•Northern govs to storm confab
•We’re ready for them —Southern leaders
A major confrontation between Northern and Southern political leaders may take place in Abuja on Monday unless a plan by governors from the North to storm Abuja that day against the national conference is called off.
A competent source told Saturday Tribune on Friday that following a meeting held by certain leaders of the North, including the governors, on Thursday evening in Abuja, a decision to reverse all major decisions taken during the week by the conference was arrived at by the North.
Already, the source said that while the North strategised on the plan, which has been described as a major onslaught against the South, leaders of thought in the South also spent the better part of Friday planning their own counter-offensive.
“They (northern leaders) decided at their meeting that decisions that upheld Nigeria as a federation should be reopened and defeated. Some of these decisions are on entrenching true federalism and creation of new states, particularly an additional one for the South East. The confab approved that local government creation should strictly be the responsibility of states; that local governments should no longer be a basis for revenue allocation from the Federation Account and that only states and the Federal Government be sharing revenue from the Federation Account.
“We also agreed on having state police and for each state to have its own constitution as obtained during the First Republic and in all countries practising federalism. They (the north) were part of these decisions and it is a surprise that they are plotting to cause a major conflict at the conference on Monday and seek to bring down this country,” the source said.
Afenifere spokesman and a delegate to the conference, Mr Yinka Odumakin, who also confirmed that he had heard of the plan by the northern governors to storm Abuja over those decisions of the conference, said the South was ready for them.
“We understand they are coming to Abuja on Monday to mobilise their delegates and induce others against certain decisions but the South is ready for them.
“The South is ready for them and we will engage them eyeball for eyeball. The South is a bloc now; our leaders are set for them. The North, over the years, has behaved as if it owned the country. No section of this country has the right to dictate to any other. These northern governors and their leaders should know that yesterday ended at 12 midnight. This is a new day in Nigeria. Anyone who is living in the past should wake up now to the realities of today’s Nigeria,” Odumakin stressed.
Northern minority groups kick
Saturday Tribune also gathered that an even bigger shocker awaits the Northern governors and their delegates, as their colleagues from the minority ethnic groupings in the North have dissociated themselves from the planned onslaught which may include a walkout designed to crash the confab.
Though the affected minorities’ representatives attended a meeting called by the Northern delegates’ leadership, headed by Professor Awwal Yadudu and Bashir Dalhatu on Thursday, they reportedly had their own separate meeting where it was resolved that they would distance themselves from the decision of the core Northern delegates on Monday.
The Northern delegates’ meeting took place immediately the conference rose at 3.30 pm on Thursday.
The meeting, which took place at the National Judicial Institute (NJI), venue of the conference, was reportedly coordinated by Yadudu, the former Legal Adviser to late Head of State, General Sani Abacha; and Dalhatu, who is rumoured to be interested in Jigawa governorship election next year.
A source at the meeting, who is also a Northern delegate, told Saturday Tribune that the Northern delegates rejected the decisions taken at the Thursday plenary on the allegation that they were arrived at against the spirit of the conference guidelines.
They claimed that the guidelines stipulate that where consensus could not be reached on issues by delegates, there should be voting – which they claimed was not observed during the approval for state creation and local government delisting in the constitution.
“It was subsequently agreed at the meeting that a ‘Point of Order’ should be raised on Monday for a reversal; and if such is not granted, it was resolved that all Northern delegates should walk out of the conference and not return until the decisions are reversed. It was reasoned that South-South delegates walked out in 2005 to a great effect and same tactic should be adopted,” the source disclosed.
The source, however, noted that the Northern delegates might be up for the greatest embarrassment of their lives, because “almost all our brothers from the North-Central have resolved not to join the walkout. Delegates from the minority ethnic groupings in the core North have pledged their total support to seeing the conference out.
“With the calculations on ground, there will be more than the required two-thirds of the delegates participating in subsequent proceedings even if the walkout takes place. Where would that leave us? Justice Kutigi is also not supportive of the plan to create crisis for the conference. We wait to see how it goes on Monday,” he said.
A delegate from the minority North told Saturday Tribune that it would amount to sheer madness to support the core North on the walkout agenda when the new states to be created would be ending their several years of domination and subjugation by the core North.
“The so-called North is on its own. This is the time for our liberation. No northern agenda will stop that. We would have joined if they had been sincere; but they are not. It was a lie that there was no voting. There was voting. There was a ‘voice vote’. The ‘aye’s and ‘nay’s is a voting process. We had that on Thursday,” he said.