The President General of the apex socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze, Prof. George Obiozor laid bare the need to restructure Nigeria to avoid consequent disintegration, if that opportunity is missed.
As a cerebral accomplished diplomat, he toed that line in a very spectacular manner but passed on the message diplomatically.
His address to the Senate Committee On Constitution Review is below.
AN ADDRESS PRESENTED TO THE MEMBERS OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE OF THE REVIEW OF THE 1999 CONSTITUTION.
AMBASSADOR PROF. GEORGE A. OBIOZOR
PRESIDENT GENERAL, OHANAEZE NDIGBO WORLDWIDE
Distinguished Senators and Members of the National Assembly, on behalf of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, I welcome you to this historic city of Owerri in the South East of Nigeria. Welcome to the South East zone and welcome to Igboland.
In our submission you will find that what Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide and Ndigbo in general are asking for are clear and simple.
Fundamentally what Ndigbo really want is some form of internal autonomy based on a restructured Nigeria.
That categorically stated we (Ndigbo) are of the view that the federation of Nigeria must be a union of equals and the composite units must have the ability to stand without begging the centre for survival. That is a federal system of government and with it characteristics of decentralization and devolution of power among the federating units.
Therefore, in the context of the imperatives and urgency of restructuring Nigeria, we should focus on getting the right things done for the right reasons, and at the right levels of government.
Indeed, what must be done and no longer what to do is to recognize that history has an iron law of seriality of which no country including Nigeria can ask for exemption or exceptionalism.
In fact, some countries are born with political tragedies waiting to happen. And our history shows that Nigeria is one of them. All signs of national tragedies foretold are present today in full force in Nigeria. In fact, it would require a restructured Nigeria to contain the present forces and tendencies towards a synchronized national crises and even a possibility of national disintegration.
Therefore as National Leaders, we must learn the lessons of history that in societies where truth comes last, tragedy comes first. And that the perennial problem or continuous dilemma in Nigerian politics has always revolves around the issues of Justice, Equity and Fairness. As I have said several times throughout history those denied Justice have had no interest in peace.
We would expect you at the end of this exercise, in the interest of the nation, its unity and progress, to conclude with decisions guided by love and not by hatred; and guided by our collective hopes and not by our fears.
Accordingly, for many Nigerians and groups,the 1999 constitution has left them with feeling like a caged lion over their relative capacities to develop their individual potentials, states and zones.
Therefore to many of these citizens across the country, states and zones restructuring Nigeria will be equivalent to releasing the lion from the cage and it can defend itself.
I wish you luck.
Ambassador Prof. George A. Obiozor
Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide