By Sam Otti
Members of the Enugu State Committee on the Actualisation of Adada State met with theleadership of the National Assembly recently to galvanize support for the creation of Adada State. The delegation, led by Engineer Vita Abba, former president-general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, and Senator Chuka Utazi, had robust engagement with the leadership of the Senate and House of Representatives, where they canvassed support for the creation of Adada State.
The delegation met with Senate President Ahmed Lawal, the DeputySenate President, who also chairs the Senate Committee on the Review of the1999 Constitution, Senator Ovie-Omo-Agege, the Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, and other distinguished lawmakers.
Present at the crucial meetings were the leader of the Contact and Lobby Group for the Creation of Adada State, Abba, Nwodo, His Royal Highness Igwe Simon Osisi Itodo, Igwe N.B.T. Ezeani, Igwe Spencer Ugwuoke, Chief Matthias Ome, Prof. Damian Opata, Dr. Fide Odo, Dr. (Mrs.) Selina Ugwuoke Adibua, Chief Frank Omeje, Chief Albert Nnamani and Barr. Amechi Nwodo, the secretary of the group.
Daily Sun learnt that all members of the Enugu State Caucus of the 9th National Assembly were part of the delegation and played host to the visiting Contact and Lobby Group for the Creation of Adada State.
Addressing the leaders of National Assembly, Chief Nwodo explained the huge investment of Ndigbo in various parts of the country, and equally buttressed the fact that no non-Igbo Nigerian has built hospitals or made other noticeable investments in the South-East. He observed that many of the 12.5 million Igbo people living in the North have personal houses and major investments that run into billions of naira. He equally expressed disappointment that past federal executive and legislative arms had jettisoned the pan-Igbo consensus on the need for the creation of Adada State.
Nwodo, who was a Minister of Information during the regime of General Abdulsalami Abubakar, argued that the demand for Adada State has far more unique supporting facts than any other agitation and called on the Senate Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution to listen to the wishes of the overwhelming majority of Ndigbo for the creation of Adada State.
Also, Senator Utazi noted that justice demands the creation of Adada State to bring the number of states in South-East at par with other geopolitical zones. He noted that the creation of Adada State would address the imbalance in the number of states in the zone. He explained that it was the need to address this imbalance that prompted him to sponsor a Bill for the Alteration of the1999 Constitution (as amended) for the Creation of Adada State, which subsequently passed the first reading at the National Assembly on December 16, 2020.
Utazi said the Bill was later referred to the Senate Constitution Review Committee and expressed optimism that the age-long agitation for Adada State would receive the required legislative support.
While welcoming the delegation, Senate President Lawan, described the quest for the creation of Adada State as a constitutional and legitimate agitation. He said the creation of Adada State holds great importance to the people of Enugu State, and promised the support of the National Assembly to the agitation. He noted that, having listened to the submission of the delegation, it was obvious that the entire South-East would support the cause for the creation of Adada State.
The Senate President urged Nigerians to take advantage of the constitution review process to better their lot through constitution amendment. He also appealed to all Nigerians with strong views on national issues to approach the National Assembly with their demands. He described the National Assembly as the people’s assembly, saddled with the mandate and responsibility of listening to all Nigerians who desire various legislative interventions, to ensure a stable and peaceful country.
Senator Lawan stressed the unity of the country, noting that diversity should not be a source of animosity. He expressed sadness that, after many yearsof togetherness as a country, some Nigerians fuel tribal discord. He urged political leaders to remain steadfast in their commitment to justice, equity, unity and tolerance across various divides.
Lawan said the National Assembly would continue to address issues that create tension in the country. He also expressed faith that, if these issues were addressed, Nigeria would become one of the greatest countries in the world.
The Senate President further described Senator Utazi, representing Enugu North Constituency, as an active, vibrant and reliable lawmaker, a man of honour and integrity, who has represented his constituency very well; he assured the delegation that he would work with Senator Utazi and other senators to heed their demand when the process begins.
In his response, Senator Omo-Agege commended the Adada movement for building strong consensus at home and urged them to extend their hands of fellowship to federal legislators from other parts of the federation.
Speaking further, Senator Omo-Agege stressed the commitment of the National Assembly to the success of the ongoing constitution review exercise: “We take this exercise very seriously and we are now working towards a deadline. We intend to take reports before both chambers of the National Assembly before we go for thesummer recess and state creation is one of the 10 priority items that we selected.”
He, however, explained further that creating a state under Nigeria’s current constitution was not a tea party. He urged the Adada State movement to intensify their lobbying because the matter would come before all senators at plenary for debate, subject to the public hearings that would also be held.
“I am glad that, in your own case, consensus appears already to have been built at home and across the entire South-East geopolitical zone in support of this request. So, I think it makes our job easier and I want to give a commitment that we will do all we can to support this exercise, subject to your team reaching out to our colleagues in the Senate and the House of Representatives,” he added.