Swing nationalities, a collaboration of all minority ethnic groups in Nigeria, has resolved to demand fuller participation in the management of the country’s economic and political affairs and has subsequently scheduled a national summit where these issues will be deliberated upon.
The summit, scheduled for Makurdi, Benue state from tomorrow through Sunday, will discuss among other issues the fiscal federalism, derivation, control of economy, forms of government, the Nigerian constitution as well as the majority/minority divides.
Protem National Coordinator of the group, Mr Tarsoo Linus, said it has become necessary to hold the summit because the ethnic minority nationalities which constitute more than 70 million of the people of Nigeria cannot continue to play a second fiddle to the three majority ethnic groups.
Linus confirmed that the core issues will revolve on building consensus, ways to build and strengthen democratic institutions, violence-free elections and the need to liberalise the winner –takes all approach to politicking in Nigeria.
“The wealth of this country is controlled by less than one percent of Nigerians, who are spread majorly across the majority ethnic groups and a sprinkle from our brothers in the swing nationalities. We have been suppressed by the infrastructure of operation since independence in spite of the fact that we produced the bulk of the wealth of the nation and are the glue that holds Nigeria together,” he said.
“It is our responsibility to design ways to get out of this problem so we have decided to come together in Makurdi”
Peoples Daily notes that a document made available to it says that the Swing nationalities of Nigeria (SNN) is “our generation’s response to the challenges of sustained conflict within and between minorities, and the lack of economic and political development amidst the colossal potentials and opportunities in the world and indeed Nigeria today.”
Accordingly, the group said its mission is to promote and protect the social political and economic rights of swing nationalities through the promotion of social cultural, political and economic justice in Nigeria.
The summit is billed to have in attendance ethnic nationalities from Jukum, Iyaw, Annang, Ibibio, Itsekhiri, Urobo, Idoma, Tiv, Isoko, Birum, Tangale, Waye, Babur, Dera, Nupe, Zango/Kataf, Maghavul, Challa, Afizera, Igala, Igbira, among many others.