From,Maurice Okafor, Enugu
The Igbo nation of the South East zone of the country has restated their position on restructuring as the best option to draw Nigeria out of it’s present socio political and economic problems. Both the present and immediate past President Generals of Ohanaeze Ndigbo,Professor George Obiozor and Chief Nnia Nwodo, reiterated this demand in their separate submissions tabled at the public hearing on review of the 1999 constitution,held at Owerri and Enugu respectively between Wednesday,May 26 and Thursday,May 27. Ohanaeze Ndigbo is the apex body of all Igbo socio cultural organizations worldwide.
In a paper presented at the Owerri public hearing, Prof. George Obiozor, the current President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo cautioned that all the economic woes earlier foretold about Nigeria are trying to spell doom for the country,unless the federal government makes an instant turn around by restructuring the country,hardly shall we escape the doom as a nation.
He cautioned, ‘And our history shows that Nigeria is one of them. All signs of national tragedies foretold are present today in full force in Nigeria. In fact, it would require a restructured Nigeria to contain the present forces and tendencies towards a synchronized national crises and even a possibility of national disintegration.Therefore as National Leaders, we must learn the lessons of history that in societies where truth comes last, tragedy comes first. And that the perennial problem or continuous dilemma in Nigerian politics has always resolved around the issues of Justice, Equity and Fairness.
As I have said several times, throughout history those denied Justice have had no interest in peace.We would expect you at the end of this exercise, in the interest of the nation, its unity and progress, to conclude with decisions guided by love and not by hatred; and guided by our collective hopes and not by our fears’.
He stressed that the Igbo nation want a nation where the various confederating units are treated as equals and are able to stand without depending on the central government.
‘ Fundamentally what Ndigbo really want is some form of internal autonomy based on a restructured Nigeria. That categorically stated we (Ndigbo)are of the view that the federation of Nigeria must be a union of equals and the composite units must have the ability to stand without begging the centre for survival. That is a federal system of government and with it characteristics of decentralization and devolution of power among the federating units. Therefore, in the context of the imperatives and urgency of restructuring Nigeria, we should focus on getting the right things done for the right reasons, and at the right levels of government. Indeed, what must be done and no longer what to do is to recognize that history has an iron law of senility of which no country including Nigeria can ask for exemption or exceptionalism. In fact, some countries are born with political tragedies waiting to happen’.
He lamented that the 1999 constitution as presently constituted deprived the various zones and states from developing their individual potentials,stating that on restructuring can salvage the situation.
‘Accordingly, for many Nigerians and groups, the 1999 constitution has left them with feeling like a caged lion over their relative capacities to develop their individual potentials, states and zones.Therefore to many of these citizens across the country, states and zones, restructuring Nigeria will be equivalent to releasing the lion from the cage and it can defend itself’.
Speaking at the Enugu public hearing center, the immediate past President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo,Chief Nnia Nwodo,harped that the time for Restructuring of the country is now and at the moment,to avert imminent danger enveloping Nigeria as country. He commended the Southern Nigeria governors for seeing reason to canvass collectively on the restructuring project.
Nwodo cautioned that history will hold the present administration in the country especially the legislative arm of government,which he described as the heartbeat of a democratic governance if incidentally Nigeria collapses as a nation.
The immediate past Ohanaeze Ndigbo President General, who further presented a paper as the mouth piece of the people of Enugu North Senatorial district of Enugu state,harped on the demand for the creation of Adada state, to mean an equalization state for the people of the South East zone.
He went down memory lane to explain that the demand has been persisting over decades of years with promises unfulfilled, He mentioned at a meeting of all Igbo leaders in Owerri in 2006,during the administration of Chief Achike Udenwa, the demand for Adada state scored higher than every other such demand in the zone and it was collectively accepted.
He pleaded with the committee to see reasons to consider the demand for Adada state as part of their recommendations for the South East zone, even as the Igbo nation is now speaking with one voice on that particualr demand.
Coincidentally, the Chairman of the 1999 Constitution review committee,Senator Ike Ekweremadu ,who chaired the Enugu public hearing center and equally hails from Enugu state,corroborated that he is very much aware of the resonating demand for Adada state and the justifiable facts behind the demand and the collective efforts/solidarity of the entire state on the demand, which eventually has streamed down to the entire zone.
He commended the unity of purpose by the Ibo nation on Adada creation to have brightened the chances of the Igbo nation realizing the age long dream of an additional state,even as the steps to state creation takes a rigourous process.