Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
Former Minister of Information and current the National Secretary of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Labaran Maku, has dissociated himself from the secessionist group, the Biafran Zionist Movement, faulting the mentioning of his name by the group as their Minister of Aviation.
He said though there are problems of justice and lack of equal opportunities in the country, it is not enough reason for people to take the option of seceding.
â€œFrom my antecedence, people will understand that I am a pro-Nigeria because I believe that no matter the deficiencies of this nation, it still stands as the best legacies the black man can ever give the world in terms of getting his voice heard,â€ he said.
Maku said there has been a lot of voices in recent times calling for the division of Nigeria into smaller units, adding that a bigger country is even more desirable because it makes for a more formidable entity.
According to him, Nigeria fought a gruesome civil war, losing millions of lives and many opportunities but was lucky to be reunited again under General Yakubu Gowon.
Maku who went down memory lane to the early days of the countryâ€™s independence and the post civil war days, said most of the agitations resurfaced following degeneration in standard of living of the people brought about by gradual decent to bad leadership.
He said there was little or no agitation when things were moving fine economically until the country began to witness internal problems of governance and lack of justice in the system.
He said there was a problem of justice and lack of equal opportunities in the country.
â€œThere was also some structural problems in the country but the major issue is that the nation gradually degenerated because the leaders were unable to rise to the occasion from the 1990s.
â€œTherefore those voices secession that is coming from younger people, for me they deserved sympathy, they are voices telling us that there is a problem with our federation, that there are problem with our governance, there is a problem with our care for the country and there is a problem with the care for our youth.
â€œI want call on our young people let them not despair or give up on Nigeria because today more and more voices are calling for a new Nigeria that must work for everybody.
â€œNigeria needed to reform, every nation is a work in progress at no are we going to have a country which does not need improvement and I think the 2014 National Conference stands as a great work that should not be jettisoned.
â€œThe resolution of the conference might not be so perfect but it provides the latest cumulative thinking of Nigerians on what we should do to reform our federalism. My advice for the current dispensation is that there is need to operated an inclusive government to give every unit of the federation a sense of belonging,â€ he said.