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Restructuring of Nigeria, inevitable for development - Obi of Onitsha
The Obi of Onitsha and chairman of Anambra State Council of Traditional Rulers, Igwe Alfred Achebe has said that the prevailing situations and challenges across Nigeria have necessitated a review of the governance structure of the country.
Igwe Achebe, in a lecture in Awka yesterday as part of activities marking the 25th anniversary of the creation of Anambra State, observed that the present political arrangement in Nigeria had proved to be unworkable.
He said that going by the support for the restructuring among Nigeria’s ethnic nationalities and prominent individuals, there was need to embark on it as it would give everybody a sense of belonging.
According to him, on June 1, 2016, former vice president, Alhaji Atiku Abubarkar said that restructuring would make governance less centralized, less suffocating and less dictatorial.
He also recalled that the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Alhaji Dahiru Musdafar had also advocated that the 2015 presidential election further divided the country along ethnic, religious, regional and partisan lines, as he argued that after the election, Nigerians seemed as divided as ever.
Similarly, Igwe Achebe added that many ethnic groups, including those in the Niger Delta, as well as the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, were demanding cessation over the existing imbalances in the country.
He said: “The youths in the South East feel that they have been constitutionally marginalized compared to their counterparts in other regions. They feel that the present configuration perpetually puts them at great disadvantage, hence their demand to opt out of Nigeria “MEND in the Niger Delta also argues that the resources from their area are controlled by a very strong federal government in Abuja, while their area which produces the resources is left with virtually nothing.”
Igwe Achebe also recalled that the South West leaders sometime ago, approved a memorandum, saying that there is need for Nigeria to be restructured in a way that no ethnic group should feel marginalised. The royal father said that with these agitations, the way out was for restructuring in a way that the various interest groups would have a sense of belonging in the nation.
In the lecture titled, “Think Nigeria, Invest in Anambra,” Achebe also advised that Ndigbo should urgently address their readiness to survive under any arrangement in Nigeria by investing at home, rather than concentrating their investments and developing other parts of the country to the detriment of their area. He emphasised on the need to pursue collective interest as the people of the South West and the North have been doing, because, as he put it, whatever happens, one would always return to his area.
“We are individually successful, but collectively, we are very much divided. Other ethnic nationalities that share Nigeria with us are seriously maximizing their collective interests,” he noted.
According to him, Igbo should not fold their hands until the restructuring materialized, advising that they should try their best under the present circumstances to maximize their efforts to benefit their area. Among those present at the well attended lecture were former vice president, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, former President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Dr. Dozie Ikedife, former governor of Anambra State, Dame Virgy Etiaba, Senator Joy Emeodi and Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mrs. Rita Maduagwu, who represented Governor Willie Obiano. Prominent business moguls, including Dr. Cosmas Maduka (Cosharis), Dr. Eric Okoye of the Juhel Group, as well as traditional rulers and members of Governor Obiano’s cabinet were also present at the lecture.
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