Funmi Olaitan, Ibadan
A non-governmental organisation, National Association of Public Affairs Analysts (NAPAA), has called on all stakeholders in the Nigeria project to avoid repeating the two ugly incidents of the 1960s, the military coup and the civil war that followed.
The association made the call in a release signed by Messers Seun Adelore and Jare Ajayi, president and secretary general respectively.
According to the body, the coincidences of the events of the 1960s and that of the present decade should not be ignored.
“Verbal warnings that later snowballed into physical violence occurred from around the middle of the 1960s particularly between the people of the north and those of the south east. The situation later degenerated into the point of pogrom and forceful migration to the East by the Easterners. Because the situation could not be put under control, it led to a civil war that began in 1967.
"A more sinister storm is gathering now. A lot of efforts and sincerity of purpose have to be brought into play to avoid a repeat this year 2017.
“Events in recent times appear to indicate that years close to the end of the decades seem to be assuming some significance in Nigeria’s contemporary history”, it said.
The association lamented that most of those who have been speaking on the ‘quit notice’ given by the Coalition of Arewa Youth Groups speak as though they are tired of the Nigeria nation.
While deploring the injustice, marginalization, impunity, lack of fair-play, etc that have characterized inter-ethnic relationship in Nigeria, especially at the political level, it expressed the belief that Nigerians would still be better off as citizens of one country.
Recalling that it was the level of compliance by Igbos of the IPOB’s sit-at-home order that seemingly provoked the Northern youths, NAPAA observed that the compliance seems to demonstrate the extent of frustration of the Igbos over the injustice going on in the county.
“The solution in our view is however not in issuing threats or in exchanging hot words. It, certainly, is not in breaking up the country. Rather, the solution is in remedying the obvious anomalies in the polity and in the country in general", it stated.
The association said the action of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) should be seen as a wake-up call to address various ills of Nigeria just as the perennial calls by the South West.
It said, "The starting point of this remedy is to have a constitution that will really be a Nigerian Constitution."
"Everybody knows – and perhaps agrees – that the present constitution is an imposed one. As such, we need a constitution that we can call our own. The report of the 2014 National Conference is a good document upon which the new constitution can be built. Luckily, the document was a product of deliberations by representatives of Nigerians of various opinions and shades.
"We should not dissipate energy pretending to start afresh. We only need to summon the needed political courage, assemble a committee to put life into the document and make it operational”.
NAPAA then called for a truly federal, if not a Confederal system as well as a quasi-parliamentary form of government in which more money would be spent on development rather than on personnel.
"The time has come for the much advocated restructuring of Nigeria if we are to avoid a violent breaking-up of the country, Nigeria", it stated.