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How to stop drumbeat of war – Clark, Akanbi, Yakassai, others speak

By Omoniyi Salaudeen, Layi Olanrewaju, Ilorin, Ben Dunno, Warri

Reflective of the mood of the moment, debate has been raging in the past couple of days as to how to abate the frightening drumbeat of war occasioned by the October 1 quit notice issued by the coalition of Arewa youth groups to the Igbo in the North. The eviction order is believed to be an alleged reaction to the sustained separatist agitation by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) led by Nnamdi Kanu.
While Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has already commenced consultations with prominent leaders of thought to nip the crisis in the bud, some notable elder statesmen have also spoken their minds on the possible way forward.
Though slightly differ in their opinions, all of them agreed that the country is drifting and therefore unanimously called for urgent government’s action to avert an imminent break up. Some of the respected senior citizens who spoke with Sunday Sun on the desirability of sustaining the unity and cohesion among the constituent units include foremost Ijaw National Leader, Chief Edwin Clark, former President of the Court of Appeal and pioneer Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), Justice Mustapha Akanbi (retd), and Second Republic presidential aide, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, among others.
The concern of these elders is understandable, as a popular African proverb says: “If a child shoots an arrow that reaches the top of a tall palm tree, then it must be that an elderly person carved the arrow for him.”
Clark, in his own contribution to the burning national issue, said only a genuine political restructuring of the country in line with the recommendations of the 2014 national confab could end youth restiveness, arm struggle as well as the threat of session. “My strong belief is that only a genuine restructuring of the political administration of the country will remove most of these problems in the country. It would put an end to some of the critical issues that has led to the taking up of arms by youths in the region and other parts of the county” he posited.
“We must find a permanent solution to the various problems we are facing in this country today, including youth revolt in the Niger Delta, Fulani herdsmen, Boko Haram, Biafra agitation, kidnapping and recently, the inability of the various states to pay their workers salaries and pension,” he added.
Contrary to the fear about the possible break up, Clark maintained that restructuring would rather strengthen the unity of the country. While commending President Muhammadu Buhari for opening up the channel of dialogue with the Niger Delta region, he advised that such initiative should be extended to the youths in other regions, who are also agitating for their regional socio political and economic emancipation within the Nigerian state, adding that it is the only way to carrying every region along.
On his part, the former ICPC boss, tracing the genesis of the socio-economic problem confronting Nigeria, blamed the founding fathers for pursuing ethnic agenda at the expense of national unity. “The beginning of our problem is that each of our leaders did so much, but did nothing to unite us. Azikwe died as Owelle of Onitsha; Awolowo wanted to lead Nigeria, he died as a regional leader. Same with Sarduana in the North,” he said.
He also expressed some deep reservations on the issue of restructuring, saying “I don’t believe in the spirit of restructuring or referendum that will divide the country in any form.”
“When the Arewa Consultative Forum invited me to their programme a few years back, I told them, ‘if your agenda for the day is to split Nigeria, I won’t be a part of it”, Akanbi added.
He further berated some Igbo leaders of thought for lending support to the agitation for the Independent State of Biafra. His words: “The leaders at various levels are not talking. Until the Arewa youths said that Igbo should go, who was talking when Kanu was talking of break up. I was disappointed in Soludo, a former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, talking of Biafra. What war have they seen? For me, I believe in the unity of Nigeria and I don’t want the country to split.”
“Those who saw the civil war will never like to see another war. Some of them were not born then. I was almost killed, while I was in Sokoto.  There was massacre in Funtua, they mistakenly took me for an Ibo person because I left my heard bushy. They had even told my wife that I had been killed. What is finishing us is that we are not only disunited, we are too tribalistic, we discriminate in terms of religion, ethnics and so on.”
According to him, the only thing the Federal Government can to do to put the separatist agitations to rest is to be fair and just to all sections of the country. “I think a number of these agitations are being fuelled by calls for justice and equity. For us to surmount these problems, we have to begin to look at the root cause and address it. We must begin to govern the nation in such a way that will give each component unit a true sense of belonging. No part of this country should be treated as inferior. Those at the helm of affairs must begin to provide leadership because it is not just the Biafra agitation we have today,” he maintained.
Yakassai shared the same sentiment, attributing the current crisis to the failure of leadership at various levels. He said: “What I found out is that leaders of all ethnic nationalities in Nigeria; be they Igbo, Hausa or Yoruba, have been intimidated by the youth to the point that they allow them to dictate the agenda. If prominent Igbo leaders had spoken against the utterances of Kanu all along right from the beginning, the situation would not have reached the stage it reached today. But they kept quiet.”
He particularly berated Chief Emeka Anyaoku, Senator Ike Ekweremadu and Prof Charles Soludo for giving tacit support to the IPOB. “I cannot see why Emeka Anyaoku, former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, former governor of Central Bank, Prof Charles Soludo, and the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, would go on a solidarity visit to Nnamdi Kanu when his case was being heard in the court. To me, it looks they are being intimidated by their youths. For these three gentlemen who had attained the eminent positions of responsibility in Nigeria through the support of all Nigerians to lend support to Kanu who is all out to recreate Biafara is really unfortunate. It means they have no courage to say the right thing. These are men who are eminently qualified to be president of Nigeria. That such persons could condescend so low to support secessionist movement in Nigeria really disappointed me,” he fumed.
Yakassai further debunked the complaint by the Igbo that they were being treated as second class citizen as untrue. “Anywhere you go in Nigeria, there are Igbo and they go about their legitimate businesses without any hindrance. So, the perception of some Igbo that they are being treated like second class citizen is not correct. It is false. No Nigerian enjoys the patronage of Nigerians like the Igbo people. Igbo are more dominant in all centres of commercial activities in Nigeria than any other tribe. How can such people wake up one day and say they want to break away,” he queried.
“If an Ibo man who is popular enough contests governorship election in Lagos, there is every possibility that he can win because of the sheer number of Igbo living in Lagos for ages. During the First Republic, there was an Ibo man who contested the election of Lagos Town Council against a Yoruba candidate and defeated him. He became the Chairman of Lagos Town Council some 60 years ago. That was a time when the number of Igbo in Lagos can be described as negligible compared to what it is today”, he declared.
Yakassai, therefore, stressed the need for the government to be more proactive in dealing with any crisis situation by noting the early warning signals. His words: “I don’t want to criticize the government, but I want to appeal to them that in a situation like this, they should promptly react when things of this nature are happening before they get worse. What is happening today is the consequence of the lukewarm attitude of the government towards the activities of Nnamdi Kanu and his group. While the constitution of Nigeria guarantees the right of every citizen to freedom of expression, such expression must be within the confines of the law.
Since Kanu came out with anti-national agenda and all the while that he and his accomplices have been making their noise, the reaction of the government has been very mild in my opinion. And this has given opportunity to others who are like him to also begin to make their own type of noise, thereby jeopardizing the unity of the country,” he posited.
“I appeal to Nigerian leaders generally not to allow their young ones to dictate agenda for them. They should be courageous enough to say you are wrong when they are wrong,” he added.
Also lending his voice to the debate, Prof G. G Darah, said a genuine restructuring of the country in a way that would reduce the power at the centre in favour of the federating units would end the current agitations. In line with the principle of federalism, he insisted, states should be given autonomy over the control of resources within their domain. This, he said, would put an end to desperation for power at the centre.

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5 Comments

  1. THE NOON 18th June 2017 at 4:55 am

    How could it possible to restructure a democratic society where its teeming youths has a divided MINDS?. Those calling for restructuring of Nigeria are indirectly clamouring for military coup because a democratic system of government has its democratic tools and democratic process of restructuring so what type of restructuring are they really clamouring for since the system of government is democracy?. In democracy any amendment of a constitution through a democratic process is restructuring so how many time Nigeria amended its constitution since 1999? Is that not restructuring?. Any statutary abrogation or amendment is also a democratic restructuring because the Legislature as true democratic representative of people are authentic democratic tools as law-maker so what can called all the legislation that has became law of federation since 1999? What about national confabs as a democratic process and again a democratic power to vote out bad leaders and vote in good leaders through election process so what kind of restructuring are clamouring for if not a military coup however they failed to realise that if the minds of young people of a society is divided no any so called restructuring can solved the consequencies of divided minds because only in Nigeria that an average yoruba or hausa or igbo boy or girl will only talk about the bad of other tribes meanwhile they only sees bad of them even our past president/head of states the younger only ridiculed them because they only talk about the bad side of their regime these are cleared manifestation of a divided minds a symptoms of a sickness of a society.

    • ochendo 19th June 2017 at 6:07 am

      @NOON.good morning.true restructuring has defined territories.each territory has independence of their laws,their motto,objective principles,etal yet have allegiance to the central government.it is not a matter of central legislative ludo game.I just read that CRK has been removed from secondary school curriculum.not long ago I was told history was long expunged and no longer a subject to be taught in schools.you begin to ask yourself,why?in a restructured arrangment such deliberate contempts using the instrument of federal government cannot hold.sarduana of sokoto,the father of hate speech,gave a charge to his descendants.without fooling anybody,his almighty script has its grip on your Nigeria.akanbi would have been killed because they thought him to be igbo and later he rose to the pinnacle position in judiciary.the igbos that were killed were denied such future.most actions in your federal government are done with ethnic and religious intent.for me,to your tents oh!israel.we have neither part nor lot with the other divide.

  2. Ezekiel Okeke 18th June 2017 at 6:05 am

    The use of the word Drum Beat Of War is utmost illiteracy. It is those who are ashamed to face their decades failures are using the empty words in attempt to hide their decades failures out ignorance and naivity of illiteracy. Republic Of Biafra fully accepted the Kaduna Declaration- it is Diplomatic answer of scientific solution of intellectuals, there is nothing war or its so-call drum beating in it. Those making the empty noise has to keep their mouth shut and face their decades failures.

  3. Dr Uche Kalu 18th June 2017 at 11:56 am

    As long as the Troglodytes,the FulanI muslim cattle driver sojourners of the North, and their Cliphate of Sokoto remain here
    in our Fatherland,no amount of restructuring of this moribund country of ours,will ever prevent our eventual break-up as a
    country.
    The fact of the matter is that muslims don’t ever live and let live.
    No never! Not with the infidels as shown across the globe,wherever there are muslims .Unless they have the right to lord it over
    others,muslims don’t ever cohabit with infidels in harmony.
    Thus, barely a fortnight after our Indipendence from Great Britain,the late Premier of Northern Nigeria and the Sarduana of
    Sokoto enthused;
    “This New Nation called Nigeria shall be an Estate of our Great Grandfather, Uthman Dan Fodio.We must ruthlessly prevent
    change of power.We use the minority in the North as willing-tools and the South as a conquered territory and never allow them to
    rule over us, and never allow them have control over their future”.Sir Alhaji Ahmed Bello,Sarduana of Sokoto in the Parrot of
    October 12th 1960.
    Today the the Troglodytes are running their parallel Islamic Republic with Sharia, within our supposedly Scular Commonwealth Republic of Nigeria.They also unilaterally declared our Fatherland an OIC Member State,and also a member of G8 and G15.
    Our Fulani muslim Overlords of the Caliphate of Sokoto and their Hausa/Kanuri mongrels currently, have an absolute control of all Institutions in the polity. Besides,they also own 83% of oil and gas blocs of the N’Delta.
    Chief Edwin Clark must be very starry eyed,if he doesn’t see the current de facto status of our fatherland as an Uthman Dan Fodio Estate for the alien Troglodytes,so called Bororos,Falatas,Fulas,Fulbe or Fulanis from the Sahara yonder.
    But the Fulani cattle drivers are indeed sojourners here in Nigeria just like the Boars or Afrikaans in South Africa.They must therefore, be compelled to dismantle their Caliphate of Sokoto,abrogate Sharia,pull our country from our OIC,G 8 and G15 memberships.
    They must also embrace wholeheartedly,the Secularity of our Commonwealth Republic of Nigeria.
    Without that,restructuring the country will be tantamount to putting an old wine into yet another old wine bottle.
    No to the status quo ante bellum!
    Down with Hausa/Fulani Islamic Hegemny!!
    Hail Biafra!!!
    All Hail the Republic of N’Delta!!!!

  4. ochendo 19th June 2017 at 3:55 pm

    @kalu.you know the irony of the silly arrogance by the caliphate.these are people who first wanted to secede.these are people not ready for independence when other regions wanted it.these are people who shortly before the independence, they were more or less forced into, had only ONE trained lawyer.these same people were excised by gideon orkar whom I believe knew their agenda.and today,behold,Nigeria is truly their estate.under the guise of coup de’tat,coup de’grace,coup de’alliance,etc they institutionalised decrees,laws,rules and regulations and later
    coined them as a constitution.

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