Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) yesterday replied Yoruba elders who insisted on ethnic autonomy in the forthcoming National Conference.
The Forum, in a statement issued by its spokesman, Anthony N.Z. Sani, said it was not afraid to talk at the conference as it was being assumed in some quarters; instead it argued that it wouldn’t lack what to talk about.
It said: “We have read the reports that the Yoruba will push for some form of ethnic autonomy during the coming National Conference that is reminiscent of confederal arrangement. As we have repeatedly made clear, ACF did not canvass for the Conference. This is because of forum’s belief that the problems of Nigeria lie on the collapse of national ideals, fall in moral values, collapse in social contract and fall in sense of what is right and what is wrong rather than in the structure of the country, in the constitution and in the form of government nor in the hype in ethnic nationalism that promotes cleavages of the country.”
Continuing, it said: “Only cultural renaissance by purposeful leadership and the best in everyone can cut the Gordian knot. But since some sections of the country believe coming together in the conference is capable of furthering the cause of a united Nigeria when issues of national importance bordering on real issues of real concern to real Nigerians are discussed, we have said so be it. Surely, if such issues are raised in the conference, delegates from the North will not lack what to say. What most federal systems do is to balance the national power with appropriate level of state power in manner that the centre is strong enough to keep the country one, but not too strong as to push the country towards a unitary system.
“Towards this end, devolution of power can still be achieved by appropriate tampering with the exclusive and concurrent list for performance. As to the complaint that Nigeria was created without consultations with ethnic nationalities, we wish to say that is how most countries were created, for instance, Ethiopia is the only country in Africa not affected by colonial rule. But what most countries do is for the people to come together and make the most of their diversity by working hard to overcome their differences, since culture and traditions is dynamic and only core values of humanity are for eternity.”