From Obinna Odogwu, Awka
Igbo for a Progressive Nigeria (IPAN) has appealed to other ethnic nationalities in the country to support the South-East zone in its quest to produce Nigeria’s next president in the 2023 presidential election.
IPAN National President Lawrence Onuzulike, at a press conference in Awka, the Anambra State capital, argued that the Igbo have contributed much to the development of the country and would do much more if supported to lead Nigeria.
‘IPAN is also desirous of a national political grid where the Igbo people are fully integrated. We are working towards an Igbo presidency in the very near future with the support of our brethren from other geopolitical zones,’ he said.
IPAN lamented the poor state of infrastructure in the zone, saying that the ‘poor level of development in the region’ shows that federal allocations and other revenues that accrued to the states in the region from 1999 to date were mismanaged.
‘Since the return of democracy in 1999, the five southeastern states have received a cumulative federal allocation of about N3.46 trillion as at September 2020.
‘The total internally generated revenue for the five states is around N800 billion for the period spanning 1999 and 2019. The Local Government Areas in the zone received the sum of N1.88 trillion in federal allocations from 1999-2017. This is not inclusive of their internally generated revenues.
‘When these staggering numbers just mentioned are juxtaposed with the current state of development in the South-East, it paints a clear picture of serious mismanagement of resources by elected and appointed officials in the region.
‘Many public infrastructures such as roads, hospitals, schools, etc, are in very deplorable conditions. No state in the South-East can boast of a working public water supply scheme, neither is there any state seriously embarking on a social mass housing scheme for the very low-income earners.
‘Public transportation is nothing to write home about, with no discernable plan by any of our governors to modernize and standardise public transportation in any of the states.
‘Many of the past and present governors in the South-East have only succeeded in impoverishing the states they were elected to develop, with many of them plunging their states into huge indebtedness, with little or nothing to show for the loans collected,’ Onuzulike stated.