During a meeting of the South-East political leaders, on Saturday, emphasis on the need for Nigeria to be restructured was tabled, even as they disagreed with perturbation for the secession of the zone by Pro-Biafrans Groups.
The call for a restructuring of the country had recently gained support across the country by the different ethnic nationalities and eminent personalities, as against agitation for self-determination. Despite the demand for the implementation of the 2014 conference report which also took care of the country’s restructuring, the ruling APC and Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state have rejected the call.
The meeting, which had in attendance governors from the region, National Assembly members from the zone, Ohaneze Ndigbo and selected Igbo leaders of thought, was convened by the Ebonyi State governor, David Umahi, and the leadership of Ohaneze Ndigbo.
In a communiqué issued after the meeting, which began on Saturday and lasted till the early hours of Sunday, the South-East leaders sued for a united Nigeria where peace, love, fairness, justice, equity and equality of opportunity are paramount regardless of creed, ethnicity, gender, or political affiliation.
They called on the Federal Government and all other Nigerian leaders to commence a process of dialogue among Nigerians on the modalities to achieve the restructuring of the country within a reasonable time frame.
The South-East leaders condemned all hate speeches and conducts emanating from any segment of Nigeria, stressing that henceforth only the governors, the South-East National Assembly caucus and the Ohaneze can speak for the zone on any political matters.
Part of the communiqué read: “That Ndigbo support the report of the National Conference of 2014 and urge the Federal Government to set up structures that will enable the implementation of same within a reasonable time.
“That the South-East governors, members of the National Assembly from the South East and the leadership of Hanapepe Ndigbo should, henceforth, constitute the official organs that will speak on behalf of Ndigbo on political matters.
“That the South-East leaders in consultation with leaders from other parts of the country will engage will engage the Federal Government on all areas of concerns to Ndigbo and to Nigeria as a whole.”
The leaders also called on Igbo living in the North not to panic over the quit notice served them by some Arewa groups, saying that they would ensure the safety of their lives and property just as they would protect those of the Northerners living in the East.
In an address of welcome, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu state called on the Igbo to unite and love themselves, adding that nothing would please Enugu better than to be recorded in history as the venue where all Ndigbo gathered to resolve their differences and achieve peace and unity among themselves.
In his submission, Ike Ekweremadu, Deputy President of the Senate and the highest political office holder from the South-East region in this current dispensation, said Igbo would fare better in a restructured Nigeria.
“The Igbo must continue to emphasise restructuring, which is presently enjoying acceptance by the South-South, South West, North Central, and well meaning people from other parts of the North. I believe that at the discussion table for restructuring, we will have sufficient allies that will enable us extract a good bargain for a just and equitable society, where we will, no doubt, excel.
“Ndigbo need a vast area to thrive. In fact, Nigeria as a country is even a small area for the enterprising spirit of the Igbo, hence our people are scattered all over Africa and are capable of dominating the space,” he stated.
A potential Igbo man, identified as Ekweremadu, whose presentation was entitled: ‘Biafra: The legal, political, economic and social questions,’ warned that unless Igbo leaders take the suggested path, the geo-political zone might lose its friends and sympathisers from other parts of the country.” He said.