By Festus Ahon, ASABA
THE League of Professionals for Strategic Advocacy, Monday, berated the President of the Nigerian Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila and former Chairman of the National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, Prof Usman Yusuf for opposing the decision Southern Governors to ban open grazing of cattle, call for national dialogue, restructuring of the country among others.
The League in a statement by its Convener, Prince Obaro Unuafe, Chairman, Mr Pius Mordi, and Secretary, Mr Fred Akpewe, secretary, described the coordinated condemnation by a section of Northern Leaders of the decisions made by the Southern Governors “as provocative, insulting and a confirmation that the security challenges facing Nigeria are orchestrated by dubious groups that thrive under the current unjust political situation.
“In accusing the southern governors of not consulting the Fulani before banning open grazing of cattle, Prof. Yusuf is still clinging to some old but baseless thinking that he and his Fulani kinsmen are superior in the Nigerian arrangement. Why would southern governors who have a responsibility to secure the lives and livelihood of their citizens have to consult Yusuf and his ilk other than for his warped and conflicted superiority complex?”.
Saying the statement credited Senator Ahmed Lawan “as reflecting the view of his principal who arm-twisted the upper legislative chamber in making him Senate President”, they said; “President Muhammadu Buhari made Lawan Senate President and the President’s aversion to fairness and justice in the running and structure of Nigeria is undisguised.
“Even as the country is on a cliffhanger with all the signs of a failing state, they are more interested in sustaining the crumbling building than in nation-building”, adding that the “issues and measures adopted by Governors from the Southern part of the country as the first significant step towards rescuing Nigeria from the precipice”.
The group insisted that “structural reform of the country is an inevitable step towards laying a fresh foundation for Nigeria’s regeneration. The ruling party and President Buhari must not see the recommendations from the prism of politics.
“They must note that the Asaba Declaration is the product of dispassionate evaluation of governors from all the three political parties controlling the 36 states.
From the day the 1999 Constitution was promulgated, it was clear the document is conflicted, unsustainable and never reflected the true desires of Nigerians.
“The problem is not about President Buhari, but the system foisted on the nation, urging the Southern Governors “to initiate the process of getting their individual Houses of Assembly to enact legislation giving legal teeth to the ban.
“The Governors should set up a joint committee with representatives from each state to draft a bill that will be passed by each House of Assembly. It is our view that the bill should be passed into law within four weeks. Until the ban is backed by law, it will be unenforceable.
“We commend the governors for adopting the strident call by Nigerians for state Police. Allowing states to have their own Police is long overdue. Crime is local and the solution is also local. The nature of crimes confronting Nigeria is very sophisticated and pose an existential threat to the country.
“No Governor can stand the shame of seeing his people evicted from their communities, the people kidnapped and killed routinely and remain aloof. We call on the governors to stand their ground as the establishment of state Police is now irreversible if the country is to regain a semblance of sanity and order.
“We call on President Buhari to hasten the process of returning the country to true federalism. Too much power is concentrated on the Federal Government.
The number of items on the Exclusive List is too many and have vested too many powers on the Federal Government to the extent that it cannot manage the powers and have ironically become toothless.
“Nigeria has been papering over the cracks and challenges since 1999. Unfortunately, we are now on a cliffhanger and unless we retrace our steps and lay a fresh and solid foundation, Nigeria is on the trajectory to perdition”, adding that “the President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila have rejected the Southern Governors’ call for restructuring of the country.
“By the pronouncements of Senate President Lawan, he has proved to be unreliable in the task of rebuilding Nigeria and can no longer be trusted. That is why we endorse the stance of the 17 governors from the south for a national dialogue to be convened by President Buhari.
“Such dialogue should be made of genuine representatives of the people and ethnos nationalities and their resolution and declaration should form the bedrock of a new constitution. The present crop of lawmakers is two enmeshed in the decayed system holding the country down to be trusted to be part of the change Nigerians desire and deserve”.