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The Coalition of South East Youth Leaders (COSEYL) has frowned at the recent utterance by a faceless group warning Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State to stay away from South-East politics.
In a statement which was made available to The Eastern Updates which was signed by the President General of COSEYL, Goodluck Ibem it noted that the governor as a Nigerian has the equal right to defend whoever he wants to defend.
According to the statement, ‘COSEYL would, ordinarily, not have bothered to dignify such release but for the gullible and most times, uninformed public. We wish to at this time make it categorically known to such a group that as long as Nigeria remains a project in progress, any stakeholder, regardless of their ethnic nationality, has a say in whatever happens outside their region.
‘When herders attacked Benue, it was a national question and never a regional; when the Northeast is unstable, it is a national matter open to discussion by people in the South West or wherever.
‘COSEYL affirms that the position Governor Ortom stressed is nothing new and should only be amplified so that a national conversation is birthed capable of addressing problems in the nation.
‘According to the statement, Ortom is being accused of using the South East to advance his cause. We wish to let the persons behind that article of shame understand that Ortom has, for long, remained a voice in the wilderness. He has been vocal in matters affecting his state, Benue and outside of the state.
‘What exactly did Ortom say in his keynote address in Enugu that undermined the position of the governors of the region, is it the call for infrastructure in the region, insecurity, neglect in federal appointments against the federal character principles. All these are plagues the region has suffered and so deserve to be entertained by any Nigerian.
‘We wish to affirm that the position of Ortom resonates and sits well with the yearnings and aspirations of the good people of South East and Ndigbo.
‘Anybody who holds a contrary view, COSEYL says, should examine themselves whether they are acting in the overall interest of Ndigbo or are playing ‘the enemy within’,’ Ibem stated.
The youth group however attributed the marginalisation of some ethnic groups in the country to the main cause of insecurity in the country today.
‘As a youth coalition that wants peace, both regional and national, we affirm that, if on the basis of the federal character principle appointments are equally distributed among all groups in Nigeria, our insecurity wouldn’t be as alarming as it now,’ Ibem said.