Gbonigi, Ekwueme, Clark, others insist on implementation of confab report

THE Southern Nigeria Peoples Assembly (SMPA) has insisted that the implementation of the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference remained the only solution for Nigeria in the face of its current economic and political crises, calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to, as a matter of urgency, begin the implementation of Confab report.

This is just as Abia State governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, called for the equal distribution of the country’s wealth, saying this would stop ethnic agitations.

Elder statesmen, Chief Edwin Clark and Bishop Bolanle Gbonigi stated this on Tuesday, during a meeting of the Elders/Management Committee of the Assembly held in Umuahia, Abia State.

At the meeting, which comprised eminent elders of Southern Nigeria, Clark noted that the conference report “provides enough for the equitable restructuring of Nigeria to accommodate stability and sustainability all round,” observing further that the quick implementation of the recommendations would strengthen the unity of Nigeria and douse tensions generated by current agitations in the country.

Also speaking, Gbonigi, who was represented by Senator Femi Okurounmu, stated that the call for the restructuring of the country started since the days of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) movement, expressing regret that the issues it was meant to address had surfaced again.

The elders further decried the hardship facing Nigerians as a result of the economic recession, with Clark maintaining that the impact of the situation had been biting hard on every side, while Gbonigi described the increase in the prices of food and growing unemployment as unfortunate.

The cleric advised governments at all levels to cut the cost of governance by reducing the number of aides and cutting down their welfare packages and allowances, while also charging the legislative arm to be “fair and transparent for the sake of the country.”

Gbonigi, who also called for the promotion of made-in-Nigeria goods as well as the diversification of the economy, advised governments at all levels to promote agriculture.

Speaking on the current administration’s fight against corruption, Clark, who was former Federal Information Commissioner, maintained that “corruption is a cankerworm that has eaten deep into the very fabric of our national consciousness and caused serious damage to this nation,” noting that it must be fought at all cost.

Also speaking at the meeting, South-East leader and former vice-president of Nigeria, Dr Alex Ekwueme, represented by Chief Mbazulike Amaechi, called for a greater synergy in the Southern Nigeria Peoples Assembly.