Northern Elders Condemn Continuous Call For Restructuring

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The collaboration among leaders from the south-south, south-east, south-west and middle-belt region calling for restructuring has been dismissed by the Northern Elders as unconstitutional.

Recall that leaders from the mentioned regions of Nigeria had a meeting last week in Abuja to discuss how to move the country forward and at the end reached a resolution that restructuring was the way as well as putting an end to open grazing in the country.

However, Tanko Yakasai who served as adviser on National Assembly Affairs to President Shehu Shagari lashed out at the delegates asking them to take their case to the National Assembly.

He said: “None of them was elected by their people to speak on their behalf. To the extent that this country guarantees freedom of speech, they are entitled to their opinion.

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“My quarrel with the people who are advocating this restructuring is that they failed to give the details of the restructuring. If Nigeria is restructured, every Nigerian will be affected. So it is incumbent upon anybody who is campaigning for this to spell it out so that Nigerians can look at it. But to just go about shouting slogans without giving the actual details is nonsensical.

“Every one of them is represented in the state assemblies or the House of Representatives or the Senate. Every one of them knows that the way to change our Constitution is defined in our Constitution and our Constitution empowers our legislators, federal and state, to change the Constitution the way they deem appropriate.

“So I challenge them to sponsor a bill through their elected representatives so that the bill can take its natural course. If the majority support it, it will be implemented.

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“I don’t know why they are ignoring the democratic institutions that we have? Why can’t they make use of the democratic institutions? Why are they avoiding the legislature?

“Why do they think that press conference is a substitute for our elected representatives? In a democracy, you channel your views through your elected representatives if you are serious.”

Yakasai also spoke about the call for the outlawing of open grazing saying the problem predates Nigeria but there was always a way of solving it.

“The problem of herdsmen has been with us, even long before the British came and there was a process of handling it. If they strayed into your farm and destroyed your crop, usually, the local authorities would get them to compensate the victim.

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“As long as they are Nigerians, the Constitution of this country has guaranteed their right to move freely. The only thing is that where their livestock stray into other people’s land and damage their crops, they should be made to pay.

“Any state assembly that makes a law to stop people from moving their cattle about is attempting to deny people their constitutionally guaranteed rights, and once the matter is taken to court, it will be declared a nullity.”

The Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere had attacked the core north for opposing restructuring and accused them of paying more attention to power instead of development.

Yinka Odumakin, spokesperson for the group, maintained that restructuring was the solution to Nigeria’s problem, adding that the whole country will benefit from true federalism as it will make each unit build with their resources.