Raphael Ede, Enugu
A pro-Igbo intellectual group, Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF), has reiterated its call for the restructuring of Nigeria along multiple ‘autonomous regions’ with right of self determination.
The group declared that Nigeria, as it stands today, has failed as a nation and need urgent restructuring.
The group stated this at a joint press conference in Enugu yesterday ahead of its fourth anniversary events, holding in Enugu Wednesday and Thursday.
The secretary general of ADF, Prof. Nathaniel Aniekwu, called on other ethnic nationalities in the country to bury their differences and past misgivings and make a common case for creation of autonomous regions as federating units.
According to Aniekwu, who spoke alongside members of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), headed by Bishop Obi Onubogu of Rock Family Church, Enugu, stated that with the near collapse of security of lives and property, has charged various ethnic nationalities to began to address the way forward for the country.
“We are saying that Nigeria has failed, it is not Ndigbo that said it, everybody is saying it. Some have even gone to the trenches for it like the South South; Benue has started, Southern Zaria’s name has been cancelled from Nigeria, Borno people are facing crisis.
“Some are saying let us go back to regional configuration; some are saying let’s manage, lets restructure. We have agreed, but we want to remind everybody that the reason for the first military coup in 1966 was because the regional arrangement was not working.
“You remember when we had major crisis in the Western House of Assembly, the ‘Operation wetie’ in the West. You remember Aminu Kano who was in the North shouting Northern oppression, and we are here in the East, Zik (Nnamdi Azikiwe) and Eyo Ita were slugging it out.
“That was the atmosphere that created that coup. So the regional arrangement was not working. Anybody who is suggesting a return to regional arrangement does not have a good sense of history.
“So we are saying that restructuring is okay, but it is what you mean by restructuring that is the issue. For us we should go back to the basics and we prefer what we call the autonomous regions; autonomous is the key word there.
“If you recall, when we were in the Eastern Region, Ikwere people in Port-Harcourt were complaining that we are marginalizing them, the Calabar people were complaining too. So what we are saying is that if you want to form regions, let it be regions of those who agree.
“So, if Ikwere people feel it will be better for them to join Maiduguri okay; if Asaba people want to join Edo people, okay; but let whatever region that will be formed be the region of those who agreed, that is why we classified it as autonomous regions,” he said.
In his remark, LOC Chairman, Bishop Onubogu Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe (rtd), former Chief of General Staff would serve as chairman of the occasion in the two day event, which will also feature paper presentations by Prof. Uzodinma Nwala, President of ADF; as well as public presentation of “ADF Memo” tagged, “Future of Ndi Igbo and the Nigeria Federation”.
Onubogu, who announced that other ethnic nationalities and leaders including the Middle Belt Congress, Ijaw leaders and Yoruba leaders would grace the occasion, gave the theme of the event as “’The Past, The Present and The Future: Understanding the Past and Embracing the Future’.
The clergy man said that ADF’s “Akurue Uno” (Think home philosophy) was bearing fruit as Igbo in Diaspora are beginning to repatriate to repatriate their wealth and investment, saying “we are a group that encourages others to see the clear picture of the challenges facing
Ndigbo at this time; and based on that we are already working with other people, forging ahead with programmes and projects that will bring development to Alaigbo.”