The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum has called on the Nigerian Government to immediately restructure the country in order to prevent a war.
The group in a statement on Sunday signed by Yinka Odumakin (South-West), Gen. C.R.U Ikekire (South-East), Senator Bassey Henshaw (South-South) and Dr Isuwa Dogo (Middle Belt), said frustrations by different nationalities living in Nigeria must be addressed as the situation had reached tipping point.
The statement reads, “Warnings to Nigeria from the two oldest ex-leaders in two months that the country must restructure to avoid a war situation is not lost on us as Nigeria rolls from one challenge to another.
“First was Gen. Yakubu Gowon, who warned in January that Nigeria must urgently deal with the business of restructuring to avoid another civil war as a country.
“Gowon was the man who led the country through its last civil war from 1967-70.
“The latest admonition is coming from Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, who fought vigorously in the war to keep Nigeria united but is now warning us 50 years after the hostilities ended that we need to restructure now to save the country from anarchy and break-up.
“It is sheer wishful thinking for anybody to assume that the displeasure that various nationalities are feeling over the many attendant inequities of unitary Nigeria can disappear with strong-arm tactics and bullying those at receiving ends with terror gangs on rampage around the country.
“A cursory look at events around the world in recent years have shown clearly that the force of arms cannot succeed in keeping together any diverse people brought together by historical circumstance but refuse to constitute themselves with respect, justice and understanding.
“We align with the patriotic interventions of the leaders and call on those in the saddle to look beyond temporary gains of power and heed the advice to set this country on the path of negotiation, inclusiveness and a federal constitutional order.”