bullying those at receiving ends with terror gangs on a rampage around the country.
“Events around the world in recent years had shown clearly that the force of arms cannot succeed in keeping together any diverse people brought together by historical circumstance but refused to constitute themselves with respect, justice and understanding.”
The forum advised those in authority now to look beyond what it described as temporary gains of power and heed the advice to set the country, Nigeria on the path of negotiation, inclusiveness and a federal constitutional order, warning that a stitch in time as contained in ancient wisdom saves nine.
SMBLF noted, “A cursory look at events around the world in recent years have shown clearly that the force of arms cannot succeed in keeping together any diverse people brought together by historical circumstance but refuse to constitute themselves with respect, justice and fairness.
“We align with the patriotic interventions of the leaders and call on those in the saddle now to look beyond temporary gains of power and heed the advice to set this country on the path of negotiation, inclusiveness and a federal constitutional order. A stitch in time saves nine says ancient wisdom.”