By Brown Chimezie
Eze Ezeneche Uzochukwu Jerome is the Eze Ndigbo, Mekong River, Thailand. He said the call by leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), to boycott Anambra State governorship election in November, was tantamount to calling for anarchy.
How would you react to recent call by Arewa youths to Ndigbo to vacate the north before October 1st?
For me, we are one Nigeria and it is only Igbo that have shown that they believe in this principle. It is only the Igbo that have investments in different parts of the country. Anywhere you go, it is only Igbo that invested in the North, South and Middle belt without fear of losing such investment. As Eze Ndigbo in Mekong River, Thailand, I also invested in that country. Besides, Nigeria constitution permits Nigerians from any part of the country to leave in any part of Nigeria without any disturbance. So on that ground, no any individual or group has the right to order anybody to leave any part of the country. Anybody ordering Igbo to leave Nigeria is speaking out of ignorance. When you look at some of the people making these utterances, some of them have never moved from their states to any part of the country, and they have no any investment outside their homes of origin. So, when you look at the issue critically, you will discover that people of South East are more patriotic than some of them.
On this note, I therefore call on the federal government to go after hate agitators so as to save the country from disintegration
How can Nigeria apply the Hong Kong two nations, one country model?
Hong Kong is an autonomous state within China with its own political structure. Similarly, a confederate Nigeria with semi autonomous state or regions will end agitations by restless youths and promote development in the country. We can remain one Nigeria while pursuing developmental goals that are unique to our region. For instance the South -East are known for trade and commerce. If the region is allowed to be autonomous, then it can fashion out policies that would lead to promotion of trade and commerce. The North central that is good in Agriculture can develop that sector while the North would also improve in cattle and dairy production. Ditto for South- West which would also revive all the cash crops like Cocoa, kola nut and palm produce. With such arrangement, corruption will disappear as each region will fight hard to pursue and promote agenda and policy that will put it ahead of other regions
What is your take on Kanu’s call for election boycott in Anambra?
My view is that he lacks the mandate to make such calls. What has the Biafran struggle got to do with Anambra election? Rather than addressing critical problem facing Igbo, he has been busy meddling on matters that are not his concern. By calling for election boycott, the IPOB leader is only trying to cause confusion in the polity and drag the region backward. Also such reckless statements can cause confusion among South- East states. My advice to him is to address the marginalisation of Igbo within the ambit of the law.
He can call for restructuring of this country where more autonomy will be given to the South-East to manage its affairs. If that fails, he can call for referendum for people from the region to decide through the ballot if they desire to remain in Nigeria or not. Anything outside this internationally accepted measure is a call for anarchy and no reasonable government in the world would fold its arm an allow anybody to destroy the unity of the country.
What is your advice to Nnamdi Kanu?
What I can tell Nnamdi Kanu is that he should thread softly. I know that my people are very angry especially over marginalisation and infrastructural decay in the South- East, but we should not allow that to becloud our sense of judgment. What we need is dialogue not fight. This is because if we fight, it is only the poor masses that would suffer the consequences. Once the crisis begins, the rich, the governors, senators and the like will jet out leaving the masses behind to suffer.
It is time we begin to question some of these our politicians on how they use allocations from the Federal government on projects. Some of them collect the money and divert same into private purse thus leaving infrastructures in the region in bad shape.
So we shouldn’t follow Kanu to boycott any election, nor should we follow him to fight any war. His call for Igbo in the North and other parts of Nigeria to return to the South- East doesn’t make any sense to me because he does not have the political and economic means to sustain such agenda.