As the October 1 ultimatum given to Igbos in the North approaches, South-East Youth leaders met in Enugu over the weekend, declaring that the various agitations and threats in Nigeria had put the country under severe threat.
They, however, said under the present circumstance, only dialogue could avert the looming danger.
The youth leaders spoke during a consultative meeting organized by the Nigerian Youth Dialogue Group, NYDG.
They described the quit notice issued to Igbos in the North as misplaced.
In one voice, the youth leaders drawn from religious, academic and socio-cultural groups, declared that quit notice should rather be issued to corruption, electoral malpractices, injustice and social ills.
Speaking while declaring the the meeting open, the Chairman and Convener of NYDG, Dr. Gideon Osi Chidiebere stated that Nigeria was being faced by several challenges some of which were normal for all developing countries.
He was, however, quick to add that Nigeria was long overdue in the category of a developing country.
While bemoaning the level of hate speeches and agitations across the country, Chidiebere noted that “the process of nation building is impossible without dialogue. This is because, individually, we are different, collectively we are also different.
“Our father land is under severe threat of survival and her only hope of being is in the hands of the youths and this is not surprising as the raw energies needed to build this nation or destroy her is in us.
“Our country needs us now more than ever to stand up and defend her from her enemies, especially enemies within that are responsible for the unemployment we have today, the insecurity that is threatening our collective existence, poor standard of living, among others.”
The youth leader, however, observed that dialogue remained the lubricant for national cohesion and development.
“Let us sheath our sword and discuss. it is better for our children and the younger generation than the insensitive and abusive comments being made by some youth leaders across the country capable of inciting the system. our duty today is to put off this fire that will do no one any good.
“We are not dialoguing because we are cowards, we are not dialoguing because we are afraid; we are not dialoguing because we cannot fight but because we are civilized, because we don’t want to carry our children and our elderly again during crisis”, he declared.
When asked what would become the outcome of the dialogue which would be replicated across the six geo-political zones, Chidiebere expressed optimism that “at the end of this exercise, the Arewa Youths will see better reasons and apologize to Ndigbo for the quit notice.
“The communique, the resolutions will also form a basis for the restructuring and reconstruction this country needs.”
In their remarks, several other youth leaders at the meeting, including the secretary of the dialogue group, Comrade Udoh Victor Nse, the publicity secretary and publisher of Scorecard Magazine, Comrade Humphrey Onyima, the leader of South-East faith-based organizations, Engineer Isienyi Boniface, and Mr. Temple Chike harped on the need for the Nigerian youths to rise up and take their destiny in their hands.
While condemning the quit notice on Igbos, Onyima said it was regrettable that the Arewa Youths chose to slam such ultimatum on the entire Igbos simply because of of the opinion of one Igbo man.
He said rather than give Igbos quit notice, the youth should “talk about quit notice to Boko Haram, that is they don’t leave the youths will occupy Sambisa Forest, occupy chad.
“We should be talking about quit notice to corruption, quit notice to electoral malpractices, quit notice to political thuggery and not quit notice to the entire Igbos in their own country because of what one man in Uk or in Umuahia said; that’s totally unacceptable.”
For Chike who noted that Nigeria was built on faulty foundation, what the country needed was reconstruction and not restructuring.
“I believe in reconstruction; our enemy is Western world; our enemy is Britain; Nigeria as a country was built on faulty foundation; we must re-negotiate Nigeria; we must excavate the foundation and start afresh.
“2019 will surely become a litmus test for the youths of this country; we must use our numerical strength to change the stage; we have what it takes”, he declared.