Renowned politician and economist, Prof. Pat Utomi, has said that some actors in Northern part of Nigeria is afraid of much desired restructuring because it is facing a crisis of unity and are uncertain about what restructuring portends for them.
Utomi who spoke at a virtual media parley on Sunday organised by Nzuko Umunna, Ovation and Njenje Media, ahead of the conference to foster national cohesion and development, said north cannot stand on its own without Nigeria as less than five states can unite as one. The second edition of the “Never Again Conference: 51 Years After The Nigerian-Biafran Civil War”, will hold virtually for the first time on Thursday, January 14, 2021.
“There is a real crisis in the north that the South don’t understand. They are painters of people who hate each other very much that is the truth of the matter. That is why they are scared of restructuring, because they don’t know where it will lead them, and outside of Nigeria, they are formless, there is no North,” he said.
Utomi however, urged them to eschew such fears and opined that restructuring will help the North become productive and move away from the poverty status. According to him, the north became poorer, especially post-civil war because of the sharing formula of Nigeria where they rely on federal government for their share of revenue which has made them really unproductive.
Utomi during the parley announced that the second edition of the ‘Never Again Conference’, will have Most Rev. Matthew Kukah, Bishop of Sokoto Catholic Diocese, deliver the keynote address while former President of Nigeria, His Excellency, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo will be the Special Guest of Honour.
He added that the conference will be chaired by Afenifere Leader, Pa Ayo Adebanjo and Nigeria’s former Finance Minister, Dr. Kalu Idika Kalu.
According to him, among the eminent Panelists are the only surviving minister from the First Republic, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi; Alhaji Tanko Yakassai; Mr. Peter Obi; Dr. Hakeem Baba Ahmed; Senator Shehu Sani; Lady Onyeka Onwenu; Amb. Godknows Igali; Alhaji Ahmed Joda, Prof Ladi Hamalai, and Mrs. Charity Shekari.
“It is recalled that Nigeria fought a bitter and internecine 30-month civil war that left in its wake a sharply divided nation with mutual suspicion, hatred and resentment across racial and regional lines. An estimated one million victims were killed immediately before and during the war,” he said.
He added: “The conference will x-ray the issues that led to the Civil War and the need for patriots to work together to achieve national cohesion, especially in light of several centrifugal tendencies within the polity.
“The forum will plot a roadmap for national development by dissecting the challenge of nation-building 51 years after the civil war as well as the much canvassed restructuring, marginalisation, equity, fairness and justice.
“The conference is also aimed to underscore the lessons of the civil war and more especially to promote nation building, forgiveness, healing, reintegration, stability, and national cohesion. We also want to use the occasion to call for national reflection and encourage bridge building among Nigeria’s racial groups.”