23 May 2002

Nigeria: Ezeife Canvasses Abolition of On-Shore, Off-Shore Dichotomy

Lagos — As the Federal Government and oil producing states seek political solution to the on-shore/off-shore dichotomy, the Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, has called for its abolition, saying that the dichotomy was a creation of the civil war.

He said that the continued recognition of the dichotomy would only indicate in the minds of the Easterners that the civil war was not yet over.

Dr. Ezeife, who spoke Tuesday in Abuja, when members of the Movement for Obasanjo Presidency visited him in his office, explained that the on-shore/off-shore dichotomy, which he said was created as a war winning strategy by the Federal Government in 1969, should be abolished in order to signal the end of the Nigerian-Biafra civil war.

He stated that the continued recognition of the dichotomy would indicate in the minds of Easterners that the civil war was not yet over, a development he said, would only reinforce the war casualties "in terms of inadequate economic infrastructure, scant number of Easterners in senior federal government positions and scant presence of the federal government in Eastern states."

Ezeife¡s call for the abolition of the on-shore/off-shore dichotomy tallies with the position of Delta State Governor, Chief James Ibori, who had at a different forum called for the abolition of the dichotomy as a precondition for further talk on the issue with the Federal Government.

He said the abolition of the dichotomy was the bottom line acceptable to the governors of oil-producing states for further dialogue with the federal government on the matter.

Meanwhile, speaking on the clamour for a President of Igbo extraction, the Special Adviser harped on the need for Nigerians to ensure that an Igbo man succeeds President Olusegun Obasanjo, saying that in so doing, "the feeling of marginalization and dejection which had ruled the minds of many Easterners would be erased and the Nigerian-Biafra war will come to effective end."

Maintaining that the Easterners have many qualified persons who are capable of leading the country, Ezeife frowned at those who castigate the idea of President of Nigeria of eastern extraction saying, "people may support Obasanjo but they should not in consequence of that disparage Eastern presidential candidates."

The former governor noted that even as President Obasanjo had declared intention to run for a second term, there was nothing wrong in other people showing interest for the same position, adding the point of continuity is in the continuity of good works not in continuity for its sake".

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