- Paul Unongo, chairman, Northern Elders Forum, has stated that the north is against the agitation for a sovereign Biafran state because it did not want Nigeria to experience another civil war
- Unongo stressed that the 1967 Civil War was a very bitter experience which led to the death of three million people, and urged the proponents of Biafra to stop trying to break up the nation
- The northern chieftain called for a sovereign national conference that would do away with Nigeria's current unitary structure of government and produce a constitution which would be a true representation of all Nigerians
The chairman of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Paul Unongo, has stated that the 1967 Civil War was a bitter experience which should not be witnessed again; and that is why the north is against the agitation for Biafra, Vanguard reports.
Unongo disclosed that the constitution was not favorable to the desire of Igbo people to produce a president, and stated that people are playing politics with the issue of constitutional amendment.
He stated: “People are just playing politics. I know precisely what is worrying the people of the South-East. You have a Constitution that somehow stopped an Igbo man from becoming the President.
“The Igbo is a majority tribe. Even my tribe, Tiv, is not a minority tribe. We are the majority tribe in Taraba, in Nasarawa and in Benue. And when Nigeria chose to discuss, we were not represented.”
Speaking further about the agitation for Biafra, the northern chieftain stated: “I know what is behind the agitation for Biafra. But you don’t go out and say, ‘give us Biafra.’
“Biafra is a bitter experience. Biafra is a war we fought for three years, and two or three million people were killed. I don’t understand these young men trying to break us up.
“If you talk about injustice, I understand what injustice is. In 1978/1979, I was a leader of a political party known as the NPP.
“I wrote the Constitution of the NPP, and it was because I respected Azikiwe as the father of the nation. I was determined to work with Azikiwe, but the Igbo let me down.
“We have Nigerians who are committed to this country. But the potentials of this country are being delayed by the people who want Nigeria’s structure to remain unitary system and the people who want Nigeria to be a federation failing to dialogue that will allow the people of Nigeria to talk to themselves.
“We have been wasting money on conferences that are not representative of the people.
“Let us call the real people of Nigeria, let us call a sovereign national conference; that is what will move Nigeria forward.
“Nigerians would produce a Constitution that would be representative of the people, not a ‘paddy-paddy’ conference that will take us nowhere. We should do away with a unitary structure.”
In a related development, NAIJ.com previously reported that Dr. Paul Unongo, the chairman of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), gave reasons why the directive given to security chiefs by President Muhammadu Buhari, to crush the Indigenous People Biafra (IPOB), was perfect.
Unongo expressed great concern that Nigeria would be dragged into another civil war if the Nnamdi Kanu-led IPOB was allowed to carry on with its activities.
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