By David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka
Candidate of the United Progressive Party (UPP), Chief Osita Chidoka, has demanded the creation of a new state in the South-eastern part of the country to assuage the inequality in the country.
Chidoka, who spoke at the official launch of his campaign in Amorka Uli, Ihiala council area of Anambra State at the weekend, said the demand, if met could quell part of the agitations by youths of the area.
Chidoka who spoke extensively said the marginalisation of people of the South-east would form part of his programmes and request from the federal government if he was elected as the governor of Anambra State.
He said the recent branding of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as terrorists was unacceptable, while calling on the federal government to desist from such as the agitations of the group was legitimate.
Chidoka, who prayed God to hear the prayers of the people of the Southeast and end the numerous challenges facing the region, undertook to lead a new engagement that would end the marginalisation and repression of the Igbos.
He said: â€œWhile we salute all those who through one legitimate way or the other have pursued the struggle, we state today that we are stepping into a new frontier. The Igbo voice against marginalisation and injustice will not be achieved on the streets. It will rather be won with a determined engagement of our institutions of government and with other Nigerians who feel aggrieved to redefine the meaning of Nigeria and remove the inequalities that have fanned the embers of discord, and restructure our nation along the lines of justice, equality and fairness.
â€œTo this end, my election as governor of Anambra State, will start off with a single agenda; an agenda to secure a new state for the southeast region to bridge the disparity we face. We will immediately, upon inauguration, in line with S. 8 (1) of the 1999 Constitution get our National Assembly members from Anambra State, our elected Houses of Assembly members, and local government chairmen to sign a request to the National Assembly asking for a referendum for the sixth South-east state.
â€œWe will vigorously engage our friends from other states in the National Assembly and other Houses of Assembly for a new state. Nigeria must take a decision on the issue of additional state for the southeast before the end of tenure of the 8th assembly and the 2019 election.â€
The former minister maintained that there were no terrorists in the southeast, insisting that the nation should not regard the Igbo quest for self-determination as terrorism but a genuine agitation that needs to be addressed.
â€œWe cannot build a great nation without unity at home. We cannot be a nation where people are hated, branded and then hounded and ostracised. We stand here to declare that there are no terrorists in our state; there are no terrorists in our region and we do not feel terrorised as a people. Indeed, without further argument, we do not believe that those who are asking for a restructured Nigeria or even for dismemberment of Nigeria are terrorists. No! They are not,â€ he said