Biafra Referendum: Court adjourns CNG’s suit till October

…North Central, not South-East marginalized – CNG

Chimezie Godfrey

The Federal High Court five in Abuja presided over by Justice Epko, on Friday fixed October 20 for hearing in the suit filed by the Coalition of Northern Groups, (CNG) seeking an order directing for a referendum to finally decide the fate of the troubled Nigerian union.

Announcing the adjournment, Justice Ekpo said it was to give 14 days to the Plaintiffs to amend their originating summons and another 14 days for the Defendants to file responses.

Earlier, the Court had granted applications by 16 groups seeking to be joined as Defendants in the suit bringing the number of Defendants to 20.

Speaking after the adjournment, lawyer representing the Igbo nation which was also that morning, said the CNG had actually provided a likely solution to the lingering communal bickering by filing the suit.

He said the suit shall serve as a vehicle to address in particular, the marginalization of the South-East by denying it the opportunity to produce the president of Nigeria.

Reacting, one of the Defendants, the Spokesperson of the Group, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, expressed satisfaction at the way the process they initiated was inviting national attention.

Suleiman however disagreed with the claim by Barrister..saying instead, it is the North Central and not the South-East that suffers marginalization in that context.

“Since ours is a country in which no ethnic group, section, region or political zone can reasonably expect to dominate the others forever, and for the sake of fairness and justice, it becomes morally imperative to consider a formula that would ease tensions by involving every significant component of the Nigerian project.

“If eventually power does shift, and since we’re at this point talking about fairness, the first consideration should be to zones that have never enjoyed the opportunity of fielding candidates for the top offices since inception of this fourth republic.

“A quick check shows that the South-West has fielded and produced a president from 1999 to 2007 and a vice president to serve from 2015 to 2023. The South-East has had three opportunities of fielding vice presidential candidates in APP, ANPP and PDP. The South-South has had two years of vice presidency and another six years of the presidency.

“The North East has fielded and produced a vice president from 1999 to 2007 and was given presidential ticket in 2019. The North West has had a president from 2007 to 2009, a vice president frome 2011 to 2015 and also the current president.

“If Nigerians wish to hear the truth therefore, they should be told that the North Central is the only geopolitical zone that has never been given the opportunity to field even a vice presidential candidate,” Suleiman said.