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Northern Governors Are Not Committed Enough To Restructuring – Chief Edwin Clark

Edwin Clark

Edwin Clark

Elder statesman and National Leader of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum, Chief Edwin Clark has come out to share why the North develops cold feet over restructuring.

He recently had his say while speaking to the press, and Nigerians have been reacting.

According to him, he expects the North to keep developing cold feet because a Northern governor is always visiting the president in Abuja every now and then, and if they concentrated on their states, they won’t even have time for such visits.

Edwin added that the leaders in the North are simply not committed enough to being an autonomous state government.

His words, “Why would they not develop cold feet? Tell me the week you don’t have a northern governor coming to visit (the President) in Abuja. If they concentrate on their states, they won’t have time to come to Abuja. It is because they are not doing their job properly.

They are not committed. Section 5.2 of the 1999 Constitution states it very clearly that the state government is autonomous, not subject to the Federal Government. Of course, there are many court judgments on this.

Nigeria cannot move on if all the issues are not properly addressed. You will recall we all gathered for the 2014 national convention where all the major representatives for each region were present. The then-governor of Akwa Ibom, Senator Godswill Akpabio, who is now the Senate President, was also there and we had a meaningful deliberation.

I think the President of that time was Goodluck Jonathan. We led a delegation to him. Many of them represented the South-East while Ayo Adebanjo (Afenifere) led the West. We had a very good meeting with him, and he agreed, saying he had been thinking about it. The nature of restructuring was also discussed but not in full. That was why he set up the committee.

Senator (Femi) Okurounmu, a die-hard and passionate Nigerian, went round with the team. He went to many places and came back to report to us. So, we were not surprised when we found that the whole house was full. There were about 492 of us who were members with Justice (Idris) Kutigi from Bida in Niger State, as the chairman of the assembly with our intelligent professor, Bolaji Akinyemi, as his deputy, and one prominent lawyer as his secretary.

There were three other secretaries. One of them was Prof. Yakub Mahmood, the man who is INEC chairman today. He was one of the assistant secretaries. There was one from Kano State and another from Cross River State. We spent three weeks arguing about the procedures we had adopted to show that we were truly serious.

Among the members, we had the lame, deaf, blind, and physically challenged persons who were present, and they all made very good contributions because they had their machines and interpreters there too. So, we had the meeting for about six weeks and came up with 600 recommendations to be taken administratively. Unfortunately, Jonathan didn’t do any of these because he was being pressurised. He submitted to those who believed they owned the country.

No, that is not true. Let me quickly say this. The North was not divided. There was only one thing; they told us that Jerry Gana, who was the co-chairman, with Ibrahim Coomassie, former Inspector General of Police, had broken up. They suspected Gana of working with us, the minorities. When we came out, it appeared people were already leaving. But with the way things have turned out, people are now clamouring again for a restructured country.”

SFI Africa


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