Members of Senate from southern part of Nigeria on Friday began a conference on the governance and political structure of the country.The two-day retreat by Southern Senators’ Forum, which is holding in Calabar, Cross River State capital, is tagged, ‘National Unity and Restructuring.’
In his keynote address, Deputy President of Senate, Mr Ike Ekweremadu, called for patience, more enlightenment and dialogue to actualise the restructuring of Nigeria.
He blamed the opposition to the calls for restructuring on misconception and ethno-sectional suspicions.
Ekweremadu likened Nigeria to a vast building expected to accommodate a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-religious and politically diverse people, according to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Uche Anichukwu.
He said, “To ensure equity, justice and prosperity of the various families and sections; and to allay fears of possible domination, our founding fathers settled for a federal constitution or structure after various conferences on the type of building, architectural design, number of rooms and rules of cohabitation (to be used).
“Sadly, the rain started beating us from the time that fateful January coup was staged, especially following the violation of the covenant of our fathers by the promulgation of Unitary Decree 1966. Although the July 1966 counter-coup was, among other things, predicated on the need to correct the General Aguyi Ironsi’s misadventure, subsequent regimes after him have steadily and deliberately corrupted the architectural design and undone all the foundations laid by the founding fathers.
“For more than half a century, we have done every imaginable damage to the federal principles and the results have been disastrous.
“In simple terms, therefore, the quest for restructuring is a quest for a return to the old covenant; the original foundation and master plan agreed on and laid down by our forefathers.”
According to the Deputy Senate President, restructuring should unite rather than divide the nation.
The lawmaker also suggested a piecemeal approach to restructuring, noting that people would gradually drop their fears and crave for more restructuring as they began to reap the gains of each successful restructuring effort.
“If you insist on addressing all the issues at the same time, your compatriots may begin to misread your motives,” he said.