YOUR Excellences, Kindly permit me to use this medium to congratulate all of you on your most deserving but hard earned victory at the polls. I thank God for finding you worthy to occupy this position of responsibility and pray for wisdom and good health to enable you succeed in this national assignment.
It is by this recognition that I wish to draw your kind attention to some critical issues which I consider pertinent to the political and economic development of #Nd’Igbo in this new dispensation.
I believe that the political environment in Nigeria today has not only placed Nd’Igbo at a cross-road but at the same time at a political strategic advantage depending on how we play our card.
There is no doubt that today the Igbo nation has become a powerful bloc that can influence, if well managed, the direction of political and economic activities in Nigeria to the advantage of our people in particular and Nigeria in general.
You therefore need to be very creative in thinking and exhibit a high sense of political sagacity in order to discover the best route and a new role that will re-launch us into political reckoning in this new dispensation.
I believe that the first test of this new political alignment shall be consummated with your role in the upcoming election of the Leadership of the #8th National Assembly.
Your Excellences, I wish to refresh your memories with the following facts and set an agenda which to my mind represents the wishes and aspiration of the Igbo people. This will engender your success as well as enable you remain focused and committed to the high expectations of our people.
At the beginning of the 4th Republic in 1999, the position of the Senate #President was zoned to the Southeast by the #PDP government. Either by fate or design, Nd’Igbo produced five senate presidents within the eight years of the #Obasanjo presidency. This was largely seen as lack of coordination and political immaturity on the part of the Igbo leaders.
Today’s circumstance presents a unique opportunity for us to re-write our own history and correct the negative impression about the lack of unity of purpose by the Igbo.
By bringing yourselves together to present a bloc vote at all times, you will greatly increase your value and earn deep respect from your colleagues. This is the best way to go in order to achieve more for our people.
The Southeast remains the most marginalised in terms of power sharing in our country today. We are the only zone that is yet to produce the president of Nigeria, yet, we have demonstrated our belief and commitment to Nigeria through our sojourn and investments in other parts of the country more than any other zone.
Nd’Igbo has indeed paid their dues and sincerely deserves the support of other zones to actualise the Igbo presidency. The way and manner you as the #Igbo political leaders of today repackage the Igbo nation politically will go a long way to keep the project alive and achievable within the shortest time possible.
Nd’Igbo has made enormous economic investment in Nigeria majority of which are located outside the Igbo land. As a result, we have the utmost reason to work for the sustenance of peace and unity of Nigeria. It is often said that you put your heart where your money is.
Most people have condemned the recent xenophobia attack in South Africa but within our country lies a similar hatred and systemic repressive agenda against a particular ethnic group, what I call ‘ethnophobia’ – the hate and attack on an ethnic group in her own country.
That the Igbo are target of ethnophobia is not debatable considering the number of death and looting of Igbo property and investment recorded in different parts of Nigeria at every imaginable opportunity for violence.
Also, a new dimension of hate speeches against the Igbo by prominent citizens from other parts of the countryis being introduced into this deliberate extermination campaign. You have a duty to fight for the protection of the life, investment and property of Nd’Igbo wherever they live in Nigeria.
Oil & Gas
#Abia and Imo states are oil producing states and currently part of the NDDC. There is the need to examine the NDDC projects with a view to determining whether these Igbo states are shortchanged in terms of projects allocation and execution.
Also, efforts should be made to ensure that Anambra #state with its oil reserve in the Aguleri axis and rich gas deposit at Igboariam is properly enlisted so that it can begin to receive her due benefits as other oil producing states of Nigeria.
The issue of creation of additional state for the southeast to put us at per with other zones of the country is still pending.
Despite the consensus reached on this matter with the other zones of the country during the 2005 Political Reform Conference of President Obasanjo and the 2014 National Conference of President Goodluck Jonathan administration, this matter is yet to be implemented. Nd’Igbo looks up to you to bring this matter to full realization.
There is no gainsaying that there has not been any deliberate effort by the Federal government to implement the Yakubu Gowon programme of the 3-Rs – Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Reintegration – since the end of the civil war in 1970.
The Igbo still lives with the scars of the war 45 years after despite the fact that the federal government is currently budgeting billions of #Naira to reconstruct and rehabilitate the Boko Haram damages in northeast Nigeria.
The Igbo should demand the immediate establishment of a commission to address the genocide, war crimes and destructions committed by the federal government of Nigeria against the Igbo people of Biafra during the 30 month old civil war.
The hope of completing the on-going projects in the southeast such as; the upgrade of the AkanuIbiam International Airport Enugu, the 2nd Niger bridge, the rehabilitation of Enugu – PH and Enugu – Onitsha Express Roads and the Alaoji power plant; now hangs in the balance.
It is expected that you will not only move to ensure the timely completion of these projects but also lobby for new projects.
The Igbo agenda in the restructuring of Nigeria remains unambiguous. We shall continue to demand for a full federalism based on equity, justice and fairness.
We demand for a federation in which all the federating units are allowed to grow and develop at their own pace. We want devolution of powers to the federating units. We demand equal opportunities for all peoples of Nigeria devoid of ethnic, religious or political favouritism.
We want a country where the rights and privileges of all Nigerians are absolutely guaranteed in any part of the country they choose to live. These and more suchlike agenda are the basic guarantee for peace and progress of any egalitarian society.
Nd’Igbo expects you to stand on these principles which have been clearly articulated by the OhanaezeNdigbo and work with other Nigerians of like minds for its actualization.
Your Excellences, these are not by any means exhaustive but my main aim is to draw your kind attention to the enormity of challenges and expectations from our people so as to prepare your mind for the great task ahead.
You must strive to present a united front on these issues and align properly with the Executive, leadership of the National Assembly and your colleagues from other zones of the country in a manner like ‘you rob my back I rob yours’ in order to achieve your objectives.
Always count on me as your partner in progress as I continue to interface with you to offer my suggestions and advice while I sit at the sidelines to watch the political developments in our dear country.
While wishing you all the best in this onerous assignment, kindly accept, your Excellences, the humble assurances of my esteemed regards and consideration at all times.
Chief CY Ezeani
Mr. Cyril Ezeani, a public affairs commentator, wrote from Abuja
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