Leaders of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and South-South Peoples Conference (SSOPEC) have urged communities to brace up for their defence and protection as the security situation in Nigeria is taking a turn for the worse.
At a top-level meeting in Abuja on Friday to renew their age-long working cooperation and political alliance concerned leaders from the two blocs argued, ‘’if the government cannot protect the citizens, it means an abdication of its responsibility. This implies that the communities should defend and protect themselves’’.
Political alliance between the North and the peoples of the Niger Delta predates the country’s independence. In a seeming frantic bid to rescue Nigeria from drifting into anarchy, they are now restoring their hitherto existing cooperation.
The political alliance between the North and the peoples of the Niger Delta was one of the principal reasons that convinced the colonial masters that the country can coexist as one.
That conviction came following the electoral victory of the late Chief Melford Okilo, who won a parliamentary election on the platform of the defunct Northern People’s Congress (NPC).
Parliamentary elections were held in Nigeria on December 12, 1959. The result was a victory for the NPC, which won 134 of the 312 seats in the House of Representatives, despite the defunct Action Group (AG) galvanised by the legendary Chief Obafemi Awolowo, winning more votes.
NPC formed a coalition with five other parties and two independents, holding a total of 148 seats. Voter turnout was 79.5%.
Okilo who was born on November 30, 1933, and died on July 5, 2008, was a Second Republic Governor of the old Rivers State (1979-1983) on the platform of the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN). He remained a member of parliament from 1956 through 1964, and a Minister in the First Republic.
During this Fourth Republic, he was Senator for Bayelsa East, in Bayelsa State (1999–2003).
However, leaders of the two blocs on the platforms of ACF and SSOPEC have resolved that with the current looming anarchy all over Nigeria, they ‘’must’’ stand up and play reconciliatory roles as before.
In a communique jointly signed by Chief Audu Ogbeh for ACF, and Prof. Sotonye F Amakiri for SSOPEC, they resolved, ‘’we cannot stand aloof and surrender our country to bandits who come at night to snatch our little girls, wives, sisters and rape them and at times kill them in the process. The bandits kill our men in the most primitive and barbaric way.
After exhaustive discussions about the current developments in the country, the two organisations regretted that the country has failed to keep faith with the dreams of Nigeria’s forefathers.
They recalled that it was the cooperation that existed between leaders of the North and the South-South that saved Nigeria from break-up during the civil war of the 1960s.
According to them, ‘’Nigerians and the international community are too horrified by the stories coming out of Nigeria for us to just sit down and fold our hands. We are not going to hand over our country to bandits and allow them to break up our country.
‘’The current situation in the country is a clear indication that we may soon be on the slippery road to disintegration. The ACF and the SSPOC is firmly resolved to protect the integrity of the country.
‘’The ACF and the SSPOC agreed to subsequently hold frequent meetings to discuss issues of youth development, economic growth and security in Nigeria.’’