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S/South, South East leaders insist on one Nigeria

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….As Oshiomhole, Ezeife, Sagay disagree on restructuring

By Simon Ebegbulem, Benin City

SOUTH South and South East Leaders converged on Benin City, yesterday, at the Prof. Wole Soyinka Annual Public Lecture, and insisted on one Nigeria.

They also called for the restructuring of the nation into regions for effective governance.

A former governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay said the country was heading towards extinction and called for urgent restructuring.

Igbo Chiefs

However, the immediate past governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole differed saying that rather than restructuring leaders should call for devolution of powers.

Other leaders at the event include Edo State governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki and Delta State governor, Mr. Ifeanyi Okowa, who was represented by his Chief of Staff among others. The leaders spoke on the topic: Nigerian State in the Aftermath of the Centenary: Prospect for its Indivisibility.

The event was organized by the National Association of Seadogs.

Obaseki, who was the chairman of the occasion, said that having the right leadership at all levels of government was the solution to the recurring clamour for self-determination in the country.

He said: ‘’The question of whether Nigeria has come to stay is a non-issue, the real issue is what sort of country should we create for ourselves?”

In his submission, Prof. Sagay, who condemned the Senate for what he described as their fat take home, stressed the need for total overhaul of Nigeria’s current structure.

He said:”I agree with what Comrade said, I will say basically that we are discussing the issue of good governance and that is more important than restructuring. But I want to say that restructuring itself promotes good governance. My own understanding of restructuring is resort to true federalism and autonomy of federating units.

“It is natural that people want autonomy, so good governance is extremely important but it does not satisfy the autonomy of a certain group who feels that if decisions are being taken for them by another group, there will be no peace

“It is imperative that we return to the 1963 constitution, modified to suit our present circumstances if we are to co-exist in a stable crisis-free and fast developing nation. We have 36 states and they collect only 36 per cent of what we have in the Federation account, the Federal Government collects 54 per cent. ‘’

On his part, Oshiomhole asserted thus:” I submit that the dissolution of this country is not a viable conversation, what I think is viable is to ask ourselves what to do to move this nation forward. As we speak some of the oil producing states are not able to pay salaries as at when due, they are not able to pay pensions as at when due. Is that really the issue of viability, it is about creative of leadership.’’

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