The Imo state governor, Hope Uzodimma, yesterday said that the Igbo people needed a constitution review that would give them justice and equity and not secession.
Uzodimma spoke in Owerri, at the opening ceremony of the National Assembly Constitutional Review Committee Public Hearing For the Southeast zone chaired by the former governor of Abia state and currently, a Senator, Orji Uzor Kalu, tagged as “proposed alteration to the provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
According to Uzodimma, the clamour for justice and equity showed that Igbo wanted to be part of the decision making in the country.
The governor said: “For us as true leaders, genuinely committed to the Igbo question, the question agitating our minds is. What exactly does Igbo seek from Nigeria? Without sounding simplistic, what we seek is justice and equity. When we talk of restructuring or devolution of power, we are talking actually about having an environment created for us to unleash our potential and talent without let or hindrance. We are also talking of being treated equally like every other part of Nigeria. More importantly, we are talking about being part of the decision-making process in Nigeria. It means we are not talking of domination or secession.”
“In my mind, Ndigbo are better off being part of the larger Nigeria with vast opportunities opened to us than being confined in a separate space with limited opportunity. In every part of Nigeria outside the South East, we form the second largest population. As an itinerant group, we move around to expand our economic frontiers. As citizens of Nigeria, we are afforded that lease of Life. Our people are suffering harassment in South Africa and Ghana and other countries. Is that what we want to bequeath to our younger generation if, in hastily contrived indignation, we abandon our heritage in Nigeria?
“So my dearest brothers and sisters, we need Nigeria just as Nigeria needs us. Whatever be our grievances against the system, we have a golden opportunity to seek redress under the upcoming constitutional review. What we seek is justice and equity for our people to thrive. And for that, we owe nobody any apology. But we cannot achieve it through violence or threat of secession. It is through an avenue like this that we put forward our request and follows it through.
“I, therefore, appeal to our youths to listen to the voice of reason. What an old man sees sitting, a child cannot see even if he climbs an iroko tree. Let us to the path of peace. All shall be well. If we remain firmly committed to the unity of Nigeria we shall get all we seek.”
In another development, the leadership of Aba state movement, led by Elder Emmanuel Adaelu, said among other things that the constitution review committee should consider the report of the committee on state creation of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide under Nnia Nwodo.
He said: “The Committee should consider the merit for the creation of Aba and Adada States respectively, resolved and recommended for the creation of Aba State, with 12 members supporting, and 5 abstaining. The Committee also recommended that any other State Creation exercise in the South-East should give Adada State priority.
“The Committee’s letter of 18 October 2018, to Governor Dave Umahi, Chairman of the South-East Governors Forum stated that Committee Chairman Professor Chigozie Ogbu and its Secretary Barrister Uche Okwukwu signed the report.
“Aba State Movement stood by the Ohanaeze Committee recommendation since all groups agitating for a State in the South East fully participated in the Committee’s work by making presentations to it.
“The Committee did a great job. It went through the tomes of documents the 11 proposed areas for state creation submitted to it. Among the documents requirements were evidence that the proposed areas had complied with constitutional requirements for state creation in Sections 8 and 9.
“We were delighted by the final recommendation Committee to the South-East Governors Forum to enable its transmission to the National Assembly through Executive Bill as promised by President Muhammadu Buhari when an Ohanaeze delegation visited the President in November 2017.
“Aba State Movement appeared at the Senate Committee on constitutional review was to present the case for the creation of Aba State which the Ohanaeze Committee confirmed in its report to the South-East Governors Forum.”
“Chief Theo Nkire, first Attorney-General of Abia State, made Aba State Movement’s presentation to the Senate Committee on constitutional review chaired by Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, former Governor of Abia State,” Ohanaeze said.