The apex Igbo socio-cultural group in Nigeria, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has made its opinion known to the Senate Committee on Constitutional Review that Nigeria must be placed on a Union of equals, where other ethnic groups must have the ability to stand without begging the centre for survival.
The group representing all Igbo communities and headed by Prof George Obiozor in his submission showed their stand on the Constitution review at the Owerri sitting, on Wednesday.
President General of the Igbo parent body, Prof George Obiozor said that Ndigbo, in general, are asking for a clear and simple form of internal autonomy based on a restructured Nigeria.
“That categorically stated, we (Ndigbo) are of the view that the federation of Nigeria must be a union of equals, and the composite units must have the ability to stand without begging the centre for survival. That is a federal system of government and with its characteristics of decentralization and devolution of power among the federating units.
“Therefore, in the context of the imperatives and urgency of restructuring Nigeria, we should focus on getting the right things done for the right reasons, and at the right levels of government. Indeed, what must be done and no longer what to do is to recognize that history has an iron law of seriality of which no country including Nigeria can ask for exemption or exceptionalism. In fact, some countries are born with political tragedies waiting to happen and our history shows that Nigeria is one of them.
“All signs of national tragedies foretold are present today in full force in Nigeria. In fact, it would require a restructured Nigeria to contain the present forces and tendencies towards a synchronized national crises and even a possibility of national disintegration.
“Therefore, as National Leaders, we must learn the lessons of history that in societies where truth comes last, tragedy comes first; and that the perennial problem or continuous dilemma in Nigerian politics has always revolved around the issues of Justice, Equity and Fairness.
“As I have said several times, throughout history, those denied Justice have had no interest in peace. We would expect you at the end of this exercise, in the interest of the nation, its unity, and progress, to conclude with decisions guided by love and not by hatred; and guided by our collective hopes and not by our fears.”
Obiozor further said that for many Nigerians and groups, the 1999 constitution has left them feeling like a caged lion over their relative capacities to develop their individual potentials, states, and zones.
“Therefore to many of these citizens across the country, states, and zones, restructuring Nigeria will be equivalent to releasing the lion from the cage and it can defend itself. I wish you luck.”