By Emeka Obasi
Change is in the air, this Peter Obi formula expertly adopted by Abubakar Atiku calls for a national emergency. Aso Villa should not just dismiss it as another propaganda applied by the opposition.
President Muhammadu Buhari must wake up to reality if he does not want to become Nigeria’s shortest serving civilian leader. And the only person that can paint a true picture of what is cooking, is Mrs Aisha Buhari.
The best way to abort the Atiku/Obi dream is to drink from this fountain of statesmanship which I am about to unlock. I am doing it for free and if this strategy turns out as the game changer, the Presidency should expect my fees.
The most important step by the president is to begin immediately to shop for 50 trillion naira to cushion the effects of the Civil War on parts of the former Eastern region and the Anioma area of today’s South-South geo political zone.
The Federal Government has to get money even if it means borrowing from international financial institutions. This will lead to the industrialization of our nation.
The next move will be the creation of Ministry of South-East/ Anioma Affairs. Without taking anything away from my South-South people, this will be the equivalent of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
Following this will be the South–East/Anioma Development Commission [SEADC], with headquarters in Owerri where the search for oil began during the Colonial years. That explains the Shell Camp you have in the Imo State capital.
Six new industries should sprout in the five South East States and Asaba the Delta State capital. These areas are pathetically neglected by the Federal Government and now that we have, possibly, the last Civil War officer to rule the country, this is time for the real change we need.
The number of South-East ministers in the Buhari regime should be increased from five to seven. This is to make up for the short fall in the number of states in the zone. No other geo political zone is made up of five states.
To create balance, one of the South–East ministers should head the Federal Capital Territory. Abuja may not be a state but half bread is better than none. The FCT minister flows like a quasi governor.
There will continue to be ill feelings until the President does the needful by picking an Igbo as Service Chief. I am not just talking about Balance of Power, it could also serve as Balance of Terror.
Why all this, critics may wonder. Let me start with the 50 trillion naira plan, something akin to the Marshal Plan that the United States used to support Germany after the Second World War.
The South-East and Anioma that bore the brunt of the Civil War have not recovered. General Yakubu Gowon made promises on paper but those promises were never pursued and should be fulfilled.
Nigeria must set the South-East and Anioma free. Of the 774 Local Government Areas in the country, the South-East is way out of reckoning, with 43. And that means, in the House of Representatives, these 43 voices are almost voiceless.
The North–West, with seven states boasts of 92 Honourable members. The other zones are duly represented: South-West-71 members, South-South-55, North-Central 49, North-East-42 and FCT 2 members.
This imbalance affects revenue to the marginalized parts of the country. We should look at the injustice in giving little to people who lost everything during the war that ended almost half century ago.
The South-East/ Anioma ministry, is another way of getting votes. And I want to make it easy for President Buhari. The minister should be a member of the ruling APC.
I recommend Prof. Anwuka, the minister of State, Education. Another APC man from Imo, Jude Ejiogu, should take Anwuka’s place at the Ministry of Education. This is a tactical way of bringing peace to the APC in that State.
Sullivan Chime should be appointed FCT minister while his kinsman, Geoffrey Onyeama, continues to serve as Foreign Affairs minister. Ogbonnaya Onu, Chris Ngige and Okechukwu Enelamah retain their ministerial jobs. This gives the South–East a sense of belonging with seven ministers.
The position of Managing Director, South-East/ Anioma Development Commission[SEADC] should go to Anioma. And Pat Utomi could do the job having failed to pick the APC governorship ticket in Delta State.
Industrialisation comes next. A refinery in Ohambele, Abia State, a modern International Airport in Enugu, not the Uli-Uga type called Akanu Ibiam Airport, and an Auto manufacturing company in Awka will go a long way.
It is also time to dredge the Oguta Lake, to accommodate ocean going vessels. Abakaliki rice, if given a boost will drive rice from the Far East out of the market. Then Asaba gets the Sidney Asiodu Sports University of Nigeria[SASUN].
Asiodu was killed during the Asaba Massacre with thousands of Anioma men and boys. A student of Zoology at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, he won 100 and 200m gold at the First West African Universities Games, Lagos ’66.
Asiodu was part of the country’s 4x100m relay quartet at the Tokyo’64 Olympic Games. His team mates were : Abdul Karim Amu, Folu Erinle and Jimmy Omagbemi.
He was shot while his elder brother, Philip Chikwuedo Asiodu, served as Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Industries in the Gowon government.
Buhari cannot leave the Igbo out of any security arrangement. The first Nigeria Army officer, was Victor Laud Ugboma, 1948. The first Nigerian naval officer, Onuora Zonyeunor Chiazor, 1957.First Air Force officer, Theophilus Enwezor Nzegwu, 1959 and the first Police officer, J. Tarsus Ogbolu. All of them were Igbo.
Nigeria’s first graduate army officer, was Emeka Ojukwu. First Artillery officer, [Sandhurst], Alex Madiebo. First Signals officer, Tony Eze. First Commnder, Army Engineers, Mike Okwechime. First Intelligence officer, Chukwuma Nzeogwu. First Commander, Supply and Transport, Sylvanus Nwajei. They were Igbo.
To cap it all, set IPOB free. What is good for Adamu is good for Adindu. Atiku and Obi will not complain. They may even hail Baba.