By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
The Director General of Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Salihu Moh Lukman, has said that the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu and the leader of Yoruba Nation agitation, Sunday Igboho, need an effective and efficient response to maintain a united Nigeria.
In a statement he issued yesterday and titled ‘Nigerian Politics and Question of National Unity’, Lukman, who noted the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East, which has dragged for over ten years resulting in unfortunate loss of thousands of lives, destructions of both public and private properties, he called on political leaders across all divide to build consensus on controversial regional issues.
He also observed the rising incidences of banditry in the North-West and North-Central, which has produced more cases of kidnappings and abductions of law-abiding citizens, including schoolchildren, he said challenges of national survival is basically about strengthening the capacity of Nigerian security agencies to prevent and arrest criminal activities of rebellious groups in all parts of the country.
“In the midst of all these is the task of preventing or managing conflicts arising from activities of herdsmen, which is engendering all manner of clashes between Fulani herdsmen and other citizens, especially farmers, across all parts of Nigeria. Criminal activities associated with herdsmen have increased incidences of banditry, kidnappings and abductions of citizens”, he said.
Making reference to the conflicts in other regions like South South and North Central, Lukman said all these contribute significantly to the tense inter-ethnic relations between and within all the six geo-political regions of Nigeria, hence responsible for rising cases of ethnic and communal conflicts and violence.
“Issues of equity, justice and fairness, both with respect to distribution of resources and representation in government are the main political demands requiring responses to meet the expectations of Nigerians from all the six geo-political regions.
“Cries of marginalisation and neglect with contestable justifications are very loud across all parts of the country. It is simply either demand for restructuring/true federalism or power shift/rotation of Presidency between the Northern and Southern parts Nigeria”, he said.
He said these demands mean different things to the different regions, just as perceptions of contemporary challenges of Nigeria are different across all the six geo-political regions and from the different ethnic groups.
To this end, PGF DG said the overarching challenge is how, as a democratic nation, political structures can facilitate the process of consensus building and agreement among the constituent parts of the country, – the six geo-political regions and all the different ethnic groups.
“The extent to which therefore the details of the demands from the six geo-political regions are clarified by political leaders based on which they are able to commit themselves to agreements that translate to initiatives that unite citizens is the critical challenge of Nigeria’s contemporary political development.
How are political leaders handling this critical challenge? Are there initiatives being taken to facilitate consensus building and agreements by political leaders from the six geo-political regions of the country? To what extent are processes of consensus building being driven by lawful institutions in the country?
“How representative are the different sections of the country’s political leadership in the processes of consensus building? To what extent are political leaders committed to agreements reached?”, he said.