Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex Igbo socio-cultural group, has stated that the people of the South-East region wanted internal autonomy.
Prof. George Obiozor, the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, stated this while speaking at the review of the 1999 Constitution hearing in Owerri, Imo State.
According to him, Ndigbo wanted a country of equal opportunities, where every federating unit would stand independent without asking for help from the center.
“Fundamentally, what Ndigbo really want is some form of internal autonomy based on a restructured Nigeria. We (Ndigbo) are of the view that the federation of Nigeria must be a union of equals and the composite units must have the ability to stand without begging the centre for survival. That is a federal system of government and with it characteristics of decentralisation and evolution of power among the federating units.
“Therefore, in the context of the imperatives and urgency of restructuring Nigeria, we should focus on getting the right things done for the right reasons, and at the right levels of government.”
The prof further noted that those denied justice had no interest in peace, adding that lawmakers should “conclude with decisions guided by love and not by hatred; and guided by our collective hopes and not by our fears.”
He also described the current challenges in the country as a political tradegy waiting to manifest at any time. He said the current 1999 constitution has caged many Nigerians preventing them from developing their potentials.
“Countries are born with political tragedies waiting to happen. And our history shows that Nigeria is one of them.
“All signs of national tragedies foretold are present today in full force in Nigeria.
“In fact, it would require a restructured Nigeria to contain the present forces and tendencies towards a synchronized national crisis and even a possibility of national disintegration.”
“As national leaders, we must learn the lessons of history that in societies where truth comes last, tragedy comes first. And the perennial problem of continuous dilemma in Nigeria politics always revolve around the issues of justice, equity and fairness.
“As I have said several times throughout history, those denied justice have had no interest in peace.
“Accordingly, for many Nigerians and groups, the 1999 constitution has left them with feeling like a caged lion over their relative capacities to develop their individual potentials.
“Therefore, to many of these citizens across the country, states, and zones, restructuring Nigeria will be equivalent to releasing the lion from the cage and it can defend itself,” Obiozor stated.
Ibrahim Kenneth Suleiman is the Chief Political Editor at Naija Buzz News Network. He is a graduate of political science from the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Kaduna State. He specializes in preparing/approving of political news contents before publication. He currently heads Naija Buzz News team of political correspondents. From Nasarawa State, North-Central Nigeria, Ibrahim is a strong supporter of Manchester United Football Club England.