Chairman of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF), Chief Edwin Clark, yesterday said that the loud agitations for justice, equity and fair play in the polity has made it imperative that Nigeria should be restructured ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The elder statesman gave the explanation when he received a delegation of the Delta Central 2023 (DC.23), a political pressure group lobbying for the zoning of the governorship seat to the Central Senatorial District in Delta State. Clark said that he and other patriots in the SMBLF were convinced that the convocation of a national dialogue, the enactment of a brand new constitution and the restructuring of Nigeria remained the best steps towards resolving the conflicts plaguing the country. “At the moment, we believe we want this country restructured. The constitution that we have was produced by this military to favour the north and whoever is there is at the mercy of the northern oligarchy because they have more seats at the National Assembly.
“Why should Kano have 44 local government councils? When it was with Jigawa State, it was 44 local governments; when Jigawa went away, it became 23 local governments. So when you put all of them together, they outnumbered even the number of local governments in the South East region. “So we’ve said no to that constitution; let us return to the 1963 constitution.
We want a constitution that makes everybody to be equal citizens of this country, a constitution whereby no one is a subject to another person, a constitution whereby any Nigerian citizen, whether boy, girl, man or woman should be in a position to aspire to whatever position they want to occupy in this country; that is the Nigeria we want. Some of us have gone to the extent of saying that no restructuring, no election,” he said. Clark, who recalled the resolutions of a recent meeting of the SMBLF, disclosed that leaders of socio-cultural groups in the South-East, the South- South, South-West and Middle belt took a decision that if there is going to be an election at all, after restructuring, the presidency should go to the southern Nigeria. In response to the request by the delegation for support on the quest for power shift to Delta Central District, Clark said he understood the concept of zoning very well, but believed the agitation was coming rather too early. He said that at the moment, his attention was focused on the fight for restructuring of the country.