SEVERAL senators from the southern half of the country have resolved to work towards the unity of Nigeria despite the various challenges threatening the nation’s continued existence that have come to the fore over the last year.
Nigeria is currently being plagued by chronic insecurity, with Fulani cattle herdsmen, armed bandits, Boko Haram terrorists and kidnappers running riot. President Muhammadu Buhari has been severely criticised for being indifferent to the crisis being an ethnic Fulani who breeds cattle himself and his nonchalance has emboldened the hoodlums.
With the security forces reluctant to take on the criminals with the backing of the presidency, there have been calls for secession across the country. in the southeast geo-political zone, the has been agitation for the defunct republic of Biafra, while in the southwest, there has been a clamour for the creation of an Oduduwa Republic.
With President Buhari also accused of nepotism in his appointments as well as gross incompetence in handling the insecurity in the country, secessionist threats are growing by the day. However, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, the deputy senate president, said several southern senators had elected Opeyemi Bamidele as the chairman of this new group and they remained committed to the unity of Nigeria.
Senator Omo-Agege said: “Let me make it very clear that we are united, both the northern and southern senators. We are united behind the leadership of the ninth senate and we have resolved that notwithstanding the challenges facing the country, we would support a united Nigeria.
“By June 11, we would have been in the senate for two years and we felt we need to inaugurate the leadership for southern senators forum.” He added that the northern senators’ forum was inaugurated sometime ago, hence the need to inaugurate the southern senators’ forum too.
Senator Bamidele added: “Our position is that we have to manage our unity in diversity. We further look forward to strengthening the leadership of the senate.
“We would provide voice for our people that we are here to represent. We would use the platform to strengthen the unity of Nigeria that we have all promised to uphold.”
Other leaders of the southern senators forum include Senator Stella Oduah (PDP, Anambra North) as vice chairman; Senator Mathew Uroghide (PDP, Edo) as secretary general; Senator Adeola Olamilekan (APC, Lagos West) as treasuer; Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP, Enugu North) – publicity secretary and Senator Degi Eremienyo (APC, Bayelsa East) financial secretary.