By Anayo Okoli, Regional Editor, South East
SOME eminent Nigerians are disturbed over the state of affairs in the country and want urgent redirection to save the world’s largest black nation.
First Republic Aviation Minister, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi; former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Victor Attah; former Ohanaeze Ndigbo Secretary-Geberak, Chief Nduka Eya; Mrs. Maria Okwo, and son of first President of Nigeria, Mr. Uwakwe Azikiwe, were among those who proffered the way forward for Nigeria.
They spoke at a colourful event to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Igbo Youth Movement, IYM, in Enugu, last Thursday
Chief, Amaechi, 90, while critically reviewing Nigeria, warned that the country could implode if urgent remedial actions were not taken.
His words: “For there to be permanent peace, the country must meet and renegotiate the basis of the union in a fraternal way. ““Today, we are living in a country that is full of danger. We are living in a country where there is no peace; today we are living in a country where majority live in fear. Today we are riding in a ship that may tip over and sink any day.““Today, we are living in a country where rulers refuse to listen to the loud cries of the ruled. Today we are living in a country where the rich are getting richer and the poor getting poorer, a country where the corrupt and criminal elements are in control. We are living“in a country that is ruled with a Constitution that is not the Peoples’ Constitution.”
On the way forward, the elder statesman said “the leaders of Nigeria, not just politicians alone, must meet in a friendly brotherly atmosphere, objectively look at our past and in a spirit of give and take, see where we have made mistakes in the past, and pronounce forgiveness where necessary.”“Making a case for true fiscal federalism, Amaechi noted: “Almost all the states in the South are producing the wealth of the country in oil and gas for other parts of the country to manage and control the wealth and only move to settle a few chiefs and leaders and share largesse to a handful of militants in a fire brigade attack of a solution awaiting an explosion someday““For there to be permanent peace, the country must meet and renegotiate the basis for the union in a fraternal way. Those in authority are reluctant or unwilling to meet and find solution.““The Afenifere, Ohanaeze, Niger Delta and Middle Belt Organizations along with Southern Nigeria Peoples Union, have all met and have been demanding a restructuring of the country. These elitist organizations cannot force or compel the powers that be to agree to restructuring when the present position designed and crafted by their military“leaders and handed over to them suits their purpose.““The pious resolutions of Ohanaeze, Afenifere and others are like whispering an advice to a deaf ear. Only action, peaceful, non-violent, non-provocative action will force a come together of the leaders and politicians.”
Delivering the Anniversary Lecture titled: “How to Make Nigeria Work”, Obong Attah, said Nigeria must adopt true federalism to survive because “our system of sharing is the problem” as nobody can distribute the money equitably.“Attah said the solution of the nation lies in true federalism which guarantees resource control and development based on resources available to the states.“He faulted recent verdict which said that only four states of the country were viable based on their internally generated revenue, saying that if the revenues from those states that were taken to Abuja for sharing were left for them, they would have been better off.“Obong Attah also disagreed with suggestions for states to be merged, saying that nobody wants to relinquish power. The best alternative, he said is regional cooperation by states to pursue development.
Why I founded IYM – Uko
Speaking at the event IYM Founder, Evangelist Elliot Ugochukwu-Uko said in spite of man-made obstacles along the way, God’s favour sustained the IYM in the last 20 years, adding: ”I was inspired to establish the IYM because there was a false notion that Ndigbo have been permanently silenced by the civil war defeat. I wanted to inspire others, especially the younger generation to speak up and stand up for their rights. The elders were cowed by the humiliation and trauma of the defeat of 1970.
”Quislings, vassals and collaborators occupied the space, masquerading as Igbo leaders. Only a righteous, upright, selfless and sacrificial movement could inspire the younger generation to stand up for their rights. IYM was designed to inspire the younger generation to defend their rights and protect their future,” he said.