By Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu
Notable political leaders including former Governors, Alhaji Balarabe Musa and Peter Obi of Kaduna and Anambra states on Thursday in Enugu joined the clamour for the restructuring of the country, insisting that only restructuring would take the country out of the woods.
They stated that when restructured, the six geo-political zones would serve as the federating units.
They spoke as guest lecturers at the 18th Annual Convention of the Igbo Youths Movement (IYM) at Universal hotel Enugu on the theme, “How To Resolve the Crisis of Nigeria as a Nation”,
Musa specifically warned that the nation would remain in arrested development unless it was restructured to achieve true federalism.
“As presently constituted, the states are virtually all unviable entities which are incapable continuing to exist as viable constituent units of a true federal structure. Secondly, reverting to say, a six regional structure would reduce the competitive pressure for power at the centre and redirect more attention to regional political competencies”, Musa said..
The former governor of Kaduna State, whose paper was presented by the leader and founder of Igbo Youth Movement, Evangelist Elliot Ugochukwu-Uko, sympathised with the Igbo ethnic nationality for accumulated marginalisation and unfair treatment in Nigeria federation especially since after the civil war.
“There can be little doubt that the Igbo ethnic nationality – like many other ethnic nationalities which today constitute the Nigerian State – have had a raw deal in the Nigerian project This has been particularly so since the conclusion of the unfortunate Nigerian Civil war and the failure of the State to continue to be faithful to the policy of ‘no victor, no vanquished’.
“At best, the policies of reconstruction, rehabilitation and reconciliation have not been diligently pursued by successive federal administrations. This raw deal for the Igbos has manifested in many facets of national life, and has been particularly obvious in their representation on the security apparatus and political structures of the State, where Igbo participation has, at best, been merely marginal and tokenish”, he concluded.
Similarly, other speakers at the event including; Professor Banji Akintoye, former Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi, Prof. Felix Oragwu, and Prof Obasi Igwe of Political Science Department of University of Nigeria (UNN) Nsukka, all spoke in support of restructuring of the country and empowering the youths top take greater responsibility in the nation’s governance.
Prof Akintoye said that over-centralisation of power at the centre was the root of all evil in Nigeria.
He said that since youths constitute 55 per cent of the nation’s population, they should rise up and take over power through democratic means, advising that the youths of various ethnic groups should stop attacking each other as they all faced common problem in Nigeria.
Ex-Governor Peter Obi said that he was appalled by the culture of waste of resources and misplacement of priority by some governors, adding that it was unbelievable that when people didn’t have food to eat and light in their houses, some governors spent humongous amount
of money decorating streets and providing street lights during Christmas celebrations.