June 16, 2009

FG must respect N-Deltans’ right to self determination —Group

By Tosin Adejuwon
The Council of Coalition of Oodua Self-Determination Groups (COSEG) has said the Federal  Government must respect and guarantee the rights of the Niger/Delta people for self determination.

It also condemned the positions maintained by the Federal Government, especially the National Assembly, on the military invasion of Ijaw communities of Delta State.

Besides, the Yoruba socio-political group said the Federal Government has failed in resolving the issues of nation building, noting that “so far, ten years have shown that we do not have a democratic government in Nigeria, rather a civilian dictatorship.”

In an address dedicated to mark 10 years of democratic rule in Nigeria and the celebration of June 12, the group decried  the six South-West states, excluding Lagos, saying they have performed below expectations in the last two years.

He said civilian governments in Nigeria have failed woefully to learn from the experiences gained from the peaceful, free and fair general election conducted on June 12, 1993.

According to COSEG, 16 years after, the country is yet to refrain itself from rigging and thuggery during elections.

COSEG called on the government to allow the consideration and eventual passage into law of recommendations made by the Justice Muhammed Uwais-led electoral reform committee for good governance in Nigeria.

Co-ordinating chairman of the group, Mr. Dayo Ogunlana, in a solidarity message to Ijaw people, said “ once more, we extend our solidarity to the Ijaw nation and its people who are currently under bombardment from the occupation forces of the Joint Task Force (JTF).

“We decry the attack on palaces, shrines, women and children and also condemn the war as unjust and unacceptable.”

Condemning the role the National Assembly has played so far in the attack, the group said “ we condemned the silence maintained by the National Assembly over the killings of Nigerians, especially children and women in the attacked communities.

“As Yoruba people, we are not  proud of Dimeji Bankole and his unguided utterances. The Niger/Delta people have the right to self-determination., including rights for a separate existence.”

Speaking on the performances of the south-west governors, it said in many of the state, the last few years were used in settling internal crisis existing within the political parties rather than giving the people dividends of democracy.

However, they scored the Lagos state government, under the leadership of Babatunde Raji Fashola high, saying he has demonstrated that democracy could work in Nigeria.