IGBO Leaders under the auspices of South East Forum (SEF) at the weekend met in Enugu with a call on pro-Biafra agitators to support the restructuring of Nigeria instead of referendum as canvassed by the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB).
Addressing newsmen shortly after their meeting at Modotel Hotel, Enugu, the President of SEF, Dr Ezekiel Izuogu, said that 70 per cent of Nigerians are for restructuring whereas only a negligible 30 per cent are opposed to it.
Dr Izuogu who briefed journalists alongside former Director-General of National Orientation Agency (NOA) Professor Ilo Amucheazi noted that there are lot of advantages accruing to restructuring if it is allowed to see the light of the day, stressing it gives room for equity, justice and fair-play in the land.
He pointed out that “If Nigeria is restructured according to the yearning of the people, it would help check the agitations and the supposed hate speeches going on presently in the country.”
“Vast majority of Nigerians are going for restructuring. Seventy per cent of Nigerians are for restructuring, while only about thirty per cent are against it.”
“Restructuring must take place. People who are organising the hate songs are the enemies of Nigeria. Anybody circulating the songs is anti-Nigeria,” Izuogu points.
“If we restructure and correct the ills in Nigeria, there will be no need for Biafra agitation and other agitations. If Nigeria is restructured, agitations will fizzle out on their own.”
Harping on the advantage of restructuring, SEF president said that if Nigeria is restructured, the federating units that make up Nigeria will be able to develop at their own pace as it was when Nigeria was running the three regional governments of North, West and East and later, Mid-West.
Speaking on one of the major issues that has been fuelling the agitation especially among the Igbo people, Izuogu noted that the West and the North have held on to the presidency for too long whereas Ndigbo have never had the opportunity even for once, safe the military era when Ironsi held sway as the military president before he was brutally assassinated.
He expressed the view that if this anomaly is addressed, it would go a long way in building unity in Nigeria because, according to him, Igbos love Nigeria dearly, citing Zik, Okpara, Ibiam as some of the Igbos that sacrificed a lot to see that Nigeria gained independence to become one united nation.
He suggested that if Nigeria should go back to the 1963 Constitution instead of the 1999 Constitution, Nigeria would be the better for it because the 1963 Constitution recognised the discreteness of each of the zones and did not give room for dictatorship but democracy.
“Let’s go back to the 1963 Constitution. The Constitution recognised the discreteness of each zone. We don’t want dictatorship, we want democratic standing. America allows states to develop at their own pace. They are enjoying democracy and we want to enjoy ours,” he said.
On President Muhammed Buhari’s medical vacation, Izuogu said that President Buhari has not violated the law by not returning to the country from his medical trip abroad. He also said that those who are demonstrating that they want to see their president return to office have the right to demonstrate because that is the beauty of democracy, pointing out that they should not be molested for demonstrating.
On the cattle grazing that has been causing trouble between the herdsmen and the farmers in Nigeria, the SEF president said that states should make laws on how cattle should be reared in their state and cited Ekiti State and some other states that have through legislation regulated the movement of animals in their state.
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