The Former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, has said that the greatest honour the political actors could accord the leader of the defunct Republic of Biafra, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, was to build a united, but a restructured and just Nigeria nation which he lived and died for.
He disclosed this in his opening remarks as chairman of the 2nd Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu Memorial Lecture held at the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam, Anambra State this afternoon.
According to him, “From the structural imbalances, which inescapably counts against the South East zone in particular in its voting power at the National Assembly, the distribution of national offices, revenue sharing, and other blessings of democracy such as infrastructure, to the defective federalism that has made it impossible for Ndigbo to fully harness their potentials, Ndigbo have many grounds to be dissatisfied.
“This state of affairs has effectively reared two schools of thought in the South East region on the way forward.
“There are those, mostly the younger Igbo generations, who believe that the best way forward is total separation from the Nigerian state and the actualisation of a sovereign State of Biafra.
“This has resulted in agitations, which got to its crescendo in recent years.
“On the other hand is the school of thought, to which I belong, and which believes that Ndigbo can indeed blossom, actualise their potentials, and be happy in a restructured Nigerian State.
“I elaborated on this in my Position Paper entitled ‘Biafra: The Legal, Political, Economic, and Social Questions’, which I presented at the July 2017 meeting of the highest echelons of Igbo leadership at the height of the pro-Biafra agitations and military operations in the South East region.
“This position resonates with the thoughts of Ezeigbo Gburugburu, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, in the lecture entitled “Nigeria: The Truths that are Self Evident”, which he delivered on February 22, 1994 and was affirmed in the Awka Declaration where Ndigbo affirmed their commitment to a united, but restructured and just Nigeria.
“Ndigbo also proffered a 10-point restructuring template that includes fiscal federalism, devolution of power, structural balance, rotational presidency, among others”.
He also described pan-Nigerian presidents as vital component of rotational presidency.
“Whereas it is important that the Presidency of Nigeria rotates in order to promote justice, equity, and national unity, it is even more that every Nigerian President sees the entire country as his or her constituency and ensure that every part thereof is fairly treated in order to build national loyalty.
“If this becomes the case, the agitation for the Presidency of Nigeria by various parts of the country will abate”, he said.
On immortalising Ojukwu, he stressed: “Ikemba came ahead of his time, he lived ahead of his time, and he died ahead of his time because the laudable visions he longed for are yet to be realised.
“Therefore, our nation and her leaders owe it to the memory of Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu to strengthen Nigeria as a political entity where justice, peace, love, and unity reigns; where national interest is supreme; and where every Nigerian and every part thereof are free and able to actualise their legitimate dreams and aspirations unmolested and irrespective of religious, political, and tribal affiliations and origin.
“This is indeed the greatest honour and tribute he can get from us”.
Ekweremadu emphasised that the dissatisfaction caused by the failure of the Nigerian State to accord the Igbo their rightful place in the body polity had reared two schools of thought, namely pro-secession and pro-restructuring.