A meeting of concerned Igbo elders, traditional rulers, and stake holders was held in Lagos yesterday Thursday 17th Dec. 2015.
This meeting convened at the instance of Deputy Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Senator Ike Ekweremadu C.F.R, was to review the position of Ndigbo in Nigeria in the light of ongoing public protest by youths mainly of the South East, requesting for Biafra. The meeting was chaired by Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe GCON (former Chief of General Staff) and was attended by over 60 key Igbo opinion leaders.
Some of those who were in attendance are Former Governor of Anambra State Peter Obi, senator Hope uzodinma, Prof ABC Nwosu, Ebitu Ukiwe, George Obiozor, Senator Obi (Ojeligbo), Ike ekweremadu, Prof Nwabueze, Chief Joseph Ikunna, Oscar Onwudinwe, senators, and highly influential traditional rulers.
1). The meeting was of the view that Ndigbo are dissatisfied with the way they are unfairly treated in Nigeria. Ndigbo also noted that Nigeria was a negotiated federation of three regions in 1960, and our fore fathers played a major role in bringing it to be. In the first republic, all constituent regions, had their separate constitutions and had a say in the exercise of central power in Nigeria. Ditto in the second republic.
In the third republic when Alliance for Democracy (AD) dominated in the South West geo-political zone, the then P.D.P President Olusegun Obasanjo made deliberate efforts to bring in A.D and A.P.P Ministers into his government . The Southwest was NOT PUNISHED for voting A.D. That was statesmanship and nation building in action.
2. It is not in doubt that Ndigbo are nation builders, found all over Nigeria, earning their living and helping to develop the communities in which they are domiciled. Ndigbo do not have an empire mentality and do not wish to dominate any other tribe and would not want to be dominated either. Ndigbo would never accept to be second class citizens in a country in which their fore-fathers laboured along within others to bring into being and to develop.
The current problem seems to Ndigbo to stem from the fact that Ndigbo would never be tired of speaking out and protesting against injustice and inequity in Nigeria. For as Elie Wiesel said,
“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest against injustice”.
3). Ndigbo have reviewed the ongoing street and public protest by the youths, calling for Biafra, and are of the considered opinion that these are outward expressions of the psychological and physical pains arising from the current exclusion of the South East geo-political zone from the critical decision making organs of governance of the country and this should be addressed and redressed.
Consequently, Ndigbo strongly recommend:
That dialogue be embraced in other to remedy the situation.
That all public protest should be stopped. And more importantly, the public protests should not be exported.
Ndigbo are deeply saddened by the loss of lives arising from the protest and urge that these be stopped immediately. Enough Igbo blood have been spilled in Nigeria.
4). To facilitate the immediate initiation of dialogue to remedy the current intolerable situation in Nigeria, we reiterate the advice given to the Federal government by Ohaneze Ndigbo, which is to treat the continued detention of Mr Nnamdi Kanu (the Director/Owner of Radio Biafra) as a political rather than criminal matter. We understand from news flashes that the courts today 17th December, 2015 ordered his immediate release. We await his release.
Ndigbo participated actively with other Nigerians in the 2014 national conference, under the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Idris kutigi. We see the reports of that conference as a veritable document to anchor the proposed dialogue towards the restoration of Nigeria to true federalism which our founding fathers negotiated for prior to independence in 1960. Ndigbo stand firmly on the implementation of the key recommendations of that conference.
The meeting rose affirming that it stands for, believes in and supports the unity of Nigeria founded on justice and equity.