From Wole Balogun, Ado-Ekiti
President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, South-West and Ekiti State, Chief Nathaniel Amaechi Uzomah, has said that the northerners stand to lose more if Igbo obey their quit notice and vacate the North. He was reacting to a quite notice served on the Igbo in the North by some northern youths under the umbrella the Arewa Youths Forum (AYF).
He told Daily Sun in Ado-Ekiti: “In this our Nigeria, every tribe is important and we exist for one another. Truth is that the northerners would lose more if our Igbo brothers vacate the North. This is why I want to even believe that they (northern youths) must be joking about that quite notice.
“We are very much important to them there. We have invested trillions of Naira there. Do you think that if the Igbo were leaving the North, they would leave those property and investment behind?
“If I were there, I would rather get a bulldozer to destroy my property there before leaving and not leave it for people who would inherit it. The northern youths should perish the thought that the Igbo leaving the North would carry only their mats and leave their choice properties behind.
“They would destroy those properties before leaving. To my Igbo people there, if eventually you discover this threat to be real, sell any of your properties and wares you can sell and destroy anyone remaining before leaving.
“The quite notice served on the Igbo by the Arewa youths and ratified by some northern elders later, calls for concern from every patriotic Nigerian. I am for the unity of Nigerians, but I am highly disappointed by the development. I will say that they have gone too far with such action.
“What is most annoying is that the government of the day is keeping quiet over the matter. We believe that government ought to have done something about calling the parties involved and look for a lasting solution to the crisis.
“They are not supposed to keep quiet. We expected eminent Nigerians whose views are weighty and influential to have started speaking up. We expected them to have started saying things that would show that Nigeria is one and that would bring peace. We expect the Presidency, especially Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, to have said something.
“In the South-West here, since we are brothers, we expect eminent Nigerians like former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Senator Bola Tinubu and in the North, eminent Nigerians like former President Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar and others to have spoken. We should put politics aside on an issue like this.”
“This kind of development calls for urgent dialogue so as to resolve all the burning issues. To me, things has become this bad because the government has been complacent about addressing issues arising from various agitation from the tribal and ethnic nationalities in the country.
“However, the government can still do something fast now before it gets worse. I believe the Arewa youths have not given only the Igbo a quite notice but also all Southern Nigeria. We should not be talking about quit notice in Nigeria when in UK, seven Nigerians won parliamentary seats. In Ekiti, an Igbo man is a councillor and in Lagos State House of Assembly, there are six Igbo men.
“There are certain steps the government can take which would put paid to this ugly development. Former president Goodluck Jonathan had foreseen this kind of development and that was why he chose to convene a sovereign National Conference to allow all parties air their views on the possibility of uniting the country. But this government came and allowed the recommendations of that conference to continue to gather dust. If some of the recommendations of that conference had been met, this wouldn’t have happened.
“The implication of this development is that a lot of Nigerians are disillusioned about how things are being done in this country. Dialogue is the only way out and I want to urge the governors of the South East, South-South and South-West to urgently meet with the Federal Government and dialogue with a view to solve this problem.
“The FG should either implement recommendations from the last conference or convoke its own conference to urgently address this issue.
“South-West is our second home and we are brothers. Ndigbo in South-West and the South-West people we are the same and are living in peace. The South-East governors are already protecting the northerners living there and there is no panic or tension among the northerners in the South-East. So, there shouldn’t be any such tension in the North where our Igbo brothers are.”
On the South-East Development Commission Bill receiving attention at the Senate, he said: “The South-South got it after agitating for it because of the destructive activities of the militants during their struggle. The South-East deserves that commission because you will agree with me that we have been most marginalised regarding power sharing among the ethnic groups in Nigeria.
“A good example is that we have not produced a President since the failed first military coup and also since democracy came to stay. Between South-East Development Commission and South-East Presidency, we want presidency and that would fast track development for our region.”