A rally held by the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) to demand restructuring of the country was, on Saturday, shunned by governors of states in the Niger Delta region. The rally, which held in Yenagoa, capital of Bayelsa State, had only the host governor, Mr. Henry Seriake Dickson in attendance. PANDEF is led by Ijaw leader, Mr. Edwin K. Clark.
Only two of the governors considered it necessary to send representatives. They were governors of Delta and Akwa Ibom states.
Governors of states in the region have been vociferous in their demand for greater control of resources by the states. The demand for restructuring of the country has also been made by leaders of other geo-political zones.
At Saturday's rally, leaders of the South-West, South-South,South-East and the Middle Belt announced their resolve to work together for the realisation of the goal.
They stated that restructuring is the best solution to the current challenges confronting Nigeria
Former President Goodluck Jonathan called for the implementation of the 2014 Confab report, arguing that the document addressed the concerns raised by advocates of restructuring.
The former President, who was said to be in Sierra Leone on an election-monitoring assignment, spoke through Mr. Nimi Amange, a senator
Mr. John. Nnia Nwodo, President-General, Ohanaeze, said restructuring will bring about a better Nigeria.
“What we mean by restructuring is fair treatment and justice. Restructuring is a call for a new Nigeria, which will enhance unity and justice..
“Our people need unity, equity and justice as citizens. Restructuring implies that the structural and physical paradigm of Nigeria will give all sections a sense of belonging,” Mr. Nwodo said.
On his part, Dr Bala Takaya, President of the Middle Belt Forum, lamented the scale of security challenges in the country and stressed the need for restructuring. He called on those desirous of unity to join the demand for restructuring of the country to ensure that every federating unit holds equal and coordinate powers.
“We hereby, invite fellow Nigerians, desirous of equity, fairness and justice in the affairs of our dear country to join us in the task of moving the country forward. Our desire and commitment is that our dear country may resume her delayed journey towards the fulfillment of its manifest destiny,” Dr. Takaya said.
Mr Edwin Clark, leader of PANDEF, noted that the leaders of the regions are strongly in support of restructuring of the country.
"Nobody is more important than any other person in this country. Every Nigerian is equal and all we are asking for is fair treatment for all citizens," said Mr Clark.
Mr. Ayo Adebayo, a leader of the Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, said the group has not only supported agitation to restructure the country, but had clamoured for minority rights since 1954.
Mr. Dickson, the host governor, commended the leaders for renewing the call for the restructuring of the country, which he said will bring about an "an egalitarian and prosperous Nigeria”.