Every day, more and more individuals and groups continue to lend their voices to the current situation of things in the country, particularly in the South-East region where there have been agitations for the secession of Biafra. The agitations in the region and subsequent surge of attacks on security architectures have led to the death of many people including innocent and unarmed women.
The heavy presence of the military and Police Special Squad has arguably not helped matter as there have been reports of the arrest and killings of innocent youths. Killings and destructions of facilities in the South-East and some parts of the South-south region have no doubt, become a source of concern to many Nigerians. It has also threatened the corporate existence of Nigeria as a nation.
In a bid to find a lasting solution to the agitations in the South-East region of the country, many have been suggesting different approaches to handle the issue, with some suggesting that the government should dialogue with the agitators to convince them to drop their arms and embrace peace. On the contrary, the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has called on the National Assembly to invoke the doctrine of necessity and organise a referendum to allow people of the South East to decide whether or not they want to remain in the Nigerian federation.
According to a report on The Punch, the Spokesperson for the group, Azeez Suleiman revealed that the CNG demanded the immediate suspension of the ongoing exercise for the review of the 1999 Constitution, and to concentrate on a priority issue which is to determine who and what constitutes Nigeria as a nation in the present circumstance in which the Igbo, by taking up arms against the Nigerian state, for the third time, have foreclosed every hope for the rest of us to continue coexisting with them as one nation.
Based on the current situation of things in the South-East region, and the need for peace in all parts of the country, it is my opinion that the Coalition of Northern Groups' call for a referendum should be supported by all. This is due to the ability of referendum to find a lasting solution to the issues of agitations in the region, and as well as attacks and killings that are currently going on in the region. It should be noted that the essence of the referendum is not to allow the region to secede but to determine what the majority of people in the region want.
Arguably, it is the outcome of the referendum that would either force the agitators to give up on the agitations or convince the government that secession is the popular demand of the majority of people in the region and act accordingly. It should be recalled that a referendum was adopted by the United Kingdom when it had the challenge of whether or not to remain as part of the European Union (EU). Following the referendum, the majority voted for an exit from the EU, which put an end to the issue.
Based on this, it is my opinion that if a referendum can be organized as requested by the Coalition of Northern Groups, the crisis in the Southeast region will be resolved forever. This is why I believe that the call by the CNG should be supported by everyone who has the interest of the country at heart.
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