The Igbo Elders Council, FCT chapter has called out all southern states yet to enact the anti-open grazing law as resolved by the recent meeting of the Southern Governors Forum that ‘each state in the South should enact an anti-open grazing law by September 1, 2021’.
The Igbo Elders said that the delay by any state to comply with the creative, commendable and people oriented resolution is unpatriotic and anti people, The Elders said in a press briefing held in Abuja on Monday in a statement signed by the Council Chairman, His Excellency, Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife (Okwadike) and the Secretary, Prof Charles Nwekeaku.
According to the statement,“This resolution of the Southern Governors that each state in the South should enact an anti-open grazing law by September 1, 2021 is not only commendable, creative and patriotic, but also populist and people oriented that any state that has failed to comply with it is insensitive, unpatriotic and anti-people as the reluctance or even arrogant refusal to comply with that decision is considered as a coup against the masses of the Southern Nigeria.
“The decision of the Southern Governors to barn open grazing is a demonstration of their determination to enthrone democracy, rule of law and transparent governance for a conducive, stimulating and challenging business environment and orderly society for security of life and property of all the citizens irrespective of their ethnic, religious and occupational differences.
“It is expected that every state in the South East should not only pass the anti-open grazing law within this period, but also put in place appropriate mechanisms for immediate implementation of the law in the state, otherwise the laudable objective of enacting the law for the purpose of minimizing conflicts between farmers and herders, as well as promoting ranching and other modern pastoral methods, will be defeated.
“While we commend Enugu and Abia States for their efforts to empanel legislation on anti-open grazing, we urge the other states in the South, especially in the South East and other Igbo speaking states of the South South to put in place necessary machinery to comply with Southern Governors resolution or be liable for aborting the popular will and desire of our people. The Governors and the State Assemblies of the delinquent states, especially in the South East should be held responsible for noncompliance.”
The Elders, speaking on the issue of zoning of 2023 presidential elections, condemned the concerted efforts of some unpatriotic Nigerians in concert with some political leaders in the east to disregard another patriotic resolution of the Southern Governors Forum that the 2023 Presidency of Nigeria should be zoned to the South for the sake of peace, justice, equity and fairness.
“This ugly development is saddening, divisive and unpatriotic as we equally condemn it without any reservation, and shall support any possible sanctions against any Igbo sons and daughters that are associated with this deceit and betrayal of people’s will and popular desire.
“The Presidency has to be zoned to the South, and we believe that our brothers of the South South and South West shall be considerate enough to micro-one it to the South East, which, except for the six-month of Avions military pie has not be given the opportunity to lead the country in that capacity since political independence of Nigeria in 1960.”
Igbo Elders therefore warned that any political party that tinkers with the laudable and patriotic demand that the 2023 Presidency be zone to the South, and do otherwise by zoning it elsewhere, should be prepared to struggle without the votes of our people, because it is against the principles of equity, justice and fairness.
“Any political party that preaches democracy, accountability and transparency should first put into practice the principles of equity, justice and fairness by zoning the 2023 Presidency to the South, preferably, the South East. This will, no doubt, douse the increasing tension and heated Nigerian polity aggravated by the cries of marginalization, injustice, policy of exclusion, nepotism and ethnicity,” the statement added