USAfrica: Nigeria’s Middlebelt in support of restructuring, says Ibrahim Bunu
Special to USAfrica (Houston) • @USAfricaLive • @Chido247
On September 15, 2017, in Kaduna, members of Nigeria’s Middlebelt Patriotic Front organized a conversation with a delegation from the Senate President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Senator Bukola Saraki led by Dr. Doyin Okupe- who was a Special Assistant to former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. Also in attendance were Dr. Zwahu K. Bonat, Dr. John Danfulani, Arc. Nick Usman, Grp. Capt. Haruna rtd., Engr. Bawa Magaji, Mr. Kish Adamu, Barr. Solomon Musa (SOKAPU President), Dr. Benjamin Gugong, and many spectacular personalities cutting across various political groups. Also in attendance were delegations and representatives from Plateau, Benue, Kogi, Niger, FCT, Nassarawa, Southern Bauchi, Southern Gombe, Adamawa, Taraba, Southern Kebbi, Southern Borno, Southern Yobe, Hausa & Fulani Christians of Siyawa were well represented by retired Major Abdullahi, and the host Southern Kaduna.
The chairman of the occasion Dr. Z. K. A. Bonat issued the welcoming address stating the meeting was first of its kind and was meant to be an interaction of what the Middlebelt want for itself as a group of people who are structured and one toward resolves of same interests.
The representative to the Senate President, Dr. Doyin Okupe said he was embarrassed at the turn of events today in the Middlebelt, and was quoted as saying, “there is no one in Nigeria that have suffered like the Middlebelt politically… the Middlebelt are the most vilified”. He advised the Middlebelt to unite, no matter what it will cost them as anything can only be achieved with unity of purpose.
Amongst other issues raised and discussed, the following resolutions were conclusively resolved:
(i) It was unanimously agreed that, ” ON THE RESOLUTION OF THE 2014 CONFAB, WE STAND”. Thus, being our resolution also toward restructuring of Nigeria.
(ii) The members of the Middlebelt reject in totality the fallacy of anyone referring to it as a minority or Northern minority. This is a fallacy and not true, as the Middlebelt is made up of about 50million people, and are a composition of 14 States and the FCT.
(iii) The Middlebelt is well prepared and ready to produce and support a presidential candidate from its member states, and especially those who recognize its existence and ideals.
(iv) Further on the need for restructuring, the Middlebelt stakeholders called for equity and justice in the distribution of Constituencies. The present structures of constituencies were noted to be deliberately created to disenfranchise most member states of the Middlebelt.
Dr. Z.K. Bonat gave notable examples using Kaduna state, where it was noted with well-established statistical facts. He was quoted to have said, in Southern Kaduna, one will need about 63,000 to 70,000 Votes in some Local governments to win a house of Assembly member, whereas one will need only about 15,000 to 25,000 votes to win House Of Assembly in Northern Kaduna. Also, In Southern Kaduna, one will need about 500, 000 votes to win the senatorial seat, but in Kaduna North, one can get to the Senate with only about 120,000 votes.
The Chairman of CEDRA, Dr. John Danfulani questioned with much concern, if it were legal for a leader to act on issues that are not under his jurisdiction, as it pertains to H.E Governor El-Rufai paying terrorists of other nationalities outside Nigeria, who are known for attacking Southern Kaduna. He asked, if that does not amount to a case of felony, which he believed should be handled right to help check of the abounding threats of herdsmen in the Middlebelt and the Nation at large. Added to it was also the apartheid tendencies used in handling the issue of a journalist- Luka Binniyat, by the state government. This, he stated, was happening at a time the Arewa Youths threatened the whole nation with a quit notice to Igbo nationality but nothing was done to them despite the tendency of such triggering national chaos. He stated, the case of Luka Binniyat is that of selective justice, as the leadership of Miyetti Allah have been known to make more inciting statements which were proved false by the Nigerian military.
The SOKAPU President, Barr. S. K. Musa solicited with the congregation to observe a minute silence to be observed for all those who were killed in the Middlebelt, simply for reason of their identity and/or what they represent. Afterwards, he prayed for a Nigeria where equity will be imbibed by its leaders.
In conclusion, calls were made for the continuous voters registration to be extended to victims of various attacked groups, especially those displaced in IDP camps. The members of the Middlebelt said it was ready to show its support to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, in his duties toward ensuring Nigeria is governed with more fairness and Justice.
Long Live The Middlebelt.
Long Live The Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Signed: Ibrahim Bunu (Convener)