The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), yesterday, charged President Muhammadu Buhari to initiate a dialogue process on the restructuring of Nigeria to guarantee peaceful coexistence, as the current structure has failed to guarantee the country’s progress.
National Chairman of PANDEF, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (rtd.), said this was imperative as the country marks her 60th Independence at a time of national upheaval and disaffection, with several groups seeking self-determination.
Nkanga, who spoke at a virtual world press conference, lamented that Nigeria’s present structure has become defective and inappropriate for a heterogeneous nation.
“It does not provide the enabling environment for growth and progress among the component states and spawns unhealthy competition among the various ethnic nationalities and tribes in the country,” he said.
He recalled that the derivation principle, which first came up in 1946 in the Phillipson Commission, was intended to make regions with natural resources benefit from their God-given endowment based on contribution.
Nkanga explained that the derivation principle derived from that commision, which existed before the discovery of oil in commercial quantity at Oloibiri in present day Bayelsa State.
“We are angry and feel anguish in the land. Our protestations are expected, because the people are not happy with the way things are going in the country, with worsening insecurity, unemployment and harsh economic strains on the populace, citizens are losing trust in the political establishments and institutions. Sadly, the government seems unperturbed,” he stated.
He noted that with the difficulties and contradictions, PANDEF cautioned that the Federal Government needed to urgently do something fundamental.
“President Muhammadu Buhari needs to demonstrate and reassure Nigerians of government’s commitment to the wellbeing of all Nigerians, irrespective of religion and ethnicity. We are in the middle of a mist. No one can predict what comes next. We can either work together in unity and respect or sink as a country,” he said.
PANDEF said the level of injustice being perpetrated against some sections of the country, and especially the Niger Delta Region, was unprecedented, adding that the bias, unfairness and injustice have become the norm in the affairs of the Nigerian government, especially under the present administration.