Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex socio-political association of the Igbo, rose from a meeting in Enugu on Tuesday with a declaration that Nigeria was not the North’s conquered territory.
Addressing journalists after a National Executive Committee meeting at Ohanaeze Secretariat in Enugu, the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, said northern leaders were acting as if Nigeria was their conquered territory.
Ohanaeze was particularly miffed at the rejection of the recommendations of the 2014 constitutional conference by a group of northern leaders, led by Alhaji Bashir Dalhatu.
“Some northern leaders, in their utterances, give the impression that our nation is their conquered territory. God forbid!
“We should all be joint and equal partners in a common bid to build a united, virile and strong country.
“Not too long ago, a group of northern leaders met in Abuja and through their spokesperson, Alhaji Bashir Dalhatu, made very strong views on the national discourse.
“They first of all distanced themselves from the conclusions of the 2014 constitutional conference, describing their treatment at the conference as intimidating and claiming to have been under-represented and therefore advised the present Federal Government and the National Assembly not to, in any way, take the conclusions of that conference seriously.
“They also condemned any suggestion to restructure the federation, insisting that our present structure must remain.
“The position of the northern leaders in the Abuja meeting when compared to some Federal Government policies give us reason for serious apprehension,” Nwodo said.
The Ohanaeze leader warned that if the North was disassociating itself from the outcome of the confab based on the claim that the region was under-represented, the Igbo would also excuse themselves from the 1979 and 1999 constitutions, which he said were prepared by mostly northern military officers.
Insisting on restructuring, Nwodo observed, “Our federation is out of sync with all known definitions of a federation. The need for restructuring is so obvious when Kano with 9.5 million people has 44 local governments and Lagos with 9.1 million has 20 local governments. Bayelsa has only eight local governments.”
Nwodo added that Ohanaeze was constituting a committee of Senior Advocates of Nigeria of the Ohanaeze states to take the Federal Government to court over the “patently discriminating attitude towards the South-East and the South-South” in presidential appointments.
He hinted that the suit filed by Chief Olisa Agbakoba, (SAN), could be amended to include fresh issues raised by the Ohanaeze.
Nwodo added that Ohanaeze would, in the same vein, challenge the bail conditions given to the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.
He added that the bail conditions were not expected to be met, noting that the government intends to re-arrest Kanu.
“…If he (Kanu) cannot be in the company of more than 10 people, it means he cannot go to church, he cannot travel in a bus or plane carrying more than 10 people. He cannot walk the street lest his presence attracts more than 10 people. The bail condition is a celebrated example of judicial rascality,” Nwodo stressed.
Ohanaeze urged legislators from the South-East, South-South, North-Central and North-East to reject the proposed $5.185bn China EXIM Bank loan due to the exclusion of their zones in the projects the Federal Government intend to fund with the loan.