*says he maligns Ndigbo
By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA-Former Minister of Health, Professor ABC Nwosu has vehemently refuted the claims by an elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai that uninformed Igbo were championing the cause of restructuring which he ( Yakassai) referred to as a Yoruba agenda.
Nwosu who is one of the Igbo leaders from south east said he was surprised to read a person in the mould of Yakassai make such a fallacious submission.
He said that Yakassai was utterly wrong in his assertion, saying that restructuring though firstly proposed by the Igbo people has now become a national agenda.
Recall that the northern leader had on Monday opined that uninformed Igbo were championing the cause of restructuring referring it as a Yoruba agenda.
But in his reaction to the development, Nwosu who spoke exclusively to Vanguard on Tuesday said that it was at the 1994 Abacha Conference that Igbo leaders comprising the former Vice President, late Dr. Alex Ekwueme, former Biafran leader, late Chukwueme Odimegwu Ojukwu, former governor of old Imo State, Dr. Sam Mbakwe and others made a presentation on the matter.
According the Nwosu, the presentation also articulated rotational presidency, the 6 geopolitical zones, devolution of power and resource control as Igbo agenda to the conference.
He said: Yakkasai is wrong, very wrong and I don’t know why she should utter such a fallacy. Everybody knows that the south west boycotted the 1994 Abacha conference. Every Nigerian knows. It was at that conference that the Igbo after a 6 months meeting of how Nigeria can be better produced a programme on restructuring, devolution of power, etc and sent its very best to the conference, namely late Dr. Alex Ekwueme, late Chief Emeka Odimegwu Ojukwu, De Sam Mbakwe and others to that conference.
“It was at that conference that the Igbo through a motion from Dr. Ekwueme proposed rotational presidency and the 6 geopolitical zones, devolution of power and resource control. They were all in the Igbo memorandum. The Igbo memorandum was adopted at Mkpoku Igbo conference in April and I was the chairman of that Mkpoku Igbo conference. I was also the secretary of the Pius Okeigbo committee that prepared that memorandum on restructuring, devolution of power and the 6 geopolitical zone. I was sent to Abuja to run the Igbo Secretariat to see to these. Prominent Igbo are still alive and can testify to it. Such persons include Gen Ike Nwachukwu, Commodore Ebitu Ukaiwe. They are many.
“So, it is annoying to the extreme to read an elder statesman talk of uninformed Igbo championing a cause. Restructuring is now a Nigerian desire and the sooner everybody realised that, the better.
“But having been so involved in the preparation, presentation of the memorandum to the conference, in the running of the Secretariat that produced the conference, I feel compelled to correct this information from Tanko Yakassai. He is so wrong, very wrong.
“The Igbo restructuring agenda goes even to proposal arrangement for the Nigerian Army, not divisions. It goes into Police. It is all-encompassing. It is very strong on resource control and also supported the south south strongly in getting the resource control even the 10% that was given finally. So I don’t know why he should say that. We are neither championing a Youruba cause or the Yorubas championing our cause.
“I thought we are all favorably disposed to restructuring a Nigerian that is not working and I don’t like people talking from the two sides of their mouth.
“I don’t want to accuse him of ignorance. I am saying he didn’t say the truth. That’s all I am interested in and I have said what the truth is. The reports of the conference are there which I think he was a member of. It was whenever there was crisis, it was Senator Olusola Saraki that formed the group. Yar’Adua was there.
“So, I don’t know why he should be saying that we are championing a cause which we, the entire Igbo ethnic group proposed after a 6 months preparatory meeting that included the very best of Igbo including Professor Ben Nwabueze. He still alive.
“I don’t why he should say that the uninformed Igbo are championing a cause being proposed by the Yoruba. I don’t know why. Is restructuring a Yoruba agenda? It is a Nigerian agenda. Knowing him personally and having participated with him in a conference and being given copies of his book, I am completely perplexed that he said this.
“Why does Yakkasai malign ndi Igbo by describing them as uninformed? Why does he abuse Ndigbo when they are the people most worried about their situation in Nigeria? Restructuring is a Nigerian desire.”