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Adebanjo, Ohanaeze, Middle Belt Forum, PANDEF, Shagari, Others Back Southern Governors On Restructuring, Ban On Open Grazing (FULL REPORT)



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Majority of stakeholders across the country on Wednesday endorsed the resolutions of Southern governors, including a total ban on open grazing, convening of a national dialogue and restructuring of the country to guarantee equity and fairness.

Members of the National Assembly, statesmen, eminent politicians, organisations and groups said those resolutions were imperative because of the precarious state of the nation.

Rising from a crucial meeting held in Asaba, the Delta State capital on Tuesday, the governor issued a 10-point communique, a resolution calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to, without further delay, address the nation due to the frightening state of insecurity across the land.

Adebanjo backs southern governors on open grazing, restructuring .Says they should not be afraid of any consequences, he assures

Leader of pan-Yoruba socio- political group, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, endorsed the decisions of the southern governors to ban open grazing and their case for restructuring, saying the decisions were in the right direction. The elder statesman, while throwing the support of the South West and the South for the governors on the two key issues, said they should not be afraid of any consequences for taken such decisions.

Chief Adebanjo gave the endorsement in a telephone chat with our correspondent, even as he noted that such decisions ought to have been voiced out three years earlier when the Fulani herdsmen attacked Markudi, the Benue State capital and killed over 70 people with President Buhari’s only response was to tell Governor Samuel Ortom to go and make friends with his enemies.

“I support them fully, it is a decision they should have taken three years ago when the Fulani herdsmen attacked Markudi and the governor of Benue State approached the president and told him that those who carried out the attack where over 70 people were killed wrote him a letter that they were responsible for the killing, and that the land belong to them and that they were coming back.

“He went to Buhari to come and help him and that this is what the people have said and what did Buhari say? He said the governor should go and make friends with his enemies. That was what Buhari said, that was the time they should have reacted. “We assure them of the support of the South-West and the South, and they shouldn’t be afraid of any consequences. They have taken the decision in the right direction,” Chief Adebanjo said.

A new constitution will address issues raised by southern governors – YCE

The Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE) said the resolutions of the southern governors would be adequately addressed if the 1999 Constitution is discarded for a new peoples’ Constitution to govern the affairs of the country.

The secretary general of YCE, Dr Kunle Olajide said in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital that though the position of the governors might appear too late, their decision to come together and reach a consensus on some critical issues affecting the country should be commended.

He called on them to take a step forward by demanding with urgency a new constitution, which he said would ultimately address many of the resolutions from the meeting and solve the multi-faceted challenges confronting the country.

“The meeting of the governors is a bit late but it is better late than never. As for me, the nation’s problems are more fundamental. It is merely scratching our problems, on the surface, we are not going deep. Our problems essentially is the 1999 constitution which the Nigerian people were not part of the writing, we were not part of it as a people. Any political system that evolves from that constitution is the root cause and bane of our challenges and that is why we are retrogressing.”

Shagari backs governors on call for national dialogue, ban on open grazing

A former Minister, Alhaji Mukhtar Shagari, backed governors on their demand for national dialogue and an end to open cattle grazing to douse tension across the country. He stated: “I believe that the call by the governors of the South is a patriotic call out done out of the love they have for the country and their belief in one Nigeria.

“I had in the past emphasised that restructuring, if it is meant to strengthen our national unity and engender overall development of Nigeria is highly desirable.

“I did also agree with them that national dialogue is imperative in this period of tension as are duly of general insecurity and distrust in the in the country. Open grazing is outdated; it must be replaced with modern and scientific method of rearing cattle.

“It has also become a worrisome source of insecurity in the country. “The innocent Fulani herdsmen we knew living with us for decades are now suffering as a result of criminal activities of few criminal most of whom are not Nigerians.

“Federal Government must fulfill its constitutional responsibility of providing security for all Nigerians.“All of us (Nigerians) must unite and give our support to both federal and state governments to ensure total security in nation.”

PANDEF applaud governors on restructuring, federal appointments

The pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) and chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Delta State, Chief Sunny Onuesoke, applauded the governors’ stance on restructuring, lopsided federal appointments, national dialogue and abolition of open grazing.

The national publicity secretary of PANDEF, Honourable Ken Robinson, noted that the resolutions were informed by the fragile state of the country. “With the goings-on in the country, we had expected them to meet before now. But, it is a good thing that they have met. It is a welcomed development. “This would not only foster cooperation among the governors and people of the southern states, but also strengthen the nation’s democracy. “We have also seen the communique that they issued. It is very commendable. Their resolutions reemphasised our positions, particularly on restructuring, open grazing, and the alarming state of insecurity. “Citizens now live in fear and are no longer able to freely pursue various livelihoods, across the country, due to the security situation,” he averred. According to him, “PANDEF has repeatedly averred that open grazing is outdated. It is archaic and should not be allowed to continue in a society like ours.

“The days of open grazing are over and the sooner those who are in that business realize it, the better for all of us. “The governors also accentuated the issue of skewed appointments into Federal Government agencies, including security agencies. “Recall that PANDEF National leader, Chief Edwin Clark, and 15 other prominent Nigerians are in Court with the President over the serial breaches of the Federal Character in appointments by this administration. “It is therefore pleasing and reassuring that the governors discussed these issues at their meeting and made those far-reaching resolutions

“The positions they have taken are in tandem with the thoughts and expectations of the people of southern Nigeria.”


MBF, ASOMBEN urge northern governors to emulate their southern counterparts

The Middle Belt Forum (MBF) and the Association of Middle Belt Ethnic Nationalities (ASOMBEN) said the southern governors’ positions reflected the yearning and aspirations of the entire citizens of the country, urging northern governors to follow suit in the overall interest of the nation.

National president of the MBF, Dr Bitrus Pogu said the entire Middle Belt noted the fact that those resolutions came from those with a semblance of authority with presidency was a welcome development that could rescue the country from total anarchy. On the ban of open grazing, Dr. Pogu posited that every right-thinking Nigerian knew that movement of cattle from one place to the other was the major cause of conflicts between herders and farmers, alleging that killers herdsmen and terrorists often capitalized on the crisis to pursue their evil agenda.

“On national dialogue, this is the right time. The government should heed to the voice of reason and open up itself for dialogue along with other ethnic nationalities in the country. Unless something is done, the various agitations across the length and breadth might degenerate. Enough is enough! One section of the country cannot continue to hold the others to ransom.

“There is the need for the northern governors as well to be nationalistic in their approach to the insecurity and other threats in the nation. If democracy collapses, they would be the greatest losers; therefore, they should work to safe democracy in Nigeria like their southern counterparts.

“The people of Middle Belt have dying on a daily basis. Many communities have been sacked and occupied by terrorists. Apart from Governor Sam Ortom and Dairus Ishaiku of Benue and Taraba states respectively that are shouting, others seem to be comfortable and complacent with the situation. They are terrified and I am appealing to them to come out boldly and say the truth.”

On his part, the national chairman of ASOMBEN Barrister Sule Kwasau said banning open grazing would go along way in reducing tension and act of lawlessness associated with suspected herdsmen.

“If you restrict their movements it will reduce herders’ and farmers’ clashes and also reduce vehicle accidents on the highways.” Barrister Kwasau said it was time for the president to address the nation on all the crucial issues threatening the corporate existence of the country.

“Mr President should come out and address the nation; it is only in time of crisis that you know a leader. The President has been keeping quiet to such an uncomfortable level; he should speak to us as elected president. If he is sympathetic and willing to address the situation, it will assuage the hot feeling Nigerians have now. Restructuring, as posited by the southern governors, will bring equity and fairness to our nation. I believe this is the way to go” he said.

On National dialogue, however, Kwasau said: “I don’t believe in any further dialogue; the previous ones can address most of the problems we are talking about. The problem is just implementation; the previous government lack political will to implement them. So, the present administration should summon courage and implement them.”


Southern governors’ action, right step in the right direction–Nyiam

A social crusader, Colonel Tony Nyiam (retd), commended the governors for heeding the popular demand of Nigerians over the predicament of their country. “It’s long overdue for the southern Governors to wake up from their sleep and be as alert as the Governors of Benue and Ondo states are doing, otherwise, their people would turn against them. It is now time for the attainment of Homeland Security before partisan politics. The priority can’t be otherwise, particularly in the face of the state of Nigerian National insecurity.

“It is a very good one that Southern governors are beginning to retrace their steps .From what? From colonialists’ self-serving 1999 Nigerian Constitution, the APC and PDP skewed structures, the centralised national security architecture and related coercive powers.”


Ohanaeze demands actions to back up resolutions

The pan-Igbo organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, threw its weight behind the governors in their recommendations towards ending the worsening insecurity across the country, especially on the ban on open grazing. Vice-president of the organisation, Chief Demian Ogene-Okeke, urged them to back up their resolutions with actions by implementing all issues they agreed on so that they did not turn out to be mere rhetoric. He said the meeting was an avenue for the people of southern Nigeria to decide whether to sustain the current structure or otherwise. “It is an established fact that the remote causes of secessionist movements include: President Muhammadu Buhari’s lopsided appointments against the principles of Federal Character, opposition to restructuring by some sections of the politicians, marginalisation and neglect of the South-East in the present administration.

Source: Tribune

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