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Southern Govs Say No to Power shift

Posted by By Philip Ogunmade and Emmanuel Ugwu in Enugu on 2005/12/20 | Views: 571 |

Southern Govs Say No to Power shift


Governors of the Southern region of the country yesterday rejected the demand of the North for return of power to it in 2007 just as they threatened to boycott the year’s polls if the process of constitutional amendment was not completed before the election.

Threaten to boycott 2007 polls


Governors of the Southern region of the country yesterday rejected the demand of the North for return of power to it in 2007 just as they threatened to boycott the year’s polls if the process of constitutional amendment was not completed before the election.

Rising from the historic conference of governors and eminent personalities of the entire South held in Enugu, the conference said it would let go of power which it claimed the Northern region had controlled for at least 35 years.

The governors resolved that the demand of the North for the return of power to it was selfish bearing in mind that the South-south and South-east had been deprived of power sharing since the country’s independence.

They regretted that except the late Gen. Aguyi Ironsi who ruled for six months only, no other person from the region had ascended the seat of power since 1960.

They, therefore, vowed to leave no stone unturned to ensure that the South retained power in 2007.

A communiqué issued at the end of the conference stated, “That consequent upon the political realities of this conscionable historical data, we restate and firmly resolve that cognizance must be given and indeed, the presidency – post 2007 zoned to, either of the South-south (the nation’s nest of fortune), which never tasted the plum job or the South east, which merely sniffed it for six months.”
Giving a blow by blow detail of power control since independence, the governors said the North lacked the moral right to seek power, rejecting the idea of North and South dichotomy.

Rather, they stressed that Nigeria is a conglomerate of six-geo political zones, arguing that other zones, had enjoyed enormous control of power.
Analysing power control since 1960, the conference of governors said the North-east through Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, ruled between 1960-1966, North central through Gen. Yakubu Gowon, 1966-1975, South-west, General Olusegun Obasanjo, Feb. 1976-1979, North-west, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, 1979 – 1983, North west, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari 1983 -1984, North central, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, 1985-1993, South west, Chief Ernest Shonekan, August-November 1983, North-west, Gen. Sani Abacha, 1993 – 1998, North-central, Gen. Abdusalami Abubakar, 1998- 1999 and again Obasanjo 1999 – 2007 (eight years when completed in 2007).

On the 2007 polls, the southern politicians stated that they would boycott the 2007 general elections and constitute a confederacy if the process of constitutional amendment was not completed by then.

The conference which was well attended by governors, eminent personalities in the region as well as federal and state legislators said if the amended constitution was not ready before the 2007 elections, the zones would begin to control their resources and only make contributions to the centre.

The communiqué also reads: “That the conference demands that the process of constitutional amendment /reform must commence immediately and be concluded and effected prior to the 2007 general elections, failing which the South shall boycott the 2007 elections and consider the reconstitutions of the country as confederation on the basis of the six-geo-political zones, with each zone retaining its resources and contributing to the centre on the basis of an agreed principle, failure of which the South shall stop forth the resources derived from its geo-political zone.”

The conference also called for the immediate review of the revenue allocation to emphasise derivation of all the revenue from petroleum, solid minerals, value added tax (VAT), seaport and airport usage.

“We restate that the principle of inalienable right of states/zones to control their own resources, consequent upon which we demand and insist on 25 per cent, graduating in five years, to 50 per cent derivation, to rightfully accrue to states/zones,” it said.

The conference which reso-lved to be known as the Southern Forum restated its firm belief in a united, peaceful, democratic and equitable Nigerian nation with mutual respect amongst its constituent members.

Besides, the forum frowned at the intention of the National Population Commission to conduct the 2006 population census with the exclusion of ethnicity and religion, saying it was unwarranted and uncalled for, adding that the idea was unacceptable to the entire people of the South.

In order to ensure the continuity of the union of all the Southern zones, the forum set up a 36-man working committee “for communications, furtherance of the principles, execution of elements of these resolutions and interactions /negotiations/discussions, with necessary persons, groups , organisations and institutions and of course, needy and willing geo-political zones and desirous and qualified to be considered, in the continuous reviews of the foregoing”. The forum also called for the creation of an additional state from the South east zone as a reflection of equity, fairness and justice.

Present at the conference were the host Chimaroke Nnamani, Victor Attah of Akwa Ibom State, Goodluck Jonathan of Bayelsa State, Olagunsoye Oyinlola of Osun State, Achike Udenwa of Imo State, Ayo Fayose, Ekiti State, Peter Odili, Rivers, Gbenga Daniel of Ogun, Chris Ngige of Anambra, Donald Duke, Cross Rivers, Rasheed Ladoja, Oyo.

Others were Chief Olu Falae, M. T. Mbu, Tony Anenih, Bode George, Reuben Fasoranti, and Ebitu Ukiwe among others.

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