…calls for additional state, local govts in S-East
…says INEC’s voters figure for S-East wrong
By Chioma Gabriel
APEX Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo yesterday lamented what it called the structural marginalisation of Ndigbo in general and the South East in particular with the least number of states and local government areas.
In a release by the spokesman of the group Chuks Ibegbu, the group noted that all Nigerians have at various times agreed that Ndigbo deserve an extra state and more local governments to bring them at par with other zones of the country.
“The North West has seven states and more than one hundred and eight local government areas and the truth is that these areas with more states do not have the population they claim.
“There is no where in the world that those in the desert and savannah area outnumber those in the coastal or rain forest belt, except in Nigeria and using land mass as a criterion for state and local government creation is absurd.”
He noted that the South East has the largest population density in Africa and deserves more states and local governments.
“These are used to allocate revenue, effect appointments and admission in schools so the South East is deeply shortchanged,” Ibegbu lamented.
On the least electoral strength of the South East as indicated by INEC figures , Ibegbu said “INEC figure is neither here nor there as millions of Igbos live outside Igbo land and infact more than 40 per cent of the North West, North East, North Central , South West and South South figures are Igbos. He challenged Igbos to prove that they are the single largest group in Nigeria by contesting elections and voting for only those that will protect their interests either where they reside or at home.”
On the alleged proscription of Ohanaeze Ndigbo by IPOB, Ibegbu said that “it was a comic relief,” but noted that “IPOB and pro-Biafra agitators are all Igbo children and a father is not expected to engage his own child in the market place no matter the provocation. “These young men are aggrieved by their condition in Nigeria but they have to realise too that their fathers are also victims of the Nigeria conundrum. Their fathers suffered and would not want their children to experience what they saw in those dark days.
“Yes, its not uhuru in Nigeria but Ohanaeze leadership would continue to struggle for a better Nigeria in which the bottled up Igbo energies would flourish for the betterment of Ndigbo and all Nigerians.”