A group led by Don Pedro Obaseki, on Wednesday in Benin, threatened to declare Bendel Republic if the federal government fails to make efforts towards restructuring Nigeria.
A group under the aegis of Midwest Movement comprising Edo and Delta states, has said it will declare Bendel Republic if the President Buhari-led Federal Government does not address the ethnic agitations across the country.
The group consists of distinguished sons and daughters of the 12 tribes of the old Midwest Region, later Bendel State and includes; Akoko-Edo, Esan, Benin, Etsako, Owan, Anionma, Ika, Ndokwa, Urhobo, Isoko, Ijaw and Itshekiri.
While addressing journalists in Benin, the Edo state capital on Wednesday, the convener of the movement, Dr. Don Pedro Obaseki, in an eight-point demand, during a press conference, said the group was deeply concerned about the situation in the country, stressing that “the federation of Nigeria is in dire straights” due to injustice, marginalisation and flagrant violation of the terms agreed upon by its founding fathers.
He observed that the present day Nigeria was not what their forefathers dreamt and fought for under the British imparialists, adding that the Movement could not afford to sit back and hope, as usual, that negative passions of ethnic jingoists would blow away or that the convenient dismissive stance of apparent gainers of the situation will resolve the current impasse.
He said, “We are Midwest Region and we condemn attempt by some ethnic groups trying to include us in their agitation. We will resist any attempt by ethnic jingoists to annex, attach or conscript the Midwest territory as part of their territory.”
Obaseki stressed that the country must return to the 1963 Constitution which he said was an agreed template, warning those who are trying to redraw the map and include Midwest in their agitation to stop the idea.
Obaseki called on the Federal Government to broaden its consultation and engagement with stakeholders of all ethnic nationalities, including the Midwest, to achieve a restructuring of the country.
“If the federation of Nigeria fails to hold due to government’s inability to play her constitutional role and because of the reckless action of ethnic jingoists, the Midwest territorial areas comprising twelve tribes shall stand alone as Bendel Republic,” he said.
Amongst other things, the Movement demanded that:
“That government and representatives of the people in parliament should consciously heed the voices of reason who have called for a re-federalization of the country, using all available constitutional means while factoring the interests and aspiration of all ethnic nationalities in Nigeria.
“That government and its officials should refrain from and resist the temptation of casting all those calling for peaceful resolution of the current political impact, as mere appointment seekers.”
He added that the current state of uncertainty arose from years of injustice and marginalization allowed or even perpetuated by succeeding national leaders.