Former Chief Security Officer to General Sani Abacha (the late Head of State), Major Hamza Al-Mustapha (rtd) and other northern leaders have initiated moves to hold a national youth and unity summit.
The planned meeting will address issues emerging from the quit notice issued to Igbo living in the North by some Arewa youths to leave the region by October 1, this year.
At a media chat with journalists at the weekend in Abuja, Al-Mustapha said that “when the need to chart a course as a family comes, to redefine its coexistence, that truth and only truth is needed, a portion of it may be accepted, others may be bitter.”
Al-Mustapha said that the proposed summit has become necessary because the country is in turbulence, stressing that efforts had been made by him and other well-meaning Nigerians out of respect and love for the country to bring the South and the North together.
He said: “If a country has once witnessed war, experienced insurgency, has seen and tasted all forms of sabotage, it is on the shoulders of the younger ones to sit down and think that there is one simple platform that can stitch these wounds and it is called unity.
“On our own and out of shared concern, our fathers in the South East, elders of thought, opinion leaders, youth associations and some of us have taken it upon ourselves to discuss the issues that tear us apart,” he said.
He said that the initiative is in the spirit of Nigeria’s first President, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, whose broad-mindedness did not restrict him on the unity of the country and was subsequently referred to as the “Zik” of Africa.
“When today’s leaders are busy talking over issues that in the spirit of Zikism are considered minor then something is really wrong with us and there is a need for us to sit down and think. If you must sit on the round table at the end of the day, then why go to fight?”
The National President, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, said that the council has been dialoguing with various stakeholders in the North.
He noted that the agitations in the South East for a referendum was borne out of the fact that the youths had chosen to take their destiny in their hands and that the call for restructuring was prompted by failed leaders.
Isiguzoro said: “As the leadership of youths, we are the bridge between those seeking for a referendum and the ones seeking for restructuring. Igbo have contributed a lot to this country, and our investment in the 19 Northern states is worth over N44 trillion.”