Nigeria: Nwodo, Attah, Anglican Church Canvass Restructuring, True Federalism

12 August 2020

A former National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Dr Okwesilieze Nwodo; a former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Victor Attah and the Anglican Communion, have joined their voices in the agitation for restructuring and true federalism as the 2023 general elections approach.

The Warri diocese of the Anglican communion, Delta State, yesterday, enjoined the federal government to develop coastal cities across the Niger Delta region as a way to consolidate on the peace in the region.

Bishop of the diocese, Rt Reverend Christian Esezi Ide made the appeal in his Bishop's Charge on State of the Nation at this year's synod of the diocese with the theme : The Anointing builds up the church " at St John's Anglican church Okpara inland , Ethiope East local government area of the state

Bishop Ide called for true federalism , adding that President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government should redress widespread allegations of marginalization.

"Agitations for breakup is as a result of marginalization being experienced by some sections of this country in the area of appointments, provision of social amenities and so on. The government must foster unity and create a sense of belonging for all ", he said.

While also urging the government to do more to ensure release of Leah Sharibu, a Christian young girl kidnapped by Boko Haram in Bursari local government area of Yobe State over two years ago, the diocese also flayed criminal activities of herdsmen in Delta State , adding that state governments in the Niger Delta region should come up with legislation against open grazing to save women from being raped and killed by murderous Fulani herdsmen in farms.

On the fight against corruption, Bishop Ide enjoined lawyers to cooperate by ensuring those arrested were not released on grounds of technicalities , adding that the federal government should ensure no one is treated as a sacred cow. Bishop Ide lauded the Delta State government for steps taken to establish a joint security task force , Operation Delta Hawk" to effectively fighting crime in the state, adding that all relevant agencies , including the state House of Assembly should support the initiative to succeed.

It's way out of insecurity --Attah

"In his own submission, former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Victor Attah, urged the federal government to scale up efforts at tackling the menace of insecurity.

Attah, who spoke in an interview with Vanguard in his Abuja residence, said: "If there is any black mark that this government will have, it won't be in the area of the economy but security. If the economy is bad, you will recover from it. The educational standard will be good.

"They have actually handled this COVID-19 issue very well. Let nobody deny that one. Health facilities would improve. Another Administration can also come and improve on them but when it comes to this type of prolonged killings, it can be difficult to tackle. What was the Mafia thing in Italy all about? Families retaliating for killings of their members many years ago. When it comes to killings, especially by an unidentifiable group, it is very serious.

"All of these things, if we can just allow this country to go back to how we were before, some of these issues would be tackled. Why didn't we have these killings before? You have the Fulani colony in Jos. Why were they not fighting before?

"It is all because of this unitary system. But I thank God, Gowon has said it, Babangida has said it, Obasanjo who almost 'killed' me for holding this view has now joined them to say that the one thing or problem that the military created for this country was to have given it a unitary system.

"Let me not blaspheme, but even if you bring an angel to preside over this system, he would fail because it is not really about the individuals. I gave an example before, when there is a coup, everybody jubilate and they believe that the new government would be their saviour.

"Then when that government is sent out and another one comes, people jubilate again, thinking the new government would be better than the former. So, you can see it is the system and not the people".

Igbo elites have turned down Nnamdi Kanu's rhetoric's to achieve restructured Nigeria --Nwodo

Joining the campaign, the former National Chairman of the People's Democratic Party, PDP, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, yesterday, said Igbo elites have been trying to tune down the rhetorics of Nnamdi Kanu to achieve a restructured Nigeria.

Nwodo who was also the former governor of Enugu State and national secretary of PDP equally told Vanguard in an exclusive interview that a restructured Nigeria would provoke diverse socio-economic development of different regions in Nigeria.

He further urged Nigeria to give South East a chance to produce the president of the country in 2023, adding that anything short of that would make the region to fight for her freedom, adding that Igbo elites believe in 'One Nigeria' where justice and fair-play would be the order of the day.

He said: "What the Indiginous People of Biafra, IPoB, is saying is what every Igbo man knows to be true. Nnamdi Kanu has taken the problems of the Igbos to the international arena. The Igbo elites are saying that Nigeria is better for us because we need a wider market to operate.

"Secondly, we are a major stakeholder in this Nigerian enterprise. Therefore, the Igbo elites have been trying to tune down the rhetorics of Kanu in order to negotiate a restructured Nigeria; that is our primary ambition, that Nigeria be restructured along the lines of the first republic. If Nigeria is restructured, we can develop at our own pace. Under Michael Okpara premiership, Eastern Nigeria was the fastest growing economy in the world and we can repeat that feat. If Nigeria is restructured, we can create a Dubai in Nigeria and I am sure that the zones in the north can do better than Netherlands which earns more in agriculture than Nigeria has ever earned by crude oil. Middle-belt will do a lot better with the amount of mineral deposits in their place.

"So, a restructured Nigeria will wake up the Nigerian economy because there would be mutual competition and each region would be doing as good as they were doing in the first republic; agriculture will come back, mineral resources will come back and crude oil which is now dwindling and not so attractive again would still be there.

"The focus of the elites in Igboland is restructuring. We believe that this marginalisation which has been going on for over 50 years after the war will be a thing of the past. I think it is about time Nigeria has a second thinking about it and if they do, in every considerable fairness, it is the turn of the South East Nigeria to produce a president for the country. Other zones have done so, why not the South East? Are we still being punished for the war?

"What we are saying is that if we would not be allowed to be president of Nigeria, and if marginalisation must go on, it reduces us to second-class citizens and slaves in our own country, the only thing available to us is to fight for our independence and freedom. The cry for restructuring is global in Nigeria now, and if South East is continuously marginalised after 2023, I am not sure that any zone in Nigeria, especially, South West, South South and Middle Belt will feel comfortable in continuing in a country called Nigeria.

"If the man who is so badly marginalised cannot be assuaged, then, where is the hope for Nigeria when weighed on the anvil of equity? The country felt that the West were injured by the annulment of June 12 election and they zoned the presidency to the South West and they stopped their agitation for the creation of Oduduwa State and remained in Nigeria and started making investment at Abuja. Why is the one of the Igbos different? We are just saying that if Nigeria does not want us, there is an alternative and that alternative is for us to go and take care of ourselves.

"Every group that wants to succeed in life must have a pressure group. I see Nnamdi Kanu as a pressure group and I see the Igbo elites as patriots who believe in 'One Nigeria' as long as it is an equitable, fair and just Nigeria. Kanu is simply saying, if you don't want to listen to our elders and elites, then, let us break away."

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