- The leaders of South-South and South-East Nigerians met in Lagos state
- The meeting was to deliberate on the alleged marginalization of the Igbo
Leaders of South-South and South-East geo-political zones met in Lagos on Tuesday, March 2, to discuss the representation of their tribes in political positions in Nigeria.
The elders decry marginalization and misrepresentation and called for restructuring of Nigeria to make all citizens of the country equal partners and partakers, Vanguard reports.
They met at the Apapa, Lagos residence of elder statesman and Ijaw National Leader, Chief Edwin Clark, where there was both an open-session meeting and a closed-door one.
Speaking at the open- session meeting, Chief Edwin Clark, the Ijaw national leader, said: “we are light years away from the kind of country our founding fathers bequeathed to us.”
He said at independence in 1960, the Richard’s Constitution spelt out what Nigeria should be – a Federal Republic with three regions – North, East and West as the components.
“Each of the regions is equal and each is allowed to develop at its own pace. Whatever resources you have in your region, you take 50 per cent and the remaining 50 per cent is sent to the centre, which is further shared between the centre and the regions. That was the country we knew. Today, the reverse is the case. We complain of xenophobia in South Africa, what do we have in Nigeria?”
“A situation where some groups of Nigerians speak others listen but cannot speak means we don’t have a country. This country belongs to all of us.”
While responding to him, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, said he came to extend the hand of fellowship to South-South to faction methods that would improve not only the fortunes of the two zones but the entire country.
Nwodo said the South-East and Ndigbo aspired to have a country where every part of Nigeria would participate and the future generation would have a better country than the present generation.
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Talking about the maltreatment of the South-East in term of number of states, poor infrastructure and non-headship of any of the security agencies, Nwodo said he was disturbed by a recent statement attributed to the Emir of Kano that the Igbo were being punished for going to war against Nigeria.
Noting that Igbo youths did not want to be part of Nigeria anymore and that they wanted Biafra Repbulic, he said: "Igbo elders who saw the civil war did not want the country to be plunged into another war, hence their clamour for urgent solutions. We think that the rest of the country should come together and end an impending catastrophe.”
Other leaders at the meeting include Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Major. General Nwachukwu (rtd), Alobo Tonye-Douglas, Senator Ewa Henshew, Prof. Chigozie Ogbu, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi, Chief Guy Ikokwu, Prof. G.G. Darah, Dr. Steve Oru, Chief Albert Horsfall, Mr. Nduka Obaigbena and Uche Okwukwu.
Meanwhile, the Movement for the Actualisation of a Sovereign State Of Biafra (MASSOB) has said that Igbos will not be allowed to be president in Nigeria even though they are the lifeline of the country.
The group in a statement on Tuesday, February 28 said Igbo are political slaves in Nigeria and would be allowed to rule.