Leaders of Ohanaeze and some Yoruba elders and politicians agreed yesterday to pursue a peaceful means to restructure the country.
They held a meeting in Enugu tagged: ‘A Celebration of Igbo/Yoruba Friendship Beyond Brotherhood.’
Also in attendance were delegations from the Middle Belt and the Niger Delta.
The meeting was dedicated to a former Head of State, the late Gen. Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi and a former military governor of Western State, the late Col. Adekunle Fajuyi, who were killed in the July 29, 1966 coup.
Some family members of the slain officers were at the meeting.
A communiqué at the end of the meeting signed by President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo and Chief Ayo Adebanjo, who represented the leader of Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, was read by Ambassador Humphrey Orjiako.
It reads:“Decided to collaborate closely to create mutually beneficial opportunities, build a strong alliance to advance their ever growing mutual interests, while striving together to meet the common responsibilities of building a united, coherent and prosperous nation – state of free peoples, freely relating to one another across the dividing lines of tribe, religion, region and politics;
“Declared unflinching support for a truly federal union of Nigeria, that is democratic, stable, secure, peaceful, just and fair to all its citizens.
‘Committed to work in close partnership and through peaceful means to restructure Nigeria, reducing and restricting the duties of the federal government to only matters of national import on the exclusive list, while granting the federating units the right to take full responsibility for local, developmental and residual matters, as this will lead to healthy competition and cooperation among the federating units, in place of the present dysfunctional arrangement that merely superintends over the sharing and consuming of rents, and holds some States and Zones down for others to play the elusive game of catch-up;
‘Committed to insistence therefore, on peaceful devolution of powers, fiscal federalism, land/resource ownership/control, reforming component structural and systemic institutions to radically reduce the escalating cost of governance;
“Committed to working tirelessly towards joining the economically-performing nations – China, India, Brazil, Israel, Singapore , South Korea, Malaysia and Thailand etc. – not as a dependent State, but a competitive producer and exporter of knowledge-based goods and services;
“Committed to immediate implementation of pro federalism recommendations of the 2014 National Conference, in particular those affecting the efficiency of governance.”
In attendance were: Chief Olu Falae, Prof. Anya Oko Anya, Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah, Chief Nnia Nwodo, Idongesit Nkana who represented Chief Edwin Clark, Jonah Jang and Timothy Gwandu from the Middle Belt.
Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, Prof. Banji Akintoye, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko and Mr. A. Ofili Okonkwo.
There were also Yinka Odumakin, Senator Chris Anyanwu, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Senator Femi Okunroumu. Prof Joe Irukwu, Dr. Alex Otti, Oba Adedapo who represented the Ooni of Ife, Mr. Ikedi Ohakim, Chief Cornelius Adebayo, Mrs Kofo Bucknor-Akerele, Prof. Pat Utomi and Mr. Uwakwe Azikiwe who represented Enugu State Governor Ifenyi Ugwuanyi. Onyeka Onwenu and Jimmy Solanke entertained the gathering.