1999 Constitution Review-‘Restructure now to avoid national crises, Ohanaeze PG Obiozor, Nwodo warns

 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.

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