Governors of the five states of the South-east zone and other leaders of the zone rose from a closed-door meeting in Enugu Sunday insisting that anything short of the creation of additional state for the zone would not be acceptable to the people of the area.
Briefing newsmen at the end of their meeting, the chairman of the Governor’s’ Forum and Anambra State governor, Peter Obi said the inability of the country to address the current imbalance in the number of states had denied the people of the zone so much to the extent that the zone had remained disadvantaged in the scheme of things in the country.
He said the creation of additional state would help in addressing the imbalance in the polity and also go a long way in checking the persistent cries of marginalisation by the people.
He said the people of the zone believed in the amendment of the 1999 Constitution, noting however that equaling the zone with others in terms of states was crucial before the amendment.
“We believe in the amendment of the constitution of the country but the creation of additional state in the South-east is not negotiable,” he said, noting that the zone had already canvassed other issues that must form part of the constitution review.
The governors in the meeting attended by Governors Theodore Orji of Abia, Martin Elechi of Ebonyi, the Acting Governor of Enugu, Sunday Onyebuchi as well as senators, religious and traditional leaders and leaders of Ohaneze Ndigbo maintained that it was imperative for other Nigerians to support the move for the creation of additional state in the interest of justice, equity and fairplay.
Obi said that true federalism which the various sections of the country had canvassed must start by addressing injustices being meted to other zones.
In his brief remarks, a former President-general of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Dr Dozie Ikedife, said Igbos deserved to have an additional state as of right saying that the demand was a major way of addressing the imbalance in the polity.
Also reacting to the statement credited to Kano State governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso to the effect that the South-east does not deserve an additional state, Ikedife said it was his personal opinion which should not be taken seriously by well meaning Nigerians.
He said anything short of addressing the level of deprivation and imbalance in the polity would not be in the interest of the corporate existence of the country.
According to him, the people of the South-east are united in their resolve to have an additional state adding that the location of the proposed new state is yet to be known.