The governor of the 19 northern states Thursday said that the north is not opposed to the restructuring of the country contrary to the widely held views by some persons and group in the country.
In an address at a meeting of the nineteen northern states governors and traditional rulers in Kaduna, the chairman of the Northern states governors forum and governor of Borno state, Ibrahim Shettima said any restructuring that may be done should be within acceptable criteria and must be fair to all component parts of the country.
He said a final decision on the position of the north would be taken on Friday when governors of the 19 northern states meet in Kaduna.
According to Shettima, “It is also my expectation that at the end of this meeting today and, God willing, tomorrow’s meeting of the Governors, the Forum and our esteemed royal fathers will adopt a consensus position on restructuring of the country that will be reflective of the general overall interest of the people of Northern Nigeria and which will attract popular acceptance.
“It is of vital importance to arrive at such consensus position because it is crucial to dispel the erroneous impression created and disseminated by certain interests in this country that the North is opposed to restructuring.
“Secondly, it is important to do so not only to accommodate the mainstream of Northern public opinion, our primary constituency, but to also counter the specific versions of restructuring which generally seek to place the North in a position of strategic political and economic disadvantage, but portrayed as the only versions that can work for the nation.
“Without pre-empting the outcome of our interactions over the next two days however, permit me Your Excellencies and Your Royal Highnesses, to embark on a short reflection on the matter before hand. Agreed that being citizens of a democratic country, Nigerians are entitled to exercise their constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech and association, and the clamour for the restructuring of the country falls within the purview of these freedoms. However, the exercise of such rights outside the confines of responsibility is not acceptable.
“The resort to shenanigans, hate speech, and sometimes, incitement to violence by organizations such as IPOP and MOSSAB must be unconditionally condemned as they are inimical to national unity, stability, peaceful coexistence and national security. In this regards, I call on all constituted authorities and responsible leaders of thought in the South East and other parts of Nigeria to rise to the occasion and call these purveyors of hate speech and inflammatory and provocative statements to order.
“These elements must be encouraged to pursue their agitations within processes enshrined in our constitution and with the full and willing participation of all parts of our nation.