•Warn against postponement of Anambra guber poll
From Chidi Nnadi, Enugu
Against the backdrop of a recent meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, in Aso Rock, Abuja, leaders of the South East states, yesterday, called on the Federal Government to urgently rise and address decayed infrastructure in the region.
The call was the outcome of over five hours discussions of the South East Governors Forum, members of the region in the National Assembly, the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and speakers of Houses of Assembly in the zone, who met at Enugu Government House, yesterday.
The South East Governors Forum Chairman and Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, who read the five-paragraph communique at the end of the meeting, disclosed that they had, in their last meeting with president Buhari, presented “the deplorable state of infrastructure in the South East, especially federal roads, Aba-Ikot Ekpene Road, Okigwe -Owerri Road and 9th Mile-Makurdi Express Road” to him.
They urged the president to take urgent steps, now, in fixing the roads, “particularly this time the dry season has set in.
“Equally of importance is the deplorable state of Akanu Ibiam International Airport, especially the runway, terminal buildings and cargo shelter. We request that urgent steps be taken to address the problems at the airport,” they said.
In the area of economic integration, the region’s leaders announced that the South East Economic Summit, being organised in collaboration with the Department For International Development (DFID), would hold from November 11, 2017, just as they approved the economic mission of Brenthurst Foundation of South Africa to the region, beginning from November 6.
They also commended the willingness and readiness of the people of Anambra State to come out on November 18, to participate in the scheduled governorship election, and urged the Independent National Electoral Commission to ensure that the poll takes place as scheduled.
Some of those who attended the meeting were Umahi, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia ), Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, Deputy Governor of Imo State, Prince Eze Madumere and Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Nkem Okeke.
Others included President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, Senator Chuka Utazi, Hon. Toby Okechukwu, Enugu State’s House of Assembly Speaker, Edward Ubosi, his Ebonyi State counterpart, Francis Nwaifulu, among others.
…Presidency in 2023 not negotiable – Ohanaeze Ndigbo
From John Adams, Minna
PRESIDENT of Ohanaeze Ndigbo of the 19 Northern states, Augustine Amaechi has said an Igbo presidency in 2023 will end various agitations in the South East.
Amaechi also alleged high level injustice, marginalisation and lack of fair play against the South East.
Speaking in Minna, Niger State, yesterday, after a one-day meeting of the group, Amaechi said the region hassuffered marginalisation and neglect for too long.
“Nigerians should support Igbo presidency in 2023, as the only way to douse growing tension in the South East.”
He insisted that agitations by the banned Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) were borne out of injustice and continued marginalisation of the region.
“Virtually every Nigerian agrees that there is injustice in the country, especially against the South East, but what every Nigerian has not agreed is what to do to address the injustice.
“Some have called for restructuring, some for devolution of power, all these still boil down to restructuring and the reason for this is that one region has not been recognised as belonging to Nigeria,”
He pointed out that what they are seeking is equitable distribution of power and resources in Nigeria.
“We want every Nigerian to be happy, I want to say that injustice to a Nigerian is injustice to all irrespective of tribe or creed. It does not matter where the person comes from, once a Nigerian suffers injustice, it should be a concern to all,” he added.
Amaechi explained that the leadership of Ndigbo from the 19 Northern states was in Minna, not only to address issues that concern Igbo, but to also get feedback from all the northern states on the recent quit notice issued to Igbo, although the tension has died down.
In addition to this, “the meeting will enhance a better relationship among the Igbo and their host communities.
“This meeting will help us advise one another on a better understanding of the host community culture and give due respect to the community that has accommodated us. Igbo in the North are wealthy. As a result of the conducive environment we enjoy, we have prospered and we are bound to appreciate some of their cultures.”
“We are here to deliberate on issues as it concerns Ndigbo particularly and to point out areas where we feel the state has not treated us well.
“I want to tell you here that our national head quarters has spoken in favour of restructuring and we are bound to follow the fact that this country should be restructured,” he said.
Amaechi said politics would not be ruled out of the meeting in Minna “because when leaders are taking political and economic decisions, it is necessary to weigh the effects of such decisions.
He said Igbo would do everything to secure the unity of the country as they aspire to produce an Igbo president in 2023.
“We want to produce the president of Federal Republic of Nigeria and not Biafra and this reminds everybody that we are not talking of Biafra this time,” he said.
Amaechi said with such ambition, the Igbo has to build bridges of friendship between Igbo and their various communities.
“At the end of this meeting, I can assure you of the Igbo presidency in 2023,” he said.