Elder statesmen and leaders from Southern Nigeria have accused President Muhammadu Buhari of toying with the country’s unity.
The leaders, who met yesterday in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, under the aegis of Southern Nigeria’s Peoples Assembly (SNPA), accused Buhari of executing a northern agenda.
Present at the meeting were leaders from the South East, South West and South- South geopolitical zones.
At the opening session, the Chairman of the Yoruba Unity Forum, Bishop Emmanuel Bolanle Gbonigi, who was represented by Senator Femi Okurounmu, said that Buhari has harmed Nigeria’s unity by solely promoting northern interests against the interests of other tribes.
He decried the President’s appointments so far which he said were in favour of the North, declaring that Buhari is pushing Nigeria to the brink of disintegration through his sectional interests.
His words: “We ask Mr. President to stop these ethnically-biased appointments into offices. More and more sections of Nigeria are increasingly feeling marginalised due to the actions and policies of government which are increasingly becoming sectional.”
On behalf of the South-South leaders, elder statesman, Edwin Clark, said Buhari had tactfully excluded Southern Nigeria from the political equation of the country.
Clark, who said he could not be cowed from baring his mind, warned that “those who think Nigeria is their exclusive estate” should have a rethink, declaring that “the country belongs to us all”.
The former Commissioner for Information said that Nigeria was already cruising on the highway that led to the civil war in the 1960s and early 1970s.
He expressed strong displeasure over the leadership style of Buhari who he said was not worried about the implications of his biased policies.
He added that Southern leaders will invite the President to a town hall meeting to dispassionately discuss issues affecting Nigeria with him.
In his opening remarks, the Coordinator of SNPA, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, also expressed concerns over Buhari’s leadership style, saying that Nigeria was more divided now under his watch.
The former Vice President, who was represented by Chief Mbazulike Amechi, said that the meeting would discuss herdsmen’s attacks, restructuring, agitations in the Niger Delta and other parts of the South, collapsing economy, ongoing corruption war and the growth or decline of democracy in Nigeria.
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, who opened the meeting, enjoined the leaders to “pursue those things that the states of Southern Nigeria can do to foster their economic and political interests”.