The apex Igbo organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, yesterday, warned that the nation is tottering on thebrink with the refusal of successive governments to restructure the nation.
Chief Nnia Nwodo, the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, in a keynote address on the 90th birthday of Chief Mbazulike Amechi, one of many icons of pre and post-independence Nigerian leadership, heaped the blame on the army for imposing a unitary constitution on the nation that ought to function a federal structure.
Leader of Igbo apex group Chief Nwodo stated that modern Nigeria was now not the same country Chief Amechi and his colleagues bequeathed after they left governance 53 years ago.
In his word: “I have argued elsewhere that our present constitution is an imposition by a group of military officers without any democratic credentials or mandate. It was not subjected to a plebiscite or referendum.
Nigeria’s legal basis is untenable. If we continue like this, this nation is tottering on the brink. We need a national conference. We cannot exist by force.
“Speaking for Ndigbo, our patience is running out We cannot continue to belong to a country whose constitution is imposed on us without any move to allow freedom of discussion, agreement or disagreement.
The circumstances that led to the Nigerian civil war are once more being allowed to fester.
“Every Nigerian patriot must speak up and help to seek a peaceful solution. So long as foreigners are daily entering our country to swell the numbers of a particular ethnic group, so long as the leaderships of the vital armed services are in the exclusive control of one section of the country, so long will a threat be posed to the peace of our country,” he said.
He decried the continued marginalisation of the Igbo in infrastructural growth, administrative models and budgetary allocations by the Federal Authorities.
We no longer feel Nigerian. So soon after the Nigerian civil war? This is sad. We are continuously reminded that there was a victor and a vanquished. By implication, we are reminded of Biafra. So long as Nigeria marginalises the Igbo, so long will Biafra remain in the consciousness of Ndigbo.
Biafra is an unforgettable experience. Biafra is a virtual state easily recalled when Nigeria visits us with the pangs of hatred, despise and marginalisation.”
The Ohanaeze leader suggested restructuring Nigeria is reasonable and peaceful obtainable way to go.
“No Federal Republic in the world runs a unitary government. Ours cannot be an exception. The only way we can let our past leaders rest peacefully is by returning to the agreements they entered into in Lancaster House and all other constitutional conferences they held. It worked well for the First Republic. There is no reason why it cannot work now.
If each region takes care of its own area, controlling their God-given resources and donating agreed powers and obligations to a loose federal government that runs external relations, defense, Customs and other common functions, Nigeria will be more peaceful and prosperous. This will be a sure way to ensure the labours of our heroes past shall not be in vain,” Nwodo said.
Chief Osita Chidoka, the former Minister of Aviation, in his own part warned that any try to shut-out the South East within the 2023 political calculation could be ill-conceived.
Chidoka stated that the nation cannot make progress with its present composition.
Chidoka whereas reviewing the book, “A Political History of Modern Nigeria: Words and Thoughts of Mbazulike Amechi,” said alienating the South East from the 2023 presidential contest will “open old wounds.”
He mentioned the South East had remained dedicated to the unity, mutual understanding, economic growth, social, harmonious co-existence and political wellbeing of Nigeria.
He, subsequently, called on party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the leading part, All Progressives Congress (APC) to respect the precept of zoning and cede their presidential tickets to the South East.
“I crave your indulgence to use the words of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) in an advertorial where they warned President Jonathan not to contest the 2011 election, to sound a note of warning: “If the country’s two major political parties do not continue in the tradition of the agreed rotation, they will undermine the peace and tranquility of Nigeria.”
Chidoka said using the perceived strength of the other geo-political zones or ethnic groups to alienate the Igbos in 2023 “would open old wounds of primitive politics where ethnic, sectional, religious and other primordial, undesirable sentiments will assume center-stage with attendant unpleasant consequences.”
He stated that electoral outcomes confirmed that the South East is ethnically blind on the subject of voting and that it was a proof of the cosmopolitan ethos of Ndigbo.