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South-East tackles North on power shift, Adebayo urges caution

Posted by The Guardian on 2006/07/10 | Views: 440 |

South-East tackles North on power shift, Adebayo urges caution


THE insistence of the North for power to return to the region in 2007 came under severe attack at the weekend with the South-East zone of.....

THE insistence of the North for power to return to the region in 2007 came under severe attack at the weekend with the South-East zone of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), accusing the former of throwing fair-play and equity to the winds.

However, a word of caution yesterday came from an elder statesman from the South-West, General Adeyinka Adebayo (rtd), who urged those jostling for power shift to watch their utterances.

Rising from an all-night meeting on Saturday, in which they released a 13-point statement, the South-East politicians through their Chairman, Nze Fidelis Ozichukwu, said: "Our northern brothers must pay more attention to their history books lest we accuse them of arrogating excess knowledge of Nigeria in their bid to sideline other sections of this nation."

According to Ozichukwu, the attempt by the North was suggestive of "intentions to polarise Nigeria along a phantom North and South, ignoring the reality of the six geo-political zones which had been in operation since the inception of this era."

He said it would reveal a flight from decency, logic and justice for the North, which had occupied the ultimate seat for well over 39 years, to seek a return to power when other parts of Nigeria had not had any kind of share of the position.

Affirming an earlier statement that there was no such thing as agreement of power shift in favour of the North, the statement declared: "...We challenge the trumpeters of the so-called agreement to tell the world who and who attended the meeting, how representative of the geo-political zones it was, if ever it was, and how legally binding, if ever there was, and how it was expected that such would meet the yearnings of the ever patient and tolerant peoples of the South, especially the South-East part of Nigeria."

In taking the position, the party chief said the South-East PDP leaders were fully abreast of the political history of the country which had been eloquent in pointing out that the North had an unjustifiable lion share of ultimate governance in Nigeria and must give way for others to play their part.

According to him, the data "shows that North-West (Murtala Muhammed, Shehu Shagari, Muhammad Buhari and Sani Abacha) ruled Nigeria for 11 years; North-Central (Yakubu Gowon, Ibrahim Babangida, Abdulsalami Abubakar) ruled for 18 years, while North-East (Abubakar Tafawa Balewa) ruled Nigeria for nine years, from 1957 to 1966."

Ozichukwu said the South-East PDP was therefore baffled that "in a situation where the South-East and South-South had nothing that had come to them in the years under review, the North ought to display the spirit of God and interest in justice and fair-play."

He cautioned that in engaging in such polarisation of Nigeria in the lust for power, the North seemed to leave the impression to other Nigerians that their country had turned into a jungle where only the fittest could survive. "We are playing our part in building a nation and we so sincerely hope that our countrymen realised the dangers in battering the integrity of the nation," he said.

He warned that if such attempts at belittling other sections of the country was not checked in the utterances of unguarded political leaders, then there would be problem in future.

Ozichukwu, also however, admonished: "Our South-South brothers" not to see the "titular headship" of Nigeria by Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe as equal to an executive leadership of the country. He observed that Azikiwe's titular headship was only an "internship," as the First Republic President did not have the kind of power that could make him to be referred to as having led the country.

But General Adebayo has cautioned those championing the North-South divide, especially Alhaji Balarabe Musa and Alhaji Umaru Dikko against fanning the embers of war or coup d'etat.

In a statement released yesterday, Adebayo expressed surprise at a statement credited to Musa that "2007 will be war" and Dikko that "if South wants to rule, it should plan coup."

He said: "These statements are very embarrassing from two people who are supposed to be leaders both in the North and in Nigeria which we all thought should be kept one. I tried to disbelieve the two statements because of the positions both of them held in the past and the hard work they both put in along with others who really loved the country."

According to Adebayo, it is unfortunate that after 35 years of the end of the civil war, two leaders in the country are talking of war and coup. "Both coup and war are dangerous operations of the military and with two of our great leaders mentioning this, both could be more dangerous than the military planning its own. Our leaders who fought for independence for the country did it on a table conference. We all regretted the wasted civil war", he added.

The General submitted that since 1999, the entire people of the country agreed on the present six zones and political leaders were expected to work on it. He added: "If this agreement is going to change because some leaders feel that it will take some time before the position gets to them, there must be a better way of doing it instead of causing tension in the entire country. The country will prefer an economic progress than war."

Adebayo appealed to the media to assist the political leadership on the management of provocative and unguarded statements.

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