BEVERLY HILLS, January 12, (THEWILL) – Leaders of the South-East and South-West, on Thursday in Enugu, berated the Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government for failing to declare Fulani herdsmen as terrorists.
The Southern leaders, at an event tagged, ‘Handshake Across the Niger: A Celebration of Igbo/Yoruba Friendship Beyond Brotherhood,’ and organised by a pan-Igbo group, Nzuko Umunna, also insisted on the restructuring of the country.
The event, hosted by the leaders of Afenifere and the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, was also attended by the representatives of the South-South and the Middle Belt zone while a minute silence was observed in honour of the victims of herdsmen attacks in Benue State and other parts of the country.
Speaking at the event, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, leader of the South-West delegation, faulted President Buhari for his refusal to declare the herdsmen as terrorists, as was done to the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
He described the President as the problem of Nigeria due to his refusal to heed the calls for restructuring which he insisted was the only solution to the country’s problems.
“It is only restructuring that can guarantee your rights in Nigeria. Cheating, injustice and even corruption can only be wiped out through restructuring,” Adebanjo said.
“President Buhari will not do that; instead he has ensured that all military and para-military institutions are under his control, and he has refused to name herdsmen as terrorists yet he pounced on IPOB that seeks for justice.
“Buhari is the problem of Nigeria by opposing restructuring. We will achieve it if we are united. Igbo, Yoruba mutual suspicion is a thing of the past. We are not looking at the past. We are looking at the future.
“Buhari will not agree to restructuring because his people are the beneficiaries of a lopsided Nigeria. We are in a serious situation.
“If you go to election without restructuring, you are done for. We are not ganging up. Let us come together on the terms agreed by Nigeria’s late founding fathers like Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo and the Sardauna of Sokoto in the 1950s.”
On his part, the leader of the South-East delegation and President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, spoke on the need for Igbo/Yoruba brotherhood.
“Every credible analysis shows that unless we devolve powers to the states and allow them the control of their natural resources and basic utilities of powers, environment, education and infrastructure development, Nigeria will collapse,” he said.
“Today, we have come to say thank you to the Fajuyi family for paying the highest price of solidarity and brotherhood to the Ironsi family and by implication to Ndigbo.
“The late Colonel Adekunle Fajuyi, in offering to go along with his boss and guest rather than leave him alone to be slaughtered, was dramatising brotherhood. We will be betraying him and his legacy if we do not continue to promote that brotherhood.”
Prominent personalities at the event included a former Secretary of the Government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae; son of former President of Nigeria and representative of Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Chief Uwakwe Azikiwe; Prof. Banji Akintoye; a former governor of Kwara State, Chief Cornelius Adebayo; a former governor of Imo State, Chief Ikedi Ohakim; a former governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang, and a former governor of Ondo State, Olusegun Mimiko.
Others were Prof. Anya O. Anya, Prof. Pat Utomi, Igwe Alfred Achebe of Onitsha, Chief Ifeanyi Uba, Yinka Odumakin, wife of former military leader Aguiyi Ironsi, Victoria, son of the late Col. Adekunle Fajuyi, Donald.