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Igbo, now a people under siege — Igbo Leaders

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…Producing president not our priority
…Tasks S-East govs on collaboration, infrastructural deficit

By Clifford Ndujihe

IGBO Leaders of Thought, ILT, have asked South-East governors to collaborate and carry out joint services that would help address infrastructural deficit in the South-East zone.

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Lamenting that Igbo have become a people under siege in Nigeria, the Professor Ben Nwabueze-led body said occupying presidency in 2023 should not be the priority now. They urged the governors and other leaders to key into its Perspectives In National Development, PIND, proposal to turn the fortunes of the Igbo around.

The ILT, which is taking the proposal to South-East governors for action said: ‘’For several decades, within the Nigerian Federation, Ndigbo can be described as

a nation in desperate search for acceptance as full citizens, a people deprived of the basic appreciation of their sacrifices in the task of founding and nurturing the Nigerian State. This unsatisfactory situation has continued unabated. The problem of how to accord Ndigbo their rightful place in the scheme of things in Nigeria persists and has continued to grow in intensity with each succeeding Government. The impression is gained, that an urgent need exists for an aggressive rethinking targeted at solving the problems of our last-in-the-queue status in Nigeria.’’

ILT Deputy Leader, Professor Chiweyite Ejike, who represented Professor Ben Nwabueze, when the leaders visited Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State, weekend, said: ‘’Our position paper (PIND) has advocated for a new operational paradigm that would allow for a plausible mechanism for developing new ideas and action plans on what requires to be done to advance the collective endeavours of

Ndigbo to transform the Igbo homeland into a modern political entity capable

of addressing satisfactorily the economic well being and industrial transformation of the Igbo States of Nigeria.’’

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Ejike, who commended Obiano on his efforts to develop Anambra State, provision

of first class educational facilities for teaching and learning, plans to build an International Cargo Airport in the state, and leadership style and measures to stem the increasing state of insecurity, urged the governor to inspire his team to do more.

Decrying the woes of the Igbo and proffering the way forward, Professor Ejike said: ‘’I should like to reiterate a few of the core messages to Ndigbo which we in the ILT have constantly and consistently placed before our Governments and People over the past five years:

‘’The Igbo people, particularly in their homeland and all over Nigeria would appear to be a people under siege. Consequently our leaders, especially our political leaders and heads of governments need to adequately buckle-up and provide bold, daring and decisive leadership. We have heard it said that–the Igbo have no Kings! This is not correct. Yes, we abhor absolute monarchs, but we do have and indeed yearn for kings: philosopher kings; humble kings, even-handed kings, rational and wise kings, objective kings and kings that exhibit deep intellect, courage and passion for solidarity and integrity.

‘’The ILT has repeatedly stated that we as Ndigbo should not see the Presidency

of Nigeria as our priority. We demand for a knowledge-driven, rationally restructured Federal Nigeria where every component nation is treated equally and allowed sufficient space in the political governance architecture of the country which we have contributed so much to build.

‘’We stand for a Nigeria where power is appropriately devolved; a Nigeria in which

Ndiigbo and other nationalities are not treated as “Enemies” who can never be trusted to form part of the core power structure. A people under quarantine and perpetually under surveillance cannot be expected to access opportunities needed for their desired development and self-fulfilment. We stand for a new peoples’ constitution which would address these and other critical concerns.

‘’We advise all our home states’ governors to double their efforts to unify and develop the homeland; quickly close the humongous infrastructural deficits in the South-East zone and embark upon such Public and Private projects capable of engendering massive job creations for our teeming unemployed youths through rapid industrialization,upgraded food security initiatives,first-rate digital education facilities and e-commerce. Nobody is going to do that for us.

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‘’The ILT enjoins our Governors’ Forum to promote appropriate States Joint Services initiatives particularly targeting enhanced security and the early development of strategically important projects. Chief among such are Deep-water Port-Facilities in the South East and thereby quicken the tempo of productive efficiency of our internal and external trades.’’

Vanguard

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