Igbo leaders, under the umbrella of Eastern Consultative Assembly, have unveiled a new political agenda for the zone, pointing out that from today, “No politician who is not in support of restructuring Nigeria will receive votes in Igbo land, from ward elections, through state and national legislative elections to governorship and presidential elections.” They added: “Our people will only vote for freedom from eternal slavery henceforth.”
This was part of the resolutions of the group at the 4th meeting of the Eastern Consultative Assembly (ECA) held at the residence of Chief (Mrs.) Maria Okwor in Independence Layout, Enugu. In attendance, as usual, were leaders of the clergy (CAN, PFN), town unions, student groups, women associations, youth organisations and traders unions. Notable Igbo elders, traditional rulers and opinion leaders were also present.
Also present at the meeting were relatives of Ndubisi Uzoma, who was beheaded by Fulani herdsmen last week in Abuja and Pastor Mike Agbahime who wept uncontrollably at the release of Dauda and co who murdered his 74-year-old wife, Bridget, in Kano in June this year. The well-attended meeting addressed myriad of problems affecting Eastern Nigeria and Ndigbo in Nigeria.
A communiqué signed by the leader of ECA, Chief Mrs. Maria Okwor, and secretary of ECA, Evang. Elliot Ugochukwu-Uko, which was released at the end of the meeting, read in part:-
“ The continued pretense by the central government, that the loss of faith in unitary Nigeria as shown by various agitations for secession can be resolved through force of arms is childish and actually paints government as unserious and insincere about the need to save Nigeria’s future. Every adult in Nigeria knows Nigeria’s survival is hinged only on a sincere restructuring of the polity along the lines of regional autonomy, anchored on true fiscal federalism according to the 1963 Constitution. Continuous delay in restructuring Nigeria only deepens the acrimony, distrusts and fears presently ruling the land
“We condemn in its entirety the release of Dauda Ahmed and co, who were charged for the brutal murder of 74 year old Bridget Agbahime in Kano, on 2nd June 2016, and urge both the Kano State Government and the Federal Government to re-arrest and retry the five murderers in order to bring to justice the killers of this woman, as earlier promised by President Buhari when the ugly incident happened. Unjust developments, like the discharge and release of her murderers only garner more converts to the secession movement and further make it difficult for our people to believe in one Nigeria.
“We also condemn the silence and non arrest and prosecution of Fulani Herdsmen who beheaded and carted away the head of citizen Ndubisi Uzoma in Iddo, airport road Abuja last week over incessant altercations with Fulani herdsmen due to the destruction of his farms by their cattle over time. Silence of the authorities over this heinous crime sends shivers down our spine, on the kind of Nigeria President Buhari is constructing and the place and future of our people in a Nigeria where our lives don’t seem to count.
“ The continuous refusal by government to set up a Judicial Commission of Enquiry as demanded by the Senate, Amnesty International and others, over the brutal extra-judicial killings of our youths, especially on 9th February, 2016 at National High School Aba and St Edmonds Catholic Church, Nkpor, on 30th May, 2016 has earned the secessionist groups more sympathy and painted government as the villain. A probe into those killings will reassures all that Nigeria is home for all.
“The current government strategy of “we have enough ammunition to deal with you people” exemplified by military operations named after all kinds of reptiles, is clearly not working. Identifying and addressing the issues that have led millions of young people to lose faith in Nigeria remains the only solution to resolving these agitations; military solution only excercabates it. The damage, the application of brute force has done to the psyche of the people is only winning the agitators more converts and more supporters daily.
“ Truth remains, these agitations for cessation, are a direct consequence of the frustrations that emanated from the mistreatment of the East in the last five decades, unjust lopsided design of Nigeria against the East in the number of states and local governments, deliberate policies of denials, oppression and isolation of the East by successive administrations both military and civilian with the active connivance of the shameless Igbo political class who were and still are only interested in picking crumbs from the masters’ tables in their blind pursuit of individual pecuniary interest, is at the root of the loss of faith by the youth of their future in this unitary Nigeria. Shying away from the truth will not help us. The younger generation who are at the receiving end of all the evils of unitary Nigeria for too long, being at the bottom of the rung of the ladder, have lost hope that Nigeria will ever treat them justly, have therefore taken their fate into their own hands. Only dialogue can bring their souls back to one Nigeria, not brute force.
“As a new awareness showily but certainly emerges from the ashes of these trying period, we warn our “leaders without followers” that their 46 years old self-centred agenda and mindless exploitation of the masses helplessness has abruptly come to an end, as they have to key in to the peoples demand of political restructuring of Nigeria, if they want to truly lead the people. They have no choice.
“No politician who is not in support of restructuring Nigeria will receive votes in Igbo land, from ward elections, through state and national legislative elections to governorship and presidential elections. Our people will only vote for freedom from eternal slavery henceforth.” (The Nation)