Umbrella Northern socio-political group, Arewa Consultative Forum, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to conduct a Referendum to enable the different sections of the country to determine whether they want to remain within the Nigerian Federation or not.
ACF stated that such a Referendum would also address the demands of those agitating for the disintegration of the Nigerian nation and assuage their feelings.
The Forum’s National Publicity Secretary, Emmanuel Yaweh, stated this on Monday while speaking on a TVC programme, Your View.
The ACF spokesman said the Referendum should be a precursor to the Restructuring of the country.
He recalled that on the eve of their departure, the British colonialists went as far as the grassroots to sample the opinions of Nigerians on the type of political system to be bequeathed to the citizens before they proceeded on the various Constitutional Conferences in London in which the founding fathers of Nigeria took active part.
Yaweh, therefore, said President Muhammadu Buhari should adopt the same method by reaching out to ordinary Nigerians through a Referendum so that they would decide the fate of the Nigerian Federation.
The ACF spokesman said, “You see before independence, the British even though they were the colonial masters, they came here and took everything. When they wanted to hand over power, they went from ward to local government before these constitutional conferences which Awolowo, Tafawa Balewa and others, they sat in Nigeria and abroad and they came to the conclusion that over 99 per cent of Nigerians wanted Federalism.
“So, if I were the President, I would adopt the same policy, I would adopt the same process. Let’s go to Nigerians so that I would know what Nigerians want. Is it that they want a break-up? Do they still want Federalism the way they want it? That’s why we are still speaking of Referendum. We want a Referendum. Do people even believe in Nigeria at all? Some people don’t believe. Do these people know what it means to break up at all when they’re making this advocacy? Do they know the implication of what they say? If I were the President, I’ll call for Referendum. Let people agree that we believe in Nigeria. Then we’ll agree that let’s restructure Nigeria.
“The truth is that every Nigerian before independence voted for Federalism. But the military came and started killing people, killing our leaders. They killed the Prime Minister, threw his body in the bush. They did not only kill individuals, they killed Federalism too. Then Ironsi came out with a decree turning the Federal Republic to a unitary state. That was when we destroyed Federalism in Nigeria. So, we cannot in all honesty.”
Nnamdi Kanu-led Indigenous People of Biafra and other groups are clamouring for the restoration of the defunct Republic of Biafra in the South-East.
Similarly, in the South-West, different groups under the umbrella of Ilana Oodua staged a rally last Saturday in Lagos to demand a separate nation for the Yoruba people.