Sunday, 28 May 2017

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No one can stop Igbo demand for restructure, Ekweremadu vows

No one can stop Igbo demand for restructure, Ekweremadu vows
Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu declared yesterday that the Southeast is not prepared to forgo its demand for the restructuring of the country, no matter the odds.

He asked the Igbo never to “relent until the needful is done” on the agitation for restructuring.
“If the dominant views in the public domain are anything to go by, then undoubtedly, the minimum Ndigbo demand of Nigeria is a restructure of the federation so that every component part of it can substantially harness its resources, cut its coat according to its cloth, and develop at its own speed,” he said at the World Igbo Congress (WIC) held in Enugu yesterday, 24 hours after armed security men raided his official guest house in Abuja.

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The Congress condemned the raid and warned the authorities against a repeat.
Ekweremadu, recalled the ill-fated Aburi Accord, and said: “Instructively, the ill-fated Aburi Accord was about restructuring, even if it is not exactly as we want it today. But it was breached and discarded, plunging the nation into an avoidable fratricidal war.
“Yet, 50 years after, the need and call for restructuring and return to a true federal state have only persisted. Although the call initially fell on deaf ears, it is heart warming that the right quarters are beginning to listen and the call is gathering traction daily, even from hitherto improbable quarters.”
He said all the Igbo want is an equal and level playing ground for every section.
He pleaded that the Igbo “peaceful struggle for a better deal within the Nigerian commonwealth should be sustained.”
He added: “the dismantling of apartheid in South Africa was not achieved by violent struggle. The actualization of equal rights for blacks in the United States of America by the likes of Martin Luther King Jr. was through peaceful struggle.

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“The actualization of Indian independence by Mahatma Gandhi was by non-violent means. Nnamdi Kanu and Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, before him, were released from their respective long detentions through lawful and democratic engagements.”
He asked the authorities to respect the rights of Ndigbo to “peaceful and democratic engagements”.
He said that alleged plan to exclude the South East, South South, North Central, and North East from the railway projects of the federal government is unacceptable.
According to him, “the last request to the Senate by the Presidency for the approval of a USD5.185 billion China Exim Bank loan indicated that the Federal Government was still searching for concessioners to develop the Eastern Corridor.
“But, the questions are: why will loans taken on behalf of Nigerians and to be repaid by all Nigerians exclude more than a half of the country from the benefits of such loans?
“Why should the South East, South South, North Central, and North East pay for what they were inexplicably excluded from enjoying? Why must the Eastern Line be relegated to concession arrangement, to be paid for by our people as they use the facilities?
“What is the likelihood of even getting a concessioner, especially given the history of concessions in the country? Fairness and equity, as espoused by the Federal Character Principle in Section 14 of the 1999 Constitution, demand that every part of the country should be carried along.”
In a resolution issued at the end of yesterday’s talks, the WIC wondered why anyone should be thinking of taking away from the Southeast the slot of deputy senate president in the current dispensation.
That was in response to the Friday raid of Ekweremadu’s guest house in Abuja which the deputy senate president himself believes is part of the effort by the federal government to intimidate him and remove him from office.
The Congress asked where the security men who conducted the raid could have come from if the police denied sending them.

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