From Chuks Onuoha, Umuahia.
Former Abia State governor, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, has said that creation of an additional state in the South-east zone, would put it on par with the other zones in the country, and help end the agitation going on now in the zone.
He said that creating the state should be part of the restructuring, which has gained currency would enable the country to move forward.
Kalu made this submission when he spoke with journalists during annual youth summit of Junior Chamber International, Ikoyi, hosted by the Orji Uzor Kalu Foundation at Camp Neya, his country home in Igbere, Bende LGA, Abia State, Kalu said that apart from media exaggeration over the IPOB/Army encounter in the state, it became obvious that the situation was getting out of hand.
The decision of the government to outlaw the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) at a time like this, he said, seems to be the only option that would guarantee stability which he said the country needs desperately at a time like this.
“I think a lot of hate speech had engulfed the country, and the matter escalated because the IPOB leader refused to abide by the terms of his bail. If he had agreed, and probably appealed against the conditions, the situation wouldn’t have gotten to this point. When two people are fighting and the court says, don’t fight, you obey the court. The court decision was not a personal decision of Justice Binta Nyako but the decision of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” Kalu explained.
He noted that when the court ordered his investigation on allegations of corruption he submitted and at the end of the day, he was to be clean.
“Some of you know what Ojukwu said here when he was alive, one day it will be made public. If we say we are marginalised, everyone is marginalised. We are marginalised because our people refuse to work. As soon as one becomes a governor or minister he buys houses in Ikoyi and abroad and the people will celebrate him.
“Remember when I was governor, the army and police used to do joint patrol. We should not box ourselves into a corner because my conscience will not allow me to do what is evil,” he said.
He noted further that all over the country, after the aborigines of any community, the Igbo would be next in population.
“The demography of this country shows that if you go to Kontagora, after the aborigines the next is the Igbo. The same with Jos, Kano, the West, name it, so we need the peace and unity of the country more than anyone else,” he said.
He said that he is of the view leaders should look forward. What I say in Nigeria is what I say anywhere in the world. The way forward for Biafra agitation to stop is to create an additional state in the South-east because the country needs stability. There is so much hatred.
Kalu said that contrary to the widely held view over Kanu’s release from detention he was instrumental in the IPOB leader’s release, but expressed disappointment that the man refused to listen to advice to soft-pedal afterwards.
The former governor and chieftain of APC, however, appealed to the Federal Government to take the issue of restructuring seriously, saying, “We have gone past going to Abuja to share money every month.”
He pleaded with the federal government to go back to the 2014 confab report. “The South East zone should have one more state,” Kalu said, lamenting that rather than discuss the interest of the zone, “some Igbo leaders go to the president with the CV of their wives and children, “but I go to him to tell him the problem of the people.”
He said the youth programme was to prove that peace was achievable and called on everyone to embrace peace for the progress and prosperity of the country.
“We need peace everywhere, we condemn hate speeches,” Kalu said. (The Sun)