Two socio-political organisations, Nzuko Umunna and The Core Federalists, say they have finalised plans to hold a maiden summit to interface with presidential candidates of various political parties, including President Muhammadu Buhari and Alhaji Abubakar Atiku on issues concerning restructuring of the country.
The summit under the auspices of Handshake Across Nigeria: Towards A Productive Nigeria has as its theme ‘Nigeria Beyond Oil’ and would feature Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, as the keynote speaker, while Senator Ike Nwachukwu and Ambassador Ibrahim Gambari would serve as distinguished chairman and co-chairman respectively.
Addressing a press conference in Lagos yesterday, the pan-Igbo group under the auspices of Nzuko Umunna and leaders of the Core Federalist, said the prevailing situation in the country call for the summit as part of a worldwide consultation process on the peace and development of Nigeria.
The administrator of the Core Federalists, Yinka Odumakin, alongside Dr. Austin Nweze, Secretary of Nzuko Umunna Handshake Across Nigeria Planning Committee, Prof. Maurice Iwu and others, who read the text said: “Our keen observance of the happenings in our country Nigeria and the interactions with our members all over the world and the Nigeria populace has made it inevitable to organise this summit at this critical time in our democracy.
“This press conference is in articulation of the urgent reasons we deem it needful that this summit should be organized and to encourage participation by all thought leaders, political parties, civil, society groups, socio-cultural organisations and indeed all Nigerians.”
The groups expressed the belief that Nigeria has all it takes to be a great nation, blessed with natural and human resources with multi-ethnic and cultural diversities, stressing that “unity, trust and fairness are indubitably the necessary catalysts we need as a people to actualize our potential as a nation.”
Odumakin, who is also the National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, said despite the fact that Nigeria has all it takes to be a great nation, the country is still confronted with slow pace of development.
According to him, “Unfortunately, our national unity has recently come under palpable challenge which in turn slows down the pace of national development. It’s against this background that we formally inform Nigerians and the world on the forthcoming Handshake Across Nigeria/Restructuring Summit which will hold on 19th November 2018.
While dismissing insinuations that the summit is an attempt to draw presidential candidates to debate on restructuring, the summit planners said, “It is not a debate but an interaction on the fundamental vision, to read their lips, understand their body language and see whether they mean what they say.”
On whether restructuring should take place before the 2019 election, Odumakin pointed out that time would not permit that, noting that it was imperative to canvass the views of potential leaders on the need to examine Nigeria’s future progress in the face of declining fortunes from oil.