Amby Uneze in Owerri
The President General of the apex Igbo socio political and cultural organisation, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, has reiterated that the only option left to take Nigeria off her myriads of woes is to restructure the country and operate a true federal system.
Nwodo said that he is “convinced that there is only one way out – a return to a federal system of government in accordance with the agreement reached by our forefathers between 1944 to 1963”
The Ohanaeze boss said that the argument for restructuring as a solution is further strengthened by the fact that this present system has failed as the federal government can no longer sustain the country economically if this system continues.
“Today, we are spending 69 per cent of our national revenue to service our loans annually without retiring the principal, today, we have 12 million youths out of employment, the quality of our education is failing drastically due to lack of teaching aids and qualified personnel, the security of life and property has never been as inadequate and unreliable as it is today”
Nwodo whose views were contained in a well-researched paper titled “The problems confronting governance in today’s Nigeria, the Imo challenge,” which he delivered at the inauguration lecture of the in-coming Governor of Imo State, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, warned of the consequences of the continued treatment of Ndigbo as conquered people.
“So long as the Nigeria federation continues to run as a unitary system of government imposed by the military, which treats the South-east as a conquered minority and denies it access to regional self-government and direct control of its natural resources, so long will the agitation for separatism continue in the East,” Nwodoh warned.
He painted the pathetic picture of the South-east region saying, “Given the inability of young graduates of South-east extraction to get employment in government agencies and top private sector establishments controlled by non- Igbos, the South-east has become a breeding ground for revolutionaries”
Nwodo whose lecture was attended by leaders of the South-east and South-south geo- political zones of the country including the National Chairman of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, former governors, former ministers, Bishops and traditional rulers, called out those deriding Igbos on the issues of Nigeria’s presidency.
According him, “For those who deride Igbos everyday in our newspapers and say we can never be president on account of our voting, we don’t want to be president in a skewed and unjust federation”
He noted that the events of the last election have even shown that clearly unless through rigging, nobody can be President of Nigeria without Igbo votes.
“We have demonstrated that unless you rig, Igbo votes will determine who will be president; they now know that our votes are sizeable.
“He finally underscored the sanctity of Igbo position on restructuring when he declared “we want restructured Nigeria and this is not negotiable or is it stoppable”
The Ohanaeze leader also had some words of admonishing for Ihedioha, charging him that if he wants to make a difference he must be different.
“You cannot continue with the old ways and be different. You must develop the will to be tenacious, unbendable and resolute in your convictions; you must be selfless. avoid sycophants, job seekers and 419ners”
He charged the incoming governor to always make the common man, the poor village fellow his gauge for growth and prosperity.
Nwodo in the lecture took graphic analysis of the socio political and economic situation in the country quoting copiously relevant authorities within and outside the country to support his points.