A pan-Edo/Delta group on the platform of Midwest Movement, on Wednesday, threatened to declare Bendel Republic from the country if Nigeria fails to play its constitutional role and re-federalise the country.
The group consists of distinguished sons and daughters of the 12 tribes of the old Midwest Region, later Bendel State.
The 12 tribes include Akoko-Edo, Esan, Benin, Etsako, Owan, Anionma, Ika, Ndokwa, Urhobo, Isoko, Ijaw and Itshekiri.
Convener of the Movement, Dr. Don Pedro Obaseki, in an eight-point demand, during a press conference, held in Benin-City, 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.
He said 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.
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.
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.
“The government should as a matter of urgency, broaden its consultation and engagement with stakeholders of all ethnic nationalities, with a view to working out modalities to ease the current avoidable tension in the country.”
The Movement, however, warned that should the government continues to play ostrich to the current agitation, the Midwest territorial area shall resist all attempt to annex, attach or consecript it as part of the area of any of its near of far neighbours.
“That if the federation of Nigeria fails to hold under the weight of government’s inability to play its constitutional role and because of of the reckless actions of ethnic jingoists, the Midwest Territorial Area…shall employ, embrace and adopt every available international instruments, conventions and protocols to take its destiny in its own hands as a Stand Alone Territory to be called Bendel Republic or any such name or appellation our people so choose to adopt.”
Meanwhile, a 25-man Management Committee made up of politicians and professionals from different fields, chaired by Dr. Obaseki, has been constituted to see to the actualisation of their demands.