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Tinubu Wants Nigeria Repaired Now, Seeks Return To 1963 Constitution |RN

  • Rejects calls for break-up
  • Seeks return to 1963 constitution

By Omoniyi Salaudeen and Onyedika Agbedo

National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has aligned himself with those canvassing for urgent repair of the fabric of the nation, saying time was no longer on the side of Nigeria.

Tinubu, however, cautioned those agitating for the break-up of the country to tread softly, noting that taking such step “would make us more vulnerable to outside influences.”

  The former Lagos State governor spoke yesterday as Principal Guest of Honour/Keynote Speaker at the 2017 Annual Dinner of King’s College Old Boys’ Association (KCOBA) at King’s College, Lagos. He was represented by former Lagos State Commissioner for Finance, Wale Edun.

Speaking on the topic, ‘A New Nigeria or a Better One: The Fitting Tools of a Great Repair

’, Tinubu affirmed his belief in Nigeria, noting that it would become a great nation and a leader among other African nations.

He said: “I am a firm believer in Nigeria. I believe this land will become a great nation and a leader among other African nations. We can resolve our dysfunctions in a manner that will make this nation rise as a standard of decency, justice and prosperity for all Nigerians.

So many excellent people have devoted themselves, even given their very lives, to give life to this nation.  I dare not cast aside their hardy and brave work as if it were nothing. Many things we now enjoy and see as good are due to these people. We have benefited from their labour and sacrifice.  Morality and my understanding of our history will not allow me to discard such contributions to our humanity and common welfare.

  “Being more pragmatic, separating the nation into small pieces resolves nothing and creates additional problems. The world marches toward integration. Europe, America, Asia seek a trade and commercial pacts that will make them more integrated markets. Notwithstanding Brexit, the European Union (EU) grows more integrated into the functions of governance by the day. Thus, while nations more powerful and developed than us seek to pool their wealth and might, some of us seek to whittle this nation into smaller pieces.

Such a thing would make us more vulnerable to outside influences.  We would forfeit our rightful place on the world stage and as a leader of this continent.

Moreover, not every split solves a problem. The political mentality, either good or bad, that defined a group before the split will remain after the divide. If one is imbued with factionalism, that perspective will remain even when the immediate problem is surmounted. The division will manifest differently but manifest it will.

A new factional bigotry will arise to replace the old. The cycle of tension and unrest will take its inexorable toll. Just ask the people of South Sudan if their woes ended when they left Sudan.

When your heart is geared toward division, you will see it within a single tribe, even a single family.

  “Thus, I oppose talk of break-up and all other exotic political arrangements tantamount to it. That I am a foe of disunity does not mean I have blinded myself to the truth that our nation is in need of great repair.

We all see the nation for what it is. Some look further to see the nation for what it is not and they rush to condemn it.

I choose to see the nation for what it can be and thus seek to nurture and cultivate it so that this Nigeria may bring forth the fullest blossoming of its riches, resources and ingenuity of its diverse people.

We need a better Nigeria and we must move toward it with speed. Once an ally, time no longer is on our side.”

  Tinubu threw his weight behind calls for true federalism and restructuring of the country, stressing that, “it would be better to restructure things to attain the correct balance between our collective purpose on one hand and our separate grassroots realities on the other.”  He added: “Sadly, the Federal Government is now doing things the states can perform with equal dexterity and which detract the Federal Government from the key missions only it can perform.

This imbalance between the roles of the federal and state governments lies at the root of our difficulties.
To achieve better levels of overall governance, we need to re-balance the duties of the federal and state governments. The legacy of the undemocratic rule has arrogated too much power and resources to the federal at the expense of state governments. The quest to correct the imbalance is the essence of federalism I have advocated for so many years.
Due to our particular political history and its military legacy, the quality of our federalism and the quality of our democracy are intertwined. The more we repair federalism, is the more we improve democracy.
In my mind, federalism denotes a division of labour between the federal and state governments that function to maximise the benefits of governance to the people.

  “True federalism is that brand which provides that the Federal Government should focus on those few but essential things only it can provide such as foreign policy, defence, and national economic policy. Additionally, in those matters where uniform standards and requirements are appropriate, the Federal Government must take the lead.

All other matters should be left to the states. If there is doubt over a particular issue, the presumption should be that the states, not the Federal Government, should take the lead.

He continued: “Constitutionally, we are a federation of 36 states. However, the vestiges of past military rule continue to haunt the democratic road we hew. We function like a unitary state in many ways.
We cannot become a better Nigeria with an undue concentration of power at the federal level.  Many of the 68 items on the Exclusive Federal List should be transferred to the Residual List. This would be in harmony with the 1963 Constitution, again an instance of reaching back to revive something old yet more likely to give us a better Nigeria.
That prior constitution granted vast powers to the regions enabling them to carry out their immense responsibilities as they saw fit.
By virtue of the clear fact that regional governments were closer to the people, they had a better feel for the material and intangible priorities of their populations. We must return to this ideal.
Tinubu, who also touched on many economic issues, urged the Federal Government to initiate sound economic policies that would end over-dependence on oil revenue and foster the development of strategic industries that create jobs as well as spur further economic growth.

  “The Federal Government should institute a policy of tax credits, subsidies and insulate critical sectors from the negative impact of imports.

We need a national infrastructure plan,” he noted.  He stressed that the country must adhere to the values and policies that suggest that tomorrow can be made a better place than today.

“I refuse to believe we have become such an untoward lot that the longer we live together, the more estranged we become.
Just as we have gathered here today, we must gather about the national table to repair our political discourse. In this way, we begin the process leading to policies that bring civic kindness, generosity of spirit, sustainable growth, equality and peace to every Nigerian who seeks these good things. These are the pillars of a better Nigeria. By the grace and mercy of our common Creator, we shall build such pillars so that we and succeeding generations may come to build even greater things upon them,” he said.    (The Sun)

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Igbo Have More to Lose If Nigeria Breaks Up, Says Okorocha |The Republican News

Rochas-Okorocha1

•Why I never supported IPOB

Governor Rochas Okorocha believes that the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra(IPOB) should be condemned by not only the Igbo but other well-meaning Nigerians. His argument is that Nigeria would always fare better as one united country than exist under several independent entities. He made his position known in an interactive session with journalists in Owerri, the Imo State capital. WILLY EYA recorded the proceedings.

Are you going to contest the 2019 presidential election in the event that President Buhari declines to run?

My name is Owelle Rochas Okorocha and not President Muhammadu Buhari. It is only Buhari who can say whether he is contesting or not. But as far as I am concerned, President Buhari is well now as you can see. He is strong and well; he has gone to the United Nations. So, it is left for Buhari to say whether he would run or not. The man, Buhari has the character to lead this country. We should wait for him to make a statement on the issue of 2019.

What is your view on the proscription of the Indigenous People of Biafra(IPOB) and tagging it as a terrorist organization?

I have made my mind clear on this. IPOB is not good for the South East. It is not the best way to complain of marginalization to the Federal Government of Nigeria. There are better ways to do it. And if IPOB must do a thing like that, it should have changed its name from sovereignty. You can call it any name but remove Biafra. Is that the way Ijaw youths and Arewa youths fought? They would have made more impact but for everything that an Igbo man does, we want to go to the extreme. Now you want to separate yourself from Nigeria, meanwhile, the South-South would not go with you; Edo, Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and Cross River would not go with you. If they cut us here now as South East, if I need to go to Rivers, I would go and ask for passport and visa and we are all keeping quiet. These guys are kind actually. If there is a crisis, there is no Hausa man in Imo State or Igbo land who has a duplex. There is no Yoruba man who has a room and parlour or a duplex or a N20 million investment anywhere. But the Igbo have trillions of naira investments in Lagos, Abuja and everywhere and the same people are looking for secession. These people are kind. If they ask you to go now, what happens; you lose those properties to Lagos and the South West; you lose your properties in the North and so on and all of us are keeping quiet and supporting IPOB. We thought we were getting at the Federal Government. It was very childish and those who are behind these should stop. I was speaking to the Ooni of Ife and I said do you know that Hausa love Igbo people so much but the Igbo love the Yoruba a lot and the Yoruba love the Hausa a lot. Have you thought of it? Have you ever seen where an Igbo man and a Yoruba man fought and spilt blood? Give me one example in history. But they are cat and mouse. I was talking to the Ooni recently and he said that the Igbo and Hausa are the same family but they are made to become cat and mouse. Look at the situation. The South-South has produced the president, the South West has produced the President and vice. The North has produced many presidents. The hope is that by the Nigerian sharing formula, the next ship whatever arrangement, the next people that should be considered is the South East. But the South East again has created an image of danger to the rest of Nigeria that if they give them the presidency, they would secede. So, where are we in our wisdom and intelligence? You can judge especially those of us in the Diaspora who have never come home. If they discuss the Nigerian problem here, you think they have a solution to it. So, that is my position on IPOB. But my advice is that the Igbo should change their style and condemn this IPOB thing in a manner that should be done. Allow us to flow with the rest of Nigerians now because we shall benefit more than anyone else. Do you know how the Northerners feel? They feel a sense of hate. The question the Northerners would ask you is if Jonathan were in power, will the situation be the same. Believe me, the IPOB would not be at this level. I know the feeling just like I told Nigerians that the Igbo have a feeling of abandonment. But it is the same way the Northerners feel that this is an attack on their government. Wise people should have done things differently. I advised Ndigbo. Politically, you are not at an advantage; economically, you are not at an advantage. Sometimes some come to complain about non-inclusion of Ndigbo in appointments. When Ndigbo were ministers of Finance, Senate President, Secretary to the Government of the federation, Police head, what did you get? You want to hear the hard truth. The Igbo play the worst politics quote me.  They play this politics of protecting one of their own from the South-South zone. It has now become obvious and the Northerners now understand that they can become president with or without Ndigbo. Before, there was a fear about that. So Yoruba and the Hausa now understand that Kano and Lagos determine the elections in Nigeria. So, we must change our style and condemn it. If anybody joins you to praise you and raise your mind to say oh you are marginalized, the person is not helping you. We played very bad politics in 2015 and we must condemn what is happening now and find a way to re-engineer ourselves into the system.

Why did South East governors ban IPOB?

Some of us came out and made a big statement on IPOB. I condemned it from time. I have never supported IPOB. Who is Nnamdi Kanu to tell Rochas Okorocha to follow him to war? He said he was going to war. Most of the elite of the Igbo nation feel emotional about IPOB especially the clergies. I have engaged the clergies and they feel the same way.

The elite should be engaged and made to change their stand because even if you are made the president, these questions must continue to come up. There is something wrong basically. I believe that it is either that enough information is not out there or that they are not taken properly. We must teach Nigerians how to free their minds. This is because when we are communicating, some people already have a preconceived mindset. I see this as a major challenge that we have. I believe that agitation in Nigeria is a way to get more whether right or wrong. I have been to the Northern part of this country and I weep each time in some of them. When I went to Liberia some time, I saw how great Nigeria is. So, there is a need for every Nigerian to move around. This is because if you go to some of these places like Borno and some rural areas, you might come here and speak a different language. Rather than complaining, you might be organizing a fundraising to save the situation.  (The Sun)

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Python Dance Has Created More Hate For Nigeria, Nnamdi Kanu Is Not The Problem – Elliot Uko

Image result for Elliot Ugochukwu Uko

Evangelist Elliot Ugochukwu Uko is an Igbo leader. He is the Founder of the Igbo Youth Movement; the Secretary, Eastern Consultative Assembly and the Deputy Secretary, Igbo Leaders of Thought.

In this interview with DAILY POST, the outspoken Uko opens up on the momentous occurrences in South-eastern Nigeria in recent times, including the military adventure tagged Operation Python Dance II, it’s an attack on Igbo people, and other pressing national issues.

EXCERPTS:

You are in the centre of the vortex, in the midst of all these happenings in the south-east in recent weeks.. can you tell us what is going on in the south-east?

Thank you. My dear brother, I’ve refrained from giving interviews for close to 2 years now. The reason I’m yielding to talk to you is that, if I fail to present the truth, for the record, falsehood may take over space.

What is going on is that the military rolled in tanks in the eastern region in what they call Operation Python Dance, and then the centre could no longer hold. First, there were altercations in Abia State, both in Umuahia and in Aba.

And then, there were attacks on Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s residence, and then the talks between Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and the south-east governors was deliberately scuttled by this military attack on Kanu.

And then the army spokesman announced that IPOB is a terrorist organization, even though 2 days later the army, Lt. Gen. Buratai himself, said that the army does not have the power to label any group a terrorist organization.
Then, that was Friday, the south-east governors said they have proscribed IPOB.

That’s where we are at the moment. I do not know of the whereabouts of Nnamdi Kanu, but I hear all kinds of rumours, though I can’t substantiate them. Some say he’s dead, some say he’s still alive.

Others say that he was shot, that he bled, he lost a lot of blood, others say that he’s unconscious. I don’t know which one is true and which one is not, so I do not like to comment on issues I do not have facts on.

Now, as to your question, what is going on has everything to do with the decision by the federal government to stop the agitation for Biafra, to crush the agitators, and also scuttle the peace meeting Prof. Ben Nwabueze initiated with the governors.

What is going on is that the attempt by the military to scuttle the peace process is largely successful. Nnamdi Kanu became afraid and told me that rumours said that he would be killed if he makes his way to the meeting in Enugu.

From all indications, I think he was probably right. I do not know why the military will scuttle the meeting between Nnamdi Kanu and the south-east governors.

They might have their reasons, but I do not know. Prof. Ben Nwabueze and Nnamdi Kanu and I met with the south-east governors 20 days ago, Friday, 30th of August, 2017 at the Government House, Enugu, and that meeting was largely successful.

At that meeting, the south-east governors made it clear to Nnamdi Kanu that they want him to tone down the agitation, tone down his language, allow the Anambra election to go on, and then look for peaceful ways to express the grievances of his people.

Nnamdi Kanu agreed to all they said but pleaded that they give him a week or two to consult with the leadership of IPOB and that he would like to bring the leadership of IPOB to the next meeting so that he would not look as if he has sold out the group, and the governors agreed.

Nnamdi Kanu said that if, at this first meeting, he makes any concession, that both his followers and the general public would believe he has been paid off, or that he has accepted some payment and sold away the struggle.

That it would be best if he goes back, consults with the IPOB leadership, brings them to the next meeting, and collectively an agreement will be agreed.

The governors agreed completely. Prof. Ben Nwabueze who brokered the meeting pleaded with Nnamdi Kanu to, one, allow Anambra election to go on and, two, allow election to hold in the east in 2019, to which Nnamdi Kanu agreed, but said that he would make that pronouncement at the next meeting, with his leadership flanking him, so that he does not seem to be a dictator and he does not give the impression that he took the decision all by himself, giving room for the speculation that he has been bought over.

Everybody agreed. So the governors said that they would read a communiqué that Nnamdi Kanu agreed that his demand for a referendum and his demand to restructure Nigeria are not absolute. Nnamdi Kanu agreed that his demands are not absolute, meaning that he would have a change of mind.

So we all dispersed, hoping that at the next meeting on 15th of September, Nnamdi Kanu would come with his leadership and then the governors would accept Nnamdi Kanu’s decision that the elections would go on, both in 2019 and the Anambra election, and that the governors would ask Mr President to begin the restructuring of Nigeria.

Nnamdi Kanu insisted that the restructuring should be along the 1963 constitution, not merely devolving powers to the states.

What followed later?
We dispersed. Within that intervening period of 10 days between the first meeting and the scheduled second meeting, the army now altered all the permutations, now changed everything, by moving into the east with military equipment, by attacking Nnamdi Kanu’s residence, by shooting into his house, and everything changed.

So whether this was planned by the government to scuttle the peace meeting, I do not know, but this is what happened. I was in the meeting. I, Prof. Ben Nwabueze and Nnamdi Kanu, and the south-east governors. In fact, I arranged the meeting.

Through the grace of God, I arranged the meeting. The governors called me, and I pleaded with Nnamdi Kanu, and he agreed, on the condition that either Prof. Ben Nwabueze or Archbishop Anthony Obinna would escort him to the meeting.

And Nnamdi Kanu came to the meeting. So what is going on is that there is a desire by certain people in government to use military might to crush the agitation. Whether they will succeed, time will tell.

Where is Nnamdi Kanu now?

I do not know. I have no idea. He tried to speak to me 3 days after, either on Monday or so, but the line wasn’t clear, and I’ve tried the number since then, the number isn’t going through. I do not believe in all those rumours, whether he is dead or alive. I can’t speculate on them until I have confirmation.

At the moment I can’t confirm his state, whether he is alive or not, and I can’t confirm his condition. Operation Python Dance came at a time the governors had embarked on the peace meeting with Nnamdi Kanu. Operation Python Dance was probably developed to scuttle that peace meeting.

Some people do not want that peace meeting to go on. Maybe some people didn’t like the fact that Prof. Ben Nwabueze was in charge. They believe they are superior to Prof. Ben Nwabueze, more intelligent than him, have more stature than him, and that they ought to have been the ones to lead Nnamdi Kanu to the meeting.

But Nnamdi Kanu has implicit confidence in Nwabueze, that Nwabueze would not harm the interest of our people, and Nnamdi Kanu does not have that confidence in those people who are angry that they are not the ones leading Nnamdi Kanu to the meeting.

Therefore, they want the army to shoot and scatter everything. Confidence is very important in whatever thing you do in life. Nnamdi Kanu has confidence in Prof. Ben Nwabueze.

He does not have that kind of confidence in those other people who are angry that they are not the ones leading the talks, and who will do anything in their power to spoil the talks because they are not the ones in charge. What is going on is a struggle.

Some people do not want Nigeria restructured. They believe that if Nigeria is restructured they will lose their pre-eminent position, where they control the polity and determine the fate of 186 million Nigerians.

They do not want Nigeria restructured because the unjust unitary structure favours them. Those people see Nnamdi Kanu as the greatest agent for change, as the greatest catalyst for change. They see Nnamdi Kanu as the man who has done more to make restructuring possible. Therefore they want him to pay with his life, they want him dead.

Those people were frightened that the restructuring gain has caught on everywhere, from the middle belt, from the oppressed peoples of north-east and north-west, south-west-the Ibadan Declaration, not long ago, the south-south, the south-east.

Everywhere the restructuring breeze is sweeping. So the enemies of restructuring believe Nnamdi Kanu is responsible for instigating the restructuring breeze to be blowing everywhere.

So they conclude that he has to pay with his life. They will tell you, after all, they killed Abiola and nothing happened. They will boast that if they kill Kanu that nothing will happen. But the truth of the matter is that this issue is not about Kanu. The issue is not about an individual.

The issue is purely about the unjust structure of Nigeria and the unhealthy state of affairs in Nigeria. The military constitution of 1999 and the unitary structure created by the military is the problem with Nigeria.

They are not working. Every other thing is, as a result, a direct fallout, of the unworkable 1999 military constitution and the unitary structure imposed on the country by the military. That is why 31 states cannot pay salaries. 23 states are owing even pensioners as well. About 11 states are owing salaries for months, especially Kogi and Imo.

That is why corruption is eating the country to death. That is why impunity, hatred, anger, divisions within the land because the unitary structure created by the soldiers is not working. Nnamdi Kanu is not the problem of Nigeria. Nnamdi Kanu is a product of the problem of Nigeria.

There are millions of angry people who do not want to have anything to do with Nigeria anymore, especially from my eastern region, where I hail from. Nnamdi Kanu only represents leadership they trust. They trust him because they believe he speaks their mind. He is not the problem.

If Nnamdi Kanu dies today, another leader will rise up, who could even be more vicious than Kanu. The problem is not Nnamdi Kanu. The problem is the unitary structure and the military constitution of 1999.

These are the problems killing Nigeria. The people who are shooting in Aba and Umuahia in Operation Python Dance know that they are only causing a distraction. They are trying to distract the population from the truth.

They know that the problem is the military constitution of 1999 and the unitary structure of Nigeria, imposed by the military. The minute President Buhari announces the formation of a committee to advise the government on how to restructure Nigeria, a committee of elders that will bring together all the past national conferences, every agitation will die down.

But some people do not want to do that. They want to use guns and bullets and armoured cars to hold onto this unitary structure, to hold this military constitution of 1999, for as long as they can. That is why they support Operation Python Dance.

Now the matter of Ndigbo and agitations. This is a very historic moment in the life of the Igbo nation. I served my leader for the last 15 years of his life, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu.

Before he passed on, he told me that the Nigeria will be restructured, that the owners of Nigeria will fight, that they will not give up without a fight. The beneficiaries of the unjust structure will not give up without a fight.

They would not agree to restructure Nigeria until blood is shed. They will do all they can to resist restructuring. Everything Ojukwu said has come to pass.

From the eastern region, where I come from, 95% of the masses are solidly behind Nnamdi Kanu. The only people who don’t like Nnamdi Kanu are the political class who are the direct beneficiaries of the unjust unitary structure and the unworkable military constitution of 1999.

The youth of the eastern region are fed up with Nigeria. Every year they sit for JAMB. Over 700,000 of them sit for JAMB. In the 5 south-east states, over 80% of them will score marks over 130, over 120, over 100, but they will not get admission, because the cut-off mark of their region is higher, at 130-plus.

They will watch and see some states in the north that have only about 5,000 JAMBites, and they have the cut-off mark of 10, 15, 20, and all of them will get admission. So those young men and women, they see IPOB as the only way of escape.

They believe Nigeria hates them with passion, and they desire a country of their own. They chose Nnamdi Kanu as their leader because they agree with what he tells them. If Nnamdi Kanu dies today, millions of his followers will find another leader.

The solution to the anger among the youth of the eastern region is not sending soldiers in Operation Python Dance to shoot at them and kill them in cold blood. The solution lies in consensually restructuring Nigeria along the line of true fiscal federalism, anchored on regional autonomy.

That, and that alone will solve the problem. Everybody knows that, but some people believe they can use guns and bullets to avert restructuring of Nigeria and continue to hold onto the unitary structure for as long as they can. That is the problem.

That is what is going on. And those people are emboldened because they believe that the Igbo political class will always play along with them because for 47 years the Igbo political class has always played a game of individual survival at the expense of group interest.

So the owners of Nigeria, the masters of Nigeria believe that the political class of the south-east can be easily blackmailed and intimidated to do their bidding, at the expense of the group interest, and at the expense of the very survival of Nigeria.

That is the game. That is what is going on. I was at the meeting with the south-east governors and Nnamdi Kanu told them pointedly that if the process is started today to restructure Nigeria back to the 1963 constitution, they would consider giving up the agitation, and the governors promised that they would take his message to Abuja. I was there.

While we were waiting for the feedback, Python Dance invaded the east and started shooting and killing. What I can only take out from there is that, probably, when the governors gave the message to Abuja, Abuja didn’t like that, and decided to solve the problem through guns and bullets.

I’m not sure, but that’s the only thing left for me. I think that is the case, even though Governor Umahi told me that it’s not true. Gov. Umahi, who is the Chairman of the South East Governors Forum, has been in touch with me.

We’ve spoken twice, from New York. He even told me he’s in the same hotel with President Buhari, and he even pleaded with me to assure Prof. Ben Nwabueze and Nnamdi Kanu that when he comes home he will invite them again to continue with the peace process.

But the damage done by Operation Dance has affected the confidence of the easterners. The Operation Python Dance has deepened the hatred in Nigeria. The army attack in the east, the army invasion of the east, has confirmed to easterners that they are hated and despised in Nigeria.

5, 6, 7, 8, 9-year-old children in primary school, they are now seeing the Nigerian state as the enemy. It will be difficult to convince them to ever love Nigeria. What the army is doing has deepened the hatred, deepened the division, and made it not just difficult but impossible for the children of eastern Nigeria to ever accept Nigeria as a nation.

That’s what’s going on. They are branded terrorists, like the terrorists of Catalonia and the terrorists of Scotland who are demanding justice and a state of their own.

If the people of Catalonia march in the hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions, in demand of a separate Catalonia out from Spain, people of Scotland demand theirs to the extent that they even had a referendum not long ago, they want out from the UK, nobody branded them as terrorists.

Now, the Nigerian army spokesman said that the young children of the eastern region, who have been so badly treated in Nigeria, who have been reduced to second-class citizens, who want out of Nigeria because Nigeria refused to give them justice, that they are terrorists, like the terrorists of Catalonia, the terrorists of Quebec, the terrorists of Scotland, and the terrorists of Biafra.

The problem began on the 27th of May, 1967, when Gen. Yakubu Gowon proscribed the regions and created 12 states in his Supreme Military Council, but created those 12 states and there was no Igbo man there.

The creation of those states was done without any input by Ndigbo, and the Igbo were reduced to a minority. The Igbo were fixed in 1 out of 12 states. Every other state creation has continued on that format, Murtala’s of 1976, Babangida’s of 1987 and 1991, and Abacha’s state creation of 1996, all reduced Ndigbo to a minority. That’s where the problem began.

And Gowon is in his 80s. He’s still alive and he knows there’s a lie going on, that it was Ironsi that proscribed the regions. And Gowon is keeping quiet, going around praying.

Gowon has refused to tell the younger generation the truth, that it was he, Gen. Gowon, his announcement of 12 states that proscribed the regions. Ironsi did not proscribe the regions.

Ironsi merely passed the Unification Decree, that the regions were no longer semi-independent like they were because Ironsi suspended the 1963 constitution.

But then Ironsi left the regions the way they were. In fact, by May 27th, 1967 when Gowon created 12 states, Ironsi was dead! It was Gen. Gowon who proscribed the regions, and the only thing that can save Nigeria now is to go back to the regions, go back to Nigeria the way the regions were before Gowon proscribed the regions on 27th May 1967.

And every effort and attempt to take Nigeria back to that 1963 constitution are being thwarted by the beneficiaries of the current, unjust, unfair unitary structure.

That’s the problem of Nigeria. The people who gave the order for soldiers to go and shoot Nnamdi Kanu, they know in their heart that restructuring Nigeria is the only solution to the problem.

It’s just that it’s not convenient for them. But Nigerians are no fools. Restructuring Nigeria is inevitable. Everybody knows that Nigeria must be restructured.

You see, I was a kid, watching television with my father, in the early 80s, when Margareth Thatcher, UK Prime Minister, called the African National Congress a terrorist organization, and said that Nelson Mandela was a terrorist.

I was also alive to see the Nelson Mandela the UK called a terrorist, to see him hosted in London on his 90th birthday, and erect a statue in his honour. And I saw Presidents and Prime Ministers, Kings and Queens, attend the funeral of a man they called a terrorist.

And the ANC that Margareth Thatcher called a terrorist organization, it has been the ruling party in South Africa for the past 25 years. You see, my brother, the truth of the matter is that Nnamdi Kanu has done more than any other person to bring Nigeria closer to restructuring than any other being, and the attempt to eliminate him is out of anger of his great achievement.

It’s a great achievement. My leader, Prof. Ben Nwabueze, and the late Chief Anthony Enahoro, and the late Chief Rotimi Williams, in the Patriots, they would cry and shout, 2, 3 times a year, they would shout to restructure Nigeria. They would jump and shout, for more than 30 years now, people have been shouting to restructure Nigeria.

It was Nnamdi Kanu’s activism in less than 2 years that brought restructuring from the realm of speculation and brought it into the realm of reality, that made it so imperative that every section of Nigeria has set up a committee on restructuring, including the northern governors, including the APC.

Everybody is setting up a committee on restructuring. Nnamdi Kanu has changed Nigeria forever. Nigeria will never be the same again, thanks to Nnamdi Kanu. The anger of those who want him dead is a reality of the great and noble achievement of Nnamdi Kanu. And if you look at it imperatively, you can’t blame Kanu.

If the stubborn owners of Nigeria had agreed to restructure Nigeria before, there would never have been an IPOB, there would never have been Nnamdi Kanu. So many attempts have been made to restructure Nigeria, the same cabal will kill it. 12 years ago, 2005 conference in Abuja, everything was agreed, voted and agreed.

They even agreed to give the south-east an additional state, and to have the rotational presidency, everybody agreed to that, and so on. One person inserted his 3rd term, and when Nigerians rejected his 3rd term bid, he killed the report of that conference.

3 years ago, Dr Jonathan organized a very large conference. Some people, who hired international publicists to help them bulldoze back to power, took the report and kept it in the archives, and said they would use gun and bullets to hold Nigeria through Operation Python Dance.

Every effort to restructure Nigeria, the same cabal have resisted it. They prefer to hold onto this unjust structure, to hold onto this unfair military constitution for as long as they can. That is the problem of Nigeria.

Everybody in Nigeria, including primary school children, they know that if President Buhari announces today that he will set up a committee of eminent elders to bring together all the past national conferences, to begin the restructuring of Nigeria, all the agitations you hear here and there will die down immediately.

But the oppressors, the owners of Nigeria, do not want to do that. They want to use terror, guns, bullets, army, military, Operation Python Dance, and so on, to hold Nigeria. My name is Elliot Ugochukwu Uko.

I formed my first group in 1981, the Igbo Youth Movement, as a teenager, at D’Elmina Restaurant, number 12 Adelabu Street, Uwani, Enugu. for the past 36 years, I’ve been dealing with Igbo youths.

For the past 36 years, I’ve been organizing seminars, conferences, and conventions for Igbo youths, for the past 36 years, unbroken.

Some of the youths I addressed 25, 30 years ago, some of them are governors, senators, legislators, ministers. Today I can tell you that agitation for Biafra would never die down, never.

No amount of military attack or invasion will stop it until Nigeria is restructured. I have had the great privilege to take Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, my late leader, to my events, to IYM conferences in Abakaliki, in Aba, in Owerri, in Onitsha, in Nnewi, and I would take Ojukwu to the IYM conference at Peoples Club hall, Ajao Road, Surulere this week, and then the following week I would take Ojukwu to another event in Aba.

The people in Aba would say the same thing the traders in Lawanson told us a week earlier, without meeting each other. They would tell us that they are tired of Nigeria, that everything in Nigeria is skewed against them, that they prefer to be on their own, in a separate state of their own, that Nigeria hates them with passion.

I’ve organized conferences and seminars for Igbo students for over 25 years, in all the tertiary institutions. Some of the people I’ve addressed in IYM conferences in the 1990s, they are today bankers and big managers in society.

When I walk into a bank in Lagos I will see a manager telling me, ah, oga Elliot, good afternoon, you came to address us at Oko Polytechnic in 1995. I know that the Igbo younger generation will never accept Nigeria the way it is. It’s impossible.

The blood will continue and continue until it gets out of hand because I know that the way Nigeria is structured is killing everybody.
Everything is skewed against the Igbo youth, and they want out.

The only way to save Nigeria is to restructure Nigeria. The people creating crises everywhere are those who resist the restructuring of Nigeria.

Operation Python Dance was set up to stop the restructuring of Nigeria. Because they know that Nnamdi Kanu, more than anybody else, has created awareness, has awakened consciousness for the need to restructure Nigeria.

Nnamdi Kanu’s agitation and activism have made so many people from all the six geopolitical zones, to understand the great need to restructure Nigeria.

Nnamdi Kanu’s biggest achievement is that history will remember Kanu as the man who restructured Nigeria. Whether they kill him or not, whether he’s alive or not, Nnamdi Kanu has already changed Nigeria forever.

Nigeria will never be the same. I have had the privilege to speak with Nnamdi Kanu and plead with him to tone down his agitation. He would always ask me, what has the federal government conceded?

If the federal government conceded something, we have over 172 litanies of injustice against us, the federal government has not conceded one.

They’ve not agreed to restructure Nigeria, they have not agreed to give us additional state, they have not agreed on Igbo President, they’ve not conceded anything. They are only trying to use the money, offer money to stop the agitation.

Nnamdi Kanu’s problem is that the federal government has refused to begin the process of restructuring Nigeria.

Nnamdi Kanu agreed in principle. I, Prof. Ben Nwabueze and Nnamdi Kanu, in the presence of the south-east governors, that if the government begins the process of restructuring Nigeria back to the 1963 constitution, he will stop the agitation today.

He said so twice in my presence. Prof. Ben Nwabueze is a witness, and I am a witness.
The next thing we saw is Operation Python Dance.

So, the problem really, really, is not Nnamdi Kanu, the problem is those who have made sure that Nigeria will not survive.

The unitary structure makes it impossible for Nigeria to grow. 40 million unemployed people, high crime rate, states can’t pay salaries, a weak economy, hunger, poverty, division, hatred. The country is crippled and yet every effort to restructure Nigeria, the same cabal that has held Nigeria hostage said they would not restructure Nigeria.

Now they are blaming Nnamdi Kanu for the problem of Nigeria, Nnamdi Kanu is not the problem of Nigeria. The problem of Nigeria is those who refuse to restructure Nigeria. (DailyPost)

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Stop Stoking Embers Of Disharmony, Wike Tells Lai Mohammad |RN

Nyesom-Wike

Rivers State Governor, Ezenwo Nyesom Wike

From Tony John, Port Harcourt

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has urged Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, to stop stoking embers of disharmony and divisions in the polity with his utterances and allegations against members of opposing political parties.

The governor stated this yesterday, while declaring open the 13th All Nigeria Editors’ Conference (ANEC) 2017, in Port Harcourt, and gave reasons why Nigeria is in crisis

“We are only pretending; we think all is well with our country. The country is in crisis as poor governance, nepotism, marginalisation and state-sponsored repression continue to do violence to national unity and cohesion.

“At times like this, the country needs forthright leadership to steer the ship of state from the wrong direction it is headed, to safer grounds. Nigerians of goodwill must, therefore, call the minister of Information to stop stoking embers of disharmony and divisions in the policy, with his utterances and allegations against members of opposing political parties.”

The governor pointed out that by his (Mohammed) utterances, the minister allegedly implied that it was the then opposition which sponsored Boko Haram operations during the administration of former President, Goodluck Jonathan.

He said clamour for political restructuring, fiscal federalism, state police and guarantee for free and fair elections, have never been determined across the country.

The governor said the call would never go away, and pointed out that it was becoming clearer by the day, that to ignore the call is pretentiously dangerous to the unity and peaceful co-existence of the country.

Said Wike: “For some of us, therefore, there is nothing nobler than being counted on this path and as long as God gives us breath, we shall remain in the trenches, fighting for our democratic rights and freedoms, until victory is achieved.

“But, we also believe that this is a fight that should and must be led by the media, for full effect and agenda setting. This calls for greater vigilance and courage in giving effective voice to the contending issues and taking personal responsibility for factuality. It cannot be otherwise.”

He regretted that despite the monumental achievements of his administration, the opposition in the state has continued to undermine development, with tacit support from the Federal Government and a politically-inclined police.

“Therefore, when a supposed opposition goes beyond the bounds of decency, in conjuring lies to rubbish and undermine every effort of ours to serve and advance the progress of the state, then, the media owes society the duty to investigate and expose their mischievous intentions with the facts at their disposal.

“At any rate, those who live in glass houses, they say, should avoid throwing stones. As our representatives in the federal government, are they not responsible for attracting development projects to Rivers State?”

Thereafter, the governor outlined the achievements of his administration.

Earlier, in her address, President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, Mrs Funke Egbemode, said this year, editors would focus on how to reinvent the journalism profession and make it profitable for practitioners and society.

She said: “This year, it is all about us, our profession,  our fate and our economy,  as we navigate the testy thirsty waters that threaten to sweep us into a fast-moving current. ANEC is for us to assess where we are and find a way to safety.

“Ours is a besieged and beleaguered industry. Both the profession and the professionals are not in a good place right now. The recession may be receding in other sectors, but, in the media, it is not. 

“Our recession predates the nationally-recognised one. We have been in a bad place for a long time and, right now, we can feel the ground shift under our shaking legs. 

“Other sectors get intervention funds and bailouts but, what do we get? We are constantly reminded of our social responsibility and our roles in national security.”  Chairman of the conference, Mallam Ismaila Funtua, in his opening remarks, urged editors to promote professionalism for the good of the country.

Publisher of ThisDay Newspapers, Prince Nduka Obiagbena, called on media managers to develop strong brands to overcome the challenge posed by the existence of the social media.

The 13th editors’ conference has as its theme: “Balancing professionalism, advocacy and business.”

Hundreds of editors, from the 36 states of the Federation are in Port Harcourt, for the three days conference.

Meanwhile, Wike has said investments in science research institutions would help revive the country’s economy. 

Wike said this during a courtesy visit by the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, at Government House in Port Harcourt, yesterday.

The governor said a diversified economy would create employment opportunities for the people.

“We must sustain the development of technology for the growth of the country. I urge that we begin to use research reports from science institutes to attain the desired growth.

“The development of relevant machinery and equipment will help create jobs locally and enhance the economy.”

The governor commended the minister for establishing the Chemical Equipment and Machinery Development Institute in Port Harcourt.

He said the minister had exhibited maturity by siting the project in the state, pointing out that other ministers would have been influenced by political considerations.

Wike directed the Administrator of Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority to liaise with the Ministry of Science and Technology for the allocation of land for the institute.

Earlier, Dr Onu said the institute is part of the process to build a knowledge-based economy that would sustain the country and added that over-reliance on oil and gas has made it difficult for the country’s economy to grow, in view of emerging realities.

“The decision has been made to make Nigeria an innovation-driven economy. We are determined to work hard to ensure this succeeds.

“If there is a problem with oil, we will still strive,” said Onu.

For us to do this, we need to build capacity, look inwards and use our natural resources in ways that will improve our economy.”

The minister said the state plays important role in the chemical and petrochemical sector of the nation’s economy.

“We want the institute to be a centre of excellence in the chemical and petrochemical sector of the nation’s economy. The results of the research will be available to the private sector. We will be in a position to grow our economy,” he said.  (The Sun)

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2019: Governors, Others Want Buhari To Contest For Selfish Reasons – Shehu Sani

Buharinotalert3

By Ismail Omipidan

Senator Shehu Sani, representing Kaduna central senatorial district on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has said political elites who are already mounting pressure on President Muhammadu Buhari to seek a second term are doing so for selfish political gains.

Without Buhari running in 2019, he noted, the political elites, most of whom are serving APC governors, who, like Buhari, are also serving their first terms, would lose political relevance which may signal their political demise.

Following the revelation by the Women Affairs Minister, Hajia Aisha Alhassan, that she won’t be supporting Buhari for the presidential race in 2019, should he decide to run, Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, who was the first governor to visit the Presidential Villa after the outburst, told Nigerians that they would do everything within their means to ensure Buhari runs again. He told journalists at the villa that, “we have a group. We have Buharists amongst governors and ministers. Our group wants to ensure that President Buhari runs in 2019. Our political ideology is to support whatever President Buhari wants to support. If he chooses not to run, he will tell us which direction to go.

“We are Buharists, we don’t have any personal ambition, we don’t have any personal aspiration and we are waiting for him to decide. And we are making every political effort and creating every structure to achieve this.”

But in an apparent reference to that position, Sani, in his usual characteristic manner, took to his Facebook page yesterday, to lampoon those putting pressure on Buhari to run. He said the decision to run or not, lies solely with Buhari, stressing that the president has been in politics long enough to take that decision.

Sani said the ordinary Nigerians, who want Buhari to run again in 2019, are doing so out of genuine love and desire for the president to lead them to the promised land. He said although the country still needs the president’s service, it is, however, up to the president to decide, if he is “willing and fit” to continue beyond 2019. 

“Whether Baba (Buhari) will seek reelection or not remains his individual decision to make.

He is old enough and has been in politics and government longer than anyone in his party or cabinet as to know what to do and the right time to do it.

“He is in the best position to decide what he wants. The nation still needs his services, but it’s still up to him to decide if he is willing and fit to provide more or not. The political elite, in their habit, is pressure cookers and they see Baba (Buhari) as a meal and a mill.

“Baba (Buhari) is a good driver who has driven for a long distance and so much cherished by his passengers; whether he is willing to cover more distance is best decided by him. Every leader chooses his seat and space in the ship of his and his country’s history. The reasons the masses want Baba (Buhari) to continue is not the same as the reason the elites want him to seek reelection. The former see him as a good force who should continue to lead them to the land of their dreams or the promised land; the latter see him as the lifebuoy for their political survival and relevance,” Sani declared.           (The Sun)

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Ojukwu, Biafra And What He Should Have Done Now – Debe Ojukwu (Son)

Debe-Ojukwu

Chief Sylvester Debe Ojukwu

By Chidi Obineche

Chief Sylvester Debe Ojukwu is the eldest son of the late Biafran leader Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu. A lawyer and ex-senior police officer, he speaks on the fledgeling agitation for the actualization of Biafra, his father’s  Biafra and dreams, the challenges of Nigeria’s nationhood among other contemporary issues. Excerpts 

With the closeness you had with your father, how do you think he would feel with all these agitations going on now if he were alive?

With the benefit of hindsight, I believe he would temper it. He would temper it in the sense that he would not want it to claim lives and damage property. We shouldn’t forget one thing; nobody nurtures a child and kills the child. Biafra is the child of my father, he nurtured Biafra, he was the first to nurture Biafra. So there is no way you would mention Biafra and he would tell you no, I don’t know anything about Biafra because he was Biafra.

The Biafra of his days was circumstantial, don’t you think that this new Biafra sprung up because of certain exigencies and circumstances of the moment?

Now, if you say the new Biafra sprung up because of some inadequacies and misapplication of powers in the nation, nonetheless it is still Biafra.

But would he have cautioned or advised the leaders of the new movement, especially Nnamdi Kanu to go about it in a different way?

That’s why I said he would have tampered it, he would have cautioned the people to raise their voices gently and not in an explosive manner as we are currently witnessing. He would have spoken against hate speeches and things like that because nobody has a monopoly of hate speeches; it’s something that comes with chain reactions and change. If you abuse somebody unless that person has a lot of restraints, that person is likely to abuse you back and when the person abuses you back, and you say no, the tendency is to look for something stronger to tell him. That is how hate speeches degenerate into open conflict. He would have cautioned them.

In your own view, what do you dislike about the way the agitations are going?

It’s the seeming disregard for the rights of others. If you agitate, fill up the roads, block the roads, you are impeding on peoples right of movement, you are trampling on the rights of others. I have always said that.

Apparently, you are referring to the sit at home order of May 29, 2017, which was successful, but they did not come out, neither did they stop people from moving around.

Well, the sit-at-home was successful. Initially, I sued for peace on that; I said it’s better for people to be laid back and not to fill up the roads and all that. If you are protesting peacefully, you can go to the stadium, you can go to a public place,  get a police permit to do that and then get the media houses to record you and expose it to the whole world for viewing.

What do you have to say about the carnage that has attended the protest so far, because a good number of people in ( Indigenous People of Biafra) IPOB have been killed in cold blood?

This is a carnage that could have been avoided; it could have been avoided by not unleashing them on the roads, because when they throng the roads, the law enforcement agencies, the police, the army have the power to maintain peace and protect the citizens as their actions may harm them.  The law is very clear that when more than 10 people are gathered in a place and the gathering is in such a way that  innocent bystanders would start feeling that they are so gathered in order to disturb the peace of the people, they have the powers under the law to ensure that the gathering is in no way harmful and disruptive of their freedom.

There have been a lot of insinuations, especially from IPOB that they want a breakup of the country and they are moving towards it. Don’t you think that the way Nnamdi Kanu is going about it is well with the people?

It depends on who the people are. If you say that his crowd is so copious, yes it is. But if you look closely, they were all wearing jerseys, they were all in uniforms. Who told them to wear jerseys? Who told them that a particular event was going to take place in a particular place? It shows you that it was something that was premeditated. It’s like a rally of PDP, it’s like a rally of APC. We are going to do a rally for the government, all of you should assemble here and because of certain relationships and grievances they had, the turnout became impressive. It’s  like calling for a meeting; group A, you are to appear here, and everybody appears and when you appear, part of that appearance is that you must wear the uniform. When my father was going to Aba, they were not all wearing uniforms, it was spontaneous and it was the spontaneity that was exciting. You would see it and feel it, you don’t go about coercing people to come. This was like a rally and actually, it was properly called a rally. It was not like you walked into the town and people said oh we like this, and trooped out to hail and behold you. That is when you appreciate that the people are behind you. It is not when you coerce the people to come, it is not when you force them out. For instance, if you go and administer the oath to the people and tell them that whatever we do, you would be part of it. When I looked at the footage, I saw uniforms and once they were wearing uniforms, it was no longer the people who voluntarily came out. It was now like a formal meeting of a set of people because people don’t wear uniforms to such events. They don’t.

But does the mammoth crowd not suggest that the membership is very huge?

Painfully, the membership is huge and it depends on where the membership is coming from. If you put about twenty luxury buses in different places, a lot of people will come in and still claim membership of the organisation. It may not be the people in the particular place you are addressing. You may have people from different places because they want to advance their cause. What I believe is, for instance, when my father was still alive, he didn’t go about calling meetings. If he wanted to meet people, the information would disseminate like wildfire and people would proclaim excitedly from the rooftops that Ojukwu is here and people would leave whatever they were doing and rush out.That’s who he was, I have never known him to start planning certain things like this. If there was to be a rally, we would attend his rally, but apart from that, the other things were very spontaneous. It is when you receive appreciation from the people, such love that you can boldly say that the people are happy with you.

With the way things are going now, would you say that your father has gotten a natural successor in Kanu?

Well, it’s is not my place to say that. It is still ongoing and it would take time. The reality behind it is that, as at today, there is no Biafra. So with that reality, you can’t just say that this is Biafra land, you are still in a territory.

Your father failed to groom a successor, that’s why we are having this crisis of succession now. Do you think his shoes are too big for Nnamdi Kanu?

Like I told you, I cannot go into that, I’m not saying his shoes are too big or not and I cannot subscribe to the notion that my father failed to groom a successor. At a point,  he always said he had no successor. He said he had a good plan but that he was looking for a successor.

He never saw the person?

He never saw the person. Again, my father was not groomed. He matured into that position. So another person, who is clamouring to be like him would also mature into it. It’s not a personal property for him to dispense and gleefully talk about.

Looking at the people now, especially from the South-east who are complaining of so many inequities, Biafra is like a very sweet sound to their ears. What kind of Nigeria do you want that can at least quell the fire in the agitations?

I would sue for an equitable Nigeria, Nigeria of justice, Nigeria of equality, a progressive Nigeria. You see, there is something about living together. I always go to the North. I’m a lawyer. When there is conflict, the courts in their wisdom in order to arrest the explosive situation say; maintain the status quo ante- belum. Now that we have all these pockets of discontent, what is the status quo ante belum? The status quo, before we started having our divisions? We started having our divisions after the 1963  Constitution. So I think that the best thing for us to do is to go back to that 1963 Constitution because it was at that time that the rapacious incident of the military tampering with our constitution started. If we go back to 1960 because that was where the strife started up to 1963 constitution,  we can douse the tension.  

We were operating the regions, everybody started talking, but after that, it was in 1966 that the problem started and continued.  And it continued until this day. That is why you have people saying restructuring, resource control and all that can bring about peace and progress. But if we go back to 1963 Constitution and say that these are the regions, and we move back into the regions, the tension will be defused. If there is any ethnic nationality that wants to go for self-determination, they would do that. The procedures are there. So that is what I feel it should be.

You are a member of IPOB. Between Biafra and a restructured Nigeria, which would you pick?

Ultimately, I would vote for Biafra, but presently I would look for a restructured Nigeria.The house is leaking, the family is worried, there is the father, there is the mother and there are the children. Do you say woman go back to your house, man go back to your home? No, you try and mend fences firstly, and that is the focus of restructuring. You restructure the house because the house is leaking, the home is a structure, you mend it. What is happening? Maybe the bedrooms are too small, there is no freedom, no space to navigate. That means you should expand certain things to make people feel comfortable. you say okay, this man or woman, the allowance that I have been giving you every month is not enough, you increase it. It is after you have done that, that you take that motion and that is when a referendum would come in. How many of you actually want out? Is it the uniformed people that want out? What of those who are wearing suits, have you counted them? If you look at the numerous crowds there, to create a semblance of unanimity, you make things easier by ceding some powers to the federating units.  You involve everyone in the house. It is the major crowd, no doubt, but that is not all the crowd. What have all the members of the family said? It is then you can now appreciate what the crowd has said, and then you can confidently say that this is what the whole people want. 

Why do you think that the leaders of Nigeria are not keen on restructuring the country?

It’s because of the advantages they have.

What are the advantages?

For instance, if you feel that a school certificate holder from your place can get a  good position within two years and the other people would think that you used 15 years to get that post, you would like to maintain the status quo, because, it is to the benefit of your people. Those set of things like that. For instance, the current discourse is on the cut off marks for JAMB ( Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board) and all that.Those things are things that none has been very suspicious of, and somebody who is benefiting would not like to give up. How did this benefit come about? The benefit came about because of the civil war we had. The civil war upset so many things. I know that during the civil war when Enugu fell and the Federal Government was trying to set up a government for the town. They were looking for just anybody and that concept is happening now. The person they engage may not have the qualification and capacity for the position but he has to be taken. And he knows that the position is something that a PhD holder elsewhere would be finding it difficult to get. So if you tell him; see, you have to vacate that place, he would fight with everything he has. But because of the problem we are having, it would be in the interest of all to go back to that 1963 Constitution. That’s the wisdom.

Go back to what?

1963 Constitution in order to avoid secession. That is where our problems started from, we should go back there. Then, we had palm kernels, we had cocoa, we had groundnut, now everybody goes and make your money with your resources. If you have oil, you use your oil.  The oil that is now the beautiful bride, do you know that projections in the US and other civilized countries are saying that by 2040 there would be no need for it.

Who would you blame for this wave of agitations in the country.? Is it the military class or the political class? Who are the ones behind this crisis?

Nobody is to be blamed. Everybody is to be blamed. The military incursion brought in a new system. So, if the military had not come we would not be having this issue.

The Igbo are said to be stubborn. Maybe that’s why there is an unwritten rule to exclude them from governance which is believed to be the reason for the clamour for Biafra now.

The Igbo are not troublesome.

That’s the general view of some people.

I disagree with that. The Igbo are very Republican, they are not troublesome.The only thing with the Igbo is that they want to ascend, they want to progress and you cannot hold somebody who wants to progress and then dismiss the person on the platter of being troublesome. They want to ascend and everybody wants to progress. So what is there is that you should give them that latitude. There are so many things that are written and there are also things that can be done.  Some people are acting and giving the impression that an Igbo man should not lead this country. There is no agreement that can be determined that an Igbo man should not rule this country. It is left for us to play our card well. It is when we play our cards well that we would get results. You see, so many things happened. For example, when we had the June 12, 1993, presidential election, Abiola, in reality, won the election but was not allowed to assume the office.

The Yoruba people in their natural diplomacy were able to pursue it strongly and when preparing to go over that crack, they then had Obasanjo who had eight years of presidency and even anointed his successor. The succeeding government was his own. That is what you get in navigating diplomatically. It is not by being aggressive. If you get a dog and the dog is always barking, the next thing is to get a vet. That is when the classification of dogs come in and when there is a classification of a mad dog, the next thing for you is to get a vet to give it some injections in order to sedate the dog. So, that’s the way it goes.

Beyond restructuring and secession, do you think Nigeria has any hope for unity?

If they will by tomorrow go back to the 1963 Constitution, it’s fine. The South-east is vulnerable and that is what most Nigerians don’t seem to know. In 1970, they shouldn’t have left the South-east. They should have remained in the South-east, in that enclave where they were between 1967 and 1970. When the war ended, if they had that zeal to be on their own, they shouldn’t have gone out, everybody should have been there. They should have stayed back doing their businesses.  But they left for China, everywhere doing their importations, building houses and other businesses in foreign lands with warehouses everywhere. All what we are doing now would have been done since, but because we started staying abroad, outside our land as if there is something in our land that is driving us away we are not being accorded our deserved respect and position in the scheme of things. That is the base because someone with too much property cannot run away. The more acquisitive you become, the slower you get in leaving a place.

The Igbo were asked to quit the North by the Arewa youths on October 1 this year. It looks like a replication of what happened in 1966 when they were also ordered out of the North. There was a massive war. With the benefit of hindsight and the problems Nigeria has now, do you think the Igbo should leave the North to avoid being slaughtered out there?

I don’t think the Igbo should leave.

Why? Their hosts have told them to leave?

They are not their hosts. They’ve made investments in the North. If they are to leave and the government is bent on that, with all their buildings and other acquisitions they should compensate them; this is your house and this is how much we would pay, go home and so- so -so time you would come back. You can’t come up and give somebody eviction. You gave the person a plot of land, then the person develops it and all that, and you tell the person to go. Where is the tenancy agreement?

Okay, you are banking on the tenancy agreement?

Yes, there is no tenancy agreement. You can’t lure somebody into your place, give him land and he develops the land and is doing very well, then all of a sudden you say I’m giving you three months for you to go. How long has the person been there? If you are a tenant in a person’s house and you are paying yearly, you must stay six months. You’ve been paying 10 years, at times you get about two years notice. There must be time for relocation.

Are you saying that the time limit is short?

I’m saying that they cannot go because they have investments. Even if Arewa becomes a foreign country, people can buy houses in foreign countries now. There are some Igbo who have houses in London. That’s why I am so much in love with the  IPOB ( i.e. our own IPOB) political, diplomatic and legal way that they are using in going about the actualisation of Biafra.  It’s not something you recklessly and brazenly do. It’s a process, and we are in court. When the court decides that certain things should happen, then, we know where we are going. Protests and sit ins may not be the viable vehicle for this project based on experiences of the past and the mind set of our leaders. They can do that and escape because there is not as yet a court pronouncement on it. But if the court decides that flying of Biafra flag, wearing of Biafra apparels and all that is no offence, then it becomes a different thing. That’s why you follow the legal route in doing things. 

What is the political way?  

The political way is occupying the political space. As I always say, the Igbos are not the ones ruling Igbo land.

How do you mean?

Yes, the people ruling Igbo land are surrogates. That’s why we complain of marginalization.

Surrogates of which entity?

There are some people who are enemies to Igbo progress, because if not, why would we be given money as allocation for your people and the money is not found. Then, nobody asks you about it. All this time, from 1970 till now, there have been everywhere, allocations for roads, allocations for infrastructure, somebody takes it, then escapes because he is rendering account to the overlords. For instance, when you come to Lagos, if you move about, you would see most of our boys, all these people that they have been brainwashing, they are out there hawking handkerchief or something in the traffic jam. They are doing that because nobody is taking care of them.

All the governors, all the local government chairmen and all that, they receive what is called security votes, what do they use them for? Why can’t they say, for instance, anybody that is a graduate from a local government, the moment you finish your national youth service you get employed or be receiving a social welfare stipend until you are employed. It’s not more than N50,000.

If any local government can pay all the graduates in my area that are unemployed and are employable N50,000; if you pay that sum to 1,000 people or even 100, they would be talking about something else. And I know that most of these people receive not less than N5,000,000 as security votes every month. There is no place that we have about 1000 graduates. 

IPOB says that there would be no election in Anambra state, would it work?

Well, I doubt if they can do it. It’s an invitation to anarchy. That is still what I tell them, it is an invitation to anarchy.  Why are you selling jerseys to them, if you’ve taken over? Let Igbo rule over Igbo. If you know that you are IPOB, with all letters in capitals, put an IPOB governor and it becomes a house. Put him there, after which, put an IPOB Speaker, all those things like that. Then the state assemblies go. They move all the state assemblies of Abia, Anambra, and all that, they pass away. You would no longer want to be part of Nigeria.  You make a valid resolution, a lot of people are so myopic. My father did not start Biafra as a thug. He started Biafra as the all powerful governor of Eastern Region of Nigeria.  

He was there with the authority of government behind him. He then had to make the power of government elastic, using what he had to achieve what his people wanted. When he was the chosen governor of Eastern Region of Nigeria, he had an army, there was an army division in Enugu, then the country started from there. It is not when you are a rascal, you don’t have anything, you start giving people uniforms, you say march, then somebody comes and kill all of them. You start going to United Nations and say it’s genocide, No. You prevent the genocide by making things real.  

My father was a governor of Eastern Region.He had Col Hillary Njoku, he had all these people, they were his colleagues, they were soldiers and they had colleagues on the other side who knew their capabilities, that’s how things are done. So when you then get up and put a Biafran in Biafra State House,  and he is in power, he can now say that first of all he is the Chief Security Officer of the State, and he then says to the Commissioner of Police get Abia, that is a valid order. That’s how you would get Biafra. Look at those people from Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF), they were able to articulate a letter of a process and sent it to the United Nations and went there physically. It is not telling us that they’ve sent it, no. They went there and stood there eyeball to eyeball. Our people are being evacuated, they’ve given us till October 1, to go. They tabled it before the Secretary General and other officials and it didn’t take one week the United Nations reacted. That’s is the way it should be. When you talk of Biafra civil war,  my father was a child of the academia. It was the intellectuals that started it. That was the way it was prosecuted, the ideal way. That’s the diplomatic assault and maybe in the vanguard of the diplomatic assault, we have somebody like Anyaoku who is moving. So that’s the way it should be. 

The family problems of your father, how far have they been resolved now?

Well, it’s still in court and any matter that is in court we don’t speculate about it.

How is your relationship with your father’s wife, Bianca and your uncles?

It’s okay, there is no problem, and everybody is okay.

Is there any misunderstanding in the family?

There is no problem, it’s before the court as I told you that whatever is in court we don’t start speculating about it, telling the press.

You are in charge of your grand father’s businesses, are there no interference from your family members?

There is no problem, we are in court as I told you.     (The Sun)

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Biafra: Intimidation Won’t Stop Us From Non-Violent Fight For Restoration Of Biafra, Says IPOB

From Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha 

The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) yesterday said that no amount of intimidation and propaganda against its leader, Nnamdi Kanu or members, by the Nigerian Federal Government would deter them from pursuing their legitimate and non-violent agitations for Biafra restoration.

The group condemned the use of stage managed parade of ‘criminals’ as part of a very cheap tactless propaganda by this administration to blackmail the most peaceful mass movement on earth. 

The Media and Publicity Secretary of IPOB, Mr Emma Powerful, in a statement condemned the parade of some criminals with revered insignia and the hallowed flag of the group, describing it as ‘stupid mockery’ and unintelligent of the Police command in Awka, Anambra State.

“The parade of those they termed armed robbers and cultists, will not deter us from pursuing our legitimate and non-violent agitations for Biafra restoration,” the group said in the statement.

“The entire civilised world which Nigeria appears not to be a part of are fully aware that IPOB is a non-violent movement with unprecedented following all over the world. This hopeless and shambolic attempt by this government to portray IPOB otherwise by Hausa Fulani men of the Nigerian police should be roundly condemned by all men and women of good conscience.

“As a necessary precaution, we have instructed the chambers of Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor, our lawyer, to commence legal action against Anambra State Police Command for this pathetic attempt to impugn the integrity of IPOB. The Hausa Fulani controlled Nigerian Police must know that the world is watching this latest episode in stupidity and pathetic attempt to frame IPOB. Any Nigerian with any sense of dignity must be thoroughly ashamed of what this Buhari administration is doing in their name. “Despite the fact that IPOB congregates in their millions during rallies, has it ever been reported that any person or persons lost their personal belongings? The answer is no because IPOB family members cannot even steal a common purse or wallet, not to talk of engaging in armed robbery. Rather, it is IPOB that has been at the forefront of fighting police and army criminality and banditry all over Biafraland culminating in the ‘Say No To Extortion’ campaign launched by our leader a few days ago.”

He stated that the group was well aware that Nigeria security operatives and some politicians in Anambra State were actively recruiting non-Biafrans with IPOB paraphernalia to be used to wreak havoc on unsuspecting populations with the view to tarnishing the squeaky clean image of IPOB. 

Powerful stated that only gullible Nigerians could be deceived with what he described as kindergarten antics, noting that people are more reasonable and wiser now and cannot be deceived so easily by the amateurish display by the police. He queried why the security agencies felt that they would succeed this time around when they failed so miserably when they killed five Hausa men in a forest in Okigwe and attempted to pin the murder on IPOB.

“The IPOB family under the command of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu has conducted 298 peaceful protests and rallies around the world without a single recorded incident of violence or destruction of property. Instead, it is the Nigerian Army and Police that have specialised in killing and abduction of IPOB members. “Despite all these criminal provocations, IPOB has remained peaceful and never retaliated. We shall maintain our peaceful non-violent stance and will not be provoked into armed conflict by this uncivilised and barbaric regime. We keep wondering why the Nigeria government and her security operatives would be fabricating lies and accusing the most peaceful mass movement in the world of carrying arms without proof. “       (The Sun)

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