2019: Restructuring will shape ‘Midwestern region’ voting pattern — Obaseki

Dr Pedro Obaseki, President of Midwest Movement, has called for systemic dismantling of the current federal structure to pave way for a more
united, prosperous and progressive nation.
Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria on the forthcoming “Midwest Summit,” Obaseki said that issues of restructuring and security would play a key role in determining the direction the Midwestern region in 2019.
He said that the Midwest Summit, convened by Midwestern Movement, would hold on December 12 in Asaba, the home town of the first Premier of the region, Chief Dennis Osadebe.
According to Obaseki, prominent politicians, including presidential candidates of some political parties in the 2019 elections, would participate in the summit.
He said: “There must be a deliberate devolution of powers; there must be a reduction in the federal might; there must a redressing of quota system and federal character.
“The Nigerian federation needs to be re-federalised properly. We need to create a Nigeria that will be free for all.’’
He called on the presidential candidates to show deep commitment to restructuring of the country to enhance the nation’s growth.
Obaseki, a veteran movie director and broadcaster, said that the Midwestern Movement, founded in 1957, was resuscitated in 2017 in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of its creation to liberate the region.
The academic, who was the gubernatorial candidate of Accord Party in Edo in 2016, said that the quest for re-federation of Nigeria necessitated the resurgence of Midwest Movement.
He said: “If we don’t do that (restructuring) by 2019, Nigeria will be treading on a very explosive and a dangerous ground and the fidelity of Nigeria federation cannot be guaranteed.
“In the clamour for restructuring, the Biafra boys, in dastardly and almost treasonable act through MASSOB and IPOB groups, keep adding Edo and Delta into their maps which is a dangerous trend.
“We are a pacifist people, we are not troublesome. We love Nigeria but we want a more equitable and justifiable distribution of the national wealth.’’
He said that the Midwest region’s 12 tribes were committed to the unity and cohesion of the country, adding that the region wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari that the Midwestern people were not part of Biafra.
He said: “We are not the one fighting for Nigeria to be divided. We do not want that to happen. We are a more cosmopolitan people.
“We want the government that comes in 2019 to address the peculiar drawbacks that had been faced by the Midwestern people.”
Obaseki recalled that, although there were clamours for six regions before Nigeria’s Independence, only the Midwest region was carved out of the Western region after Independence to make the federating unit four in 1963.
According to him, the dissolution of the federation in 1967 by the military and the subsequent creation of states by different military administrations have not been fair to the Midwest region.
He said: “The military governments squeezed the Midwest (Edo and Delta State), a full region of its own before, into South-South, to share the region with four states from the Southeast.’’
On the fiscal revenue allocation formula, Obaseki said that formula in 1960s aided the speedy growth and development of the nation by giving financial muscles to the regions to bring about massive growth and developments in the regions.