The pan-Yoruba socio-cultural organization, Afenifere and the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) Monday backed the call by the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide for regional autonomy.
The Chidi Ibeh-led Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, in a statement Monday by its Secretary-General, Okechukwu Isiguzuro, had urged the federal government to allow the South-East to be autonomous and create an additional state in the zone, saying this would douse the tension generated by current Biafra agitations and give room for genuine dialogue.
It had also urged the federal government to provide political solutions for the Biafra agitation, provide platforms for genuine dialogue and initiate the process to interface with neutral Igbo leaders by strictly prohibiting Igbo politicians from the dialogue because they are part of the problems in the South-East.
Reacting, Afenifere spokesman, Jare Ajayi, told Daily Trust that Afenifere was in support of the call for strengthening of the regions. He, however, added that such autonomy must be within the federal structure.
He said: “It’s fit and proper to have regional autonomy in Nigeria. As a matter of fact, true democracy, true federalism which gives each region of a country some level of autonomy, the kind we had pre-independence and immediately after independence, before the country’s movement to progress was truncated in 1966.”
Similarly, PANDEF spokesman, Ken Robinson, said there was a need for decentralization and devolution of power to the federating units.
He said: “That’s why PANDEF strongly believes in the restructuring of the country. If regional autonomy is part of the process, then fine.”
From Abdullateef Aliyu (Lagos), Lami Sadiq (Kaduna) & Victor Edozie (Port Harcourt)