By Peter Okutu
ABAKALIKI – AN Igbo leader of thought and former Deputy Governor of Ebonyi state, Prof.Chigozie Ogbu, weekend, declared that the agitation for Biafra by the youths of the South-eastern region was a genuine struggle against injustice meted against Ndigbo in the Nigerian federation.
Ogbu who stated this at his residence in Abakaliki insisted that since after the Nigeria Civil war, the constitution of the country was drafted to have oppressive tendencies against Ndigbo was are seen as a conquered territory.
The Igbo leader who is also the incumbent Vice President-General of Ohaneze Ndigbo stated that as a result of the frustration among young people arising from these injustices that led to agitation for independence added that the situation has left the country with two options of restructuring or be ready to face agitations which could degenerate into uncontrollable conflict in the country.
On the clamour for restructuring, he said, though it has come to mean different things to different people and groups who are interpreting it to fit into their interests, true restructuring according to him, simply means to amend the supreme law of the land, the constitution, to correct some defectives that had promoted injustices, inequality and a sense of exclusion which has made it difficult for Nigeria to develop into one united, peaceful and progressive nation.
Ogbu expressed dismay that the objectives of the 1999 constitution, which was to provide a constitution for the purpose of promoting good governance and welfare of all persons in the country on principle of freedom, equality, justice and for consolidating the unity of the people, is at variance with the content of the constitution whose provisions are full of injustices and inequality that do not promote unity and good governance.
He further posited that no amount of good governance could cure the current agitation for self-determination resulting from marginalization, because good governance meant implementing the constitution faithfully and since the constitution contains injustices
and inequality, there can’t be good governance.
“What good governance can remedy the anomaly that Kano with a population of 9,401,288 has 44 local governments while Lagos with 9,11,605 has 20 local governments and Bayelsa has 8.In sharing local government allocations, Kano gets 44 parts, Lagos 20 and Bayelsa (the source of the revenue with terrible environmental degradation from oil) will get 8 parts?”
Ogbu who was a delegate to 2014 National conference said the conference cured the injustice by recommending that local government should no longer be a third tier of the federal structure but should be delisted in the constitution and transferred to the states to be covered by the laws of the House of Assemblies.
He added that the conference also cured the injustice of inequality of states against south-eastern region by recommending that additional state be created for them, saying, ”Ndigbo cannot have a true sense of belonging in the federation until this anomaly is corrected”.
He also advocated for state police, arguing that its advantages outweighs its disadvantages as Nigeria was ripe for it, especially with the rising security challenges.
He further maintained that there should be devolution of powers in federal exclusive list to delist items such as Agriculture and Health, among others and put them in Concurrent list for effective governance. End