Elder statesman and National Leader of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Chief Edwin Clark, has described the South-East as the most disadvantaged geopolitical zone in the country.
Clark further observed that inequality in the country was fueling the ongoing agitations and dissatisfactions in various zones.
Clark spoke while addressing stakeholders at the South-South Zonal Conference with the theme, ‘Restructuring: Imperatives for Sustainable development, unity and security’ in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Friday.
The conference was organized by the Agape Birthrights, founded by the Ankio Brigs, in partnership with Savanna Centre.
Clark said: “South-East geopolitical zone has five States, while other zones, the South-South, the South-West, the North-Central, the North-East, have six States each. In fact, the North West has seven States, what injustice against a people.
“Look at the northernisation policy going on in the country. Appointments are skewed in favour of the north, in total disregard to the feelings of other areas. Key positions in the Ministries, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Customs, Police, you name it, are all given to northerners.
“There are 17 security arms, 14 of them are headed by northerners. Yet one expects that there shall be national unity. Of course, it will not be possible. There must be dissatisfaction and agitation.
“For instance, look at what is happening in the South-East today. Our critical national assets are being attacked almost every day. People are killed, maimed. While one is gravely against such a method of expressing grievance, the people are pushed to the wall.
“The South-East geopolitical zone could rightly be described as the most disadvantaged. One could not understand why the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) will be declared as a terrorist organization, while similar organizations in the North have not been so declared,” he said.
Clark’s in his address read by Chief Obiuwevbi Ominimini and National Chairman, Oil Producing Areas Association of Nigeria, said the absence of unity caused distrust, saying no nation could survive with such situation.
“Unity in this country today is unfortunately a scarce commodity despite the fact that unity is one of the four cardinal points contained in our country’s Motto, which is Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress.
“Our nation has never been so disunited, as we are today. There is so much distrust. We suspect one another’s next move. No nation can survive with such a level of distrust. And the major cause of disunity in the country today, is inequality.
“You do not expect me to live in unity with someone who is oppressing me, and treating me as though I am a second-class citizen in my own country. This is unacceptable,” the Ijaw leader stated.”
He further said the country was disintegrating following “deliberate attempts to enslave” people from other zones of the country by those who think the country belongs to them alone.
He decried the rising spate of insecurity in the North, especially the recent trend of kidnapping of school children.
He maintained that the solution to various agitations in the country was restructuring, insisting it would guarantee peace and even development.
“There is so much agitation in the country. Fortunately, there is a solution to these issues. An action that can be taken and the nation will to a large extent be at peace; and that is restructure Nigeria now,” he said.