Following President Muhammadu Buhari reaffirmation on Sallah that the unity of Nigeria in not negotiable, the Igbo socio-cultural organisation, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, and the pan-Yoruba socio-political body, Afenifere, have faulted the position of the President on his position, stating Nigeria's oneness is not by force.
Buhari had said these when Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Muhammed Bello, led residents of the FCT to pay the President Sallah homage at the Presidential Villa, Abuja
The organisations, on Wednesday, told Buhari that the unity of the country was negotiable.
Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka had, on Tuesday last week, described the oneness of Nigeria as “very negotiable”.
The National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, believed Buhari might not be reading the mood of the nation correctly.
Odumakin in an interview according to Punch Newspaper said, “I think the President is a sincere man but he may not be reading the mood correctly. The country is divided under him than before. Amalgamation and armed dialogue are going on all around us over the unity of Nigeria which many sections perceive has treated them unfairly.
“To continue to insist that the unity is not negotiable is aping that bird which buries its head in the sand and believes, because it is seeing nobody, it has become invisible too.”
Similarly, the Ohaneze, the President of the Ohanaeze Youth Council, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, aligned with Afenifere’s position, saying the unity of Nigeria was negotiable, saying the current structure of Nigeria had not favoured all parts of the country, Punch Newspaper says
According to him, Nigeria’s unity should be subjected to periodic review.
The OYC leader noted that the Igbo, as a group, canvassed the restructuring of the country during the last constitutional conference.
Isiguzoro said, “We (Ohanaeze Ndigbo) believe that Nigeria’s unity is negotiable. The principles and structures on the co-existence of the various nationalities that make up the country should be reviewed periodically.
“At the moment, the structure that is in place is not in favour of everybody.
“Those that it is favouring are the ones who want the status quo to be maintained, but those it has not favoured, like the Igbo, are open to a negotiation of the country’s unity.”
He added, “The Igbo demanded restructuring at the last constitutional conference and we are still holding on to that demand. We believe Nigeria’s unity should be subject to periodic review.
“We are not calling for secession, but a periodic review of the terms of the country’s unity is necessary for peaceful coexistence, otherwise agitations for separation would continue to grow.”