The Nigeria Political Summit Group (NPSG), which facilitates annual National Political Summits and periodic political consultations in the country, has announced its readiness to engage the rising tension over the current Biafran agitation and other similar conflicts, towards preventing a full-blown civil war.
In a statement released on Wednesday during NPSG’s periodic state of the nation review, Olawale Okunniyi, the Group head of secretariat and spokesperson, stated that the various self-determination agitations and internal conflicts in the country require negotiated settlement rather than the current military engagements being advanced.
He said his group was prepared to bring its experience, reach and clout to bear in ensuring political understanding and negotiated settlement between state actors and civil agitators in the country.
“Nigeria is currently in a civil democracy and should not be seen resolving its internal conflicts militarily at this time,” he noted. “What we think can bring about an enduring resolution of these crises is nothing short of a conflict management mechanism that is purely civil and political.”
According to the group, “Although self-determination is now a conventional right of every indigenous people, who sufficiently demonstrate a popular desire to be autonomous as declared by the United Nations in 2007, however, Government authority can never be discountenanced in achieving this objective.”
He called on the leadership of such agitations to be willing to interface with the government of Nigeria in proving and negotiating the unanimity of its people’s desire for self-determination and the forms it would take, whether autonomy within Nigeria or outright secession.
“The procedure must be right with government authority,” he advised.
He appealed to various groups agitating for more national political inclusion in the country to give President Muhammadu Buhari some time to study and address the present state of Nigeria’s national question, pointing out that he is also responsible to other units in the Nigerian union.
Okunniyi hinted that the consultative intervention of the NPSG will be mainstreamed into a major national political Summit of Leaders of thought as well as traditional rulers and eminent political stakeholders in the country and Diaspora that was previously rescheduled for the first quarter of 2016.
The statement recalled that NPSG first initiated a series of annual political summits in the country in August 2011 in Port Harcourt under the chairmanship of Chief Audu Ogbeh and Barr Olisa Agbakoba, SAN. It said subsequent summits were held in Lagos in 2012 and Uyo in 2013; while the 2014 and 2015 summits were shifted for the 2014 national confab and the 2015 general elections respectively.