Elder statesmen from four of the six geo-political zones of the country, under the aegis of Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum have lambasted President Muhammadu Buhari’s standpoint on the restructuring of Nigeria, stressing that he (Buhari) is acting like Egyptian’s Pharaoh.
In a signed statement issued on Monday by the leaders of the Middle- Belt, Ndi- Igbo( Ohaneaze, Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, South- South and Afenifere, described the statement from the Presidency on restructuring as uncouth and rude warning.
According to the leaders, President Buhari must restructure now and withdraw from what they described as the path of implosion forewarned by patriots at home and abroad.
The statement signed by Yinka Odumakin for South West; Chief Guy Ikokwu for South East; Senator Bassey Henshaw for South South and Dr. Isuwa Dogo for Middle Belt, the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum particularly criticised the government on the warning issued by the Senior Special Assistant, Media to the President, Garba Shehu against patriotic organizations and responsible individuals like the respected Pastor Enoch A. Adeboye that this government should restructure the country to avert a break – up was uncalled for and unacceptable.
The statement read, “The attention of Southern and Middle Belt Leaders has been drawn to the very uncouth and rude warning issued by Garba Shehu against patriotic organizations and responsible individuals like the respected Pastor E A Adeboye that this government should restructure the country to avert a break – up.
“Sounding like spokesman of Pharaoh in Ancient Egypt Garba dismissed the recurring agitations as unpatriotic outbursts. ”The Presidency responds to the recurring threats to the corporate existence of the country with factions giving specific timelines for the President to do one thing or another or else, in their language, “the nation will break up.
”This is to warn that such unpatriotic outbursts are unhelpful and unwarranted as this government will not succumb to threats and take any decision out of pressure at a time when the nation’s full attention is needed to deal with the security challenges facing it at a time of the Covid-19 health crisis.
”Repeat: this administration will not take any decision against the interests of 200 million Nigerians, who are the President’s first responsibility under the constitution, out of fear or threats especially in this hour of health crisis”
“We are perturbed that instead of giving assurances about rebuilding the country towards inclusivity, the regime is talking down on Nigeria in very intemperate language.
“We want to make it clear to the regime that it cannot cow us by using cantonment approach to national issues. We will not accept turning us to second class citizens on our land not even with threats of arrests or assassinations.
“Should we be clapping for the government and not talk when the Customs appoints 8 Deputy Comptrollers from a section of the country? Are we expected to be saying well done when DSS recruits 535 cadets from Northwest and North East and only 93 from the entire South and Noth Central?
“Are we to keep quiet when the law setting up PENCOM was clear on succession at Directors level, you go and bring somebody from North East to replace a South East eased out DG?
“If Garba Shehu is not lexically challenged, he should know that those calling for restructuring are more patriotic than those running Nigeria towards implosion , Patriotism is to corporate Nigeria for all and not the sectional idea of Nigeria by the nepotists.
“We will not succumb to their narrow idea of Nigeria fully assured that this too shall come to pass. “Therefore, let us restructure now and withdraw from the path of implosion forewarned by patriots at home and abroad.”