*Igbo Leaders of Thought reject Cattle Colony
By Mike Ubani
Prominent Igbo leaders under the umbrella of the Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF) have rejected the countrya��s political structure and demanded a loose restructured federation where the six geopolitical zones shall become autonomous regions.
ADF made its position known just as the Igbo Leaders of Thought (ILT) totally rejected the establishment of cattle colonies in any part of the South East geo-political zone.
Alaigbo warned that anything less than restructuring would amount to digging the grave of the country, adding that they were prepared to opt out of Nigeria if the Federal Government ignored their demand.
In a statement signed by ADF President, Prof. Uzodinma Nwala and Secretary, Prof. Nath Aniekwu, the body said that restructuring would give every region the opportunity to have its constitution, flag, anthem, regional executive and legislative councils.
They stated that if resistance to a structured Nigeria persists, Ndigbo will a�?opt out of the Nigerian federation and establish their own republic.a�?
Decrying what it described as the a�?monstrous forces of hegemony, ethnic and religious cleansing on rampage in Nigeriaa�?, ADF said that a�?instead of staying in the Nigerian federation under the present conditions which are analogous to conquered peoples, whose lives dona��t count, slaves deprived of fundamental rights to life and property, Ndigbo shall opt out of the Nigerian federationa�?.
The leaders further said that their position a�?is the vision of the future we shall bequeath to our children and our children’s children, which will perpetually guide them in the struggle for normal human existence, peace and progress under God’s own eartha�?.
Only last week, 74 prominent Yoruba elders vowed to pull the Yoruba out of Nigeria if the country is not restructured before the 2019 general elections.
The Yoruba group, acting under the aegis of a socio-cultural group dubbed a�?Voice of Reason (VOR)a�?, was led by the former Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Alani Akinrinade; former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Oye Ibidapo-Obe; co-founder, EKO Hospitals, Olorogun Sonny Kuku and spokesperson, Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin.
The group said: a�?The Yoruba people are irrevocably committed to a fundamental restructuring of this current union within the shortest possible time, preferably, before the elections, failing which, we Yoruba people, may have to exercise our option not to continue to be part of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as at present constituted.
The ADF in its memorandum stated that a�?songs of freedom are now raging all over. In the light of all these, ADF does not see any other way out other than the restoration of the original right to freedom and self-determination of the various nationalities that were forced into the artificial Nigerian federation created by the British and bequeathed to the Fulania�?.
It stated that under a restructured Nigeria, the regions would have a�?control over her internal affairs, land and its resources, including security, police, regional guard, para-military, prisons and intelligence agencies.
The group said that the regions must also control her economy, natural resources, internal revenue, while contributing 20 per cent of these for the maintenance of the Federal Union.
a�?The Federal Union Government shall have powers collectively ceded to it by the various autonomous regions; the principles of consensus, power-sharing, union character and rotation shall govern the relationship of the autonomous regions and the conduct of the affairs of the Federal Union. The Federal Union Army shall be jointly controlled by the autonomous regions and shall not be used for any internal operations,a�? ADF said.
Igbo Leaders of Thought reject Cattle Colony
Meanwhile, the ILT, Federal Capital Territory Chapter, at the weekend in rejecting the proposed establishment of cattle colonies in Igbo land, insisted that it a�?is not only conservative, retrogressive and obnoxious; it is also parasitic, anachronistic and anti-people.a�?
In a communique signed by Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, former Governor of Anambra State; Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, former Governor of Enugu State; Prof. Ihechukwu Madubuike, former Minister of Health and Eze Nwosu Ibe, Eze Ndigbo in Abuja, ILT warned of attempts by some governors in the South East to give out land for cattle colonies, insisting that a�?they have no moral rights to give out any land for whimsical reasons, fancy or grandstanding.
a�?Governors in Igboland are therefore advised in their interest not to give out any land in Igbo land for cattle colony as our people will vehemently resist it.a�?
They argued that the South East is one of the most densely populated regions in sub-Saharan Africa, and constant pressure on the land by farmers has ruled out a�?any additional pressure and appropriation of land through the creation of political cattle colonies.
a�?It should be remembered that our people still practice-shifting cultivation. That a parcel of land is left to fallow and manure does not mean it is unutilised.
a�?Top countries that produce the best beef and milk across the world do so not in colonies, but in ranches. We can only do well if we follow their examples,a�? ILT said.
They chided the Federal Government for not showing a�?enough concern on the unprecedented wanton destruction of life and property across the country, as the perpetrators of these heinous crimes are yet to be arrested, prosecuted and punished according to the laws of the land.a�?
They also endorsed the resolutions of the recent Handshake Across the Niger Conference in Enugu, stressing that faithful implementation of the resolutions would further enhance ethnic rapprochement, libertarian rights, national unity and development.
*Igbo Leaders of Thought reject Cattle Colony