Elder statesman and National Leader of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, Chief Edwin Clark, has said the division in Nigeria today is caused by deliberate attempts by a segment of the country to enslave people from other zones of the country..
The nonagenarian also said inequality was the cause of agitations and widespread public dissatisfaction.
Clark said this on Friday in his address at the South-South Zonal Conference with the theme, ‘Restructuring: Imperatives for Sustainable Development, Unity and Security.”
The event was held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, and was organised by the Agape Birthrights in partnership with the Savanna Centre.
Clark, in his address read by Chief Obiuwevbi Ominimini, who is the National Chairman, Oil Producing Areas Association of Nigeria, said the absence of unity had culminated in distrust, noting that no nation could survive with such level of distrust.
The Ijaw leader stated that the country “is disintegrating due to deliberate attempts to enslave people from other zones of the country by those who think the country belongs to them alone.”
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He said, “Look at the ‘Northernisation’ policy going on in the country. Appointments are skewed in favour of the north, in total disregard to the feelings of other areas. Key positions in the ministries, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Customs, Police, you name it, are all given to northerners.
“There are 17 security arms; 14 of them are headed by northerners. Yet one expects that there shall be national unity. Of course, it will not be possible. There must be dissatisfaction and agitation.
“For instance, look at what is happening in the South-East today. Our critical national assets are being attacked almost every day. People are killed and maimed. While one is gravely against such a method of expressing grievance, the people are pushed to the wall.
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“The South-East geopolitical zone can rightly be described as the most disadvantaged. One could not understand why the Indigenous People of Biafra would be declared as a terrorist organisation while similar organisations in the North have not been so declared.”
Stressing that injustice was the bane of Nigeria’s disunity, Clark said, “Unity in this country today is unfortunately a scarce commodity despite the fact that unity is one of the four cardinal points contained in our country’s motto, which is ‘Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress.’
“Our nation has never been so disunited as we are today. There is so much distrust. We suspect one another’s next move. No nation can survive with such a level of distrust. And the major cause of disunity in the country today is inequality.
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“You do not expect me to live in unity with someone who is oppressing me and treating me as though I am a second-class citizen in my own country. This is unacceptable.”