Nigeria at 56: Why Ndigbo are advocating referendum
Prominent Ndigbo of the South East geopolitical zone have called for referendum or a sovereign National Conference to decide the fate of the race in Nigeria.
They also insisted that such submission should be the only and most suitable gift for the country as it celebrates its 56 years of perpetual slavery.
Former Ohanaeze Ndigbo President General, Dr Dozie Ikedife told the Niche that this year’s independent anniversary offers the country the opportunity to redefine its unity and status as a country, insisting that while the various ethnic groups clamour for self-actualization, President Muhammadu Buhari should also consider other options of referendum or sovereign National Conference for the tribes to decide whether to remain as Nigerian or not.
“We had a similar situation in Scotland and though they lost through a slim margin, it to a large extent sent the correct message. The Presidency should use this opportunity to allow Nigerians to agree or disagree to stay together.
“He has an option of calling for a referendum or a sovereign National Conference. This is because we as Ndigbo have seen fifty six years of trepidation and total subjugation and fifty six years of perpetual slavery.
“That also explains why our matter is at the International Court of Justice under the umbrella of Indigenes People of Biafra (IPOB). By the United Nations Chatter, the Biafrans are free to have a country of its own and this is what we want to achieve through legal and legitimate means.
“What is there to celebrate when most of the companies and industries under the nose of successive administrations in Nigeria have closed. It is only in this part of Nigeria that unemployment rate is the highest and we are the worst victims of ethnic segregation and people are asking us to celebrate. Celebrate what?” he said.
Also, first republic Aviation Minister, Chief Mbazinke Amaechi, added more steam into Ikedife’s rage when he described the 56th year anniversary of Nigeria as shattered dreams.
His words: “Where do you want to start? Is it the unity and homogeneity of Nigeria? Is it the dilapidation of our basic infrastructure and social security? Is it the greed and selfishness of those that claim to be managing our affairs as leaders.
“Every year people ask me to comment and all that I say every year goes to nothing. That means that the Nigeria that people like us fought for is in the blink of collapse because we keep talking about the same problem and the issue with Nigeria.
“The worst hit is Ndigbo and sometimes I wonder if we are still accepted into the county’s hall of tribes. Virtually, every policy every pronouncement is tilted towards dealing with Ndigbo. That means that we are not wanted and this is unfortunate. When you look at the ministry appointment of President Buhari, you will discover that positions given to Ndigbo are nothing to write home about. Science and technology minister; Miniter of Labour and Employment so that we shall continue to be at war with the labour union.
“Then an ex-vice chancellor of a university and Professor of Education is appointed a junior minister while someone who is not on ground is appointed a senior minister and you tell me that we are together.
“It is said that I am beginning to subscribe to the demand of Ndigbo to find an alternative to what we have now. We made sure that Nigeria remains one but it appears that we are not part of the Nigeria that would remain one.
“it is better we define our status in this country or better still let the Federal Government provide for those issues that have continued to question the basic foundation of the country’s existence in the interest of peace and one Nigeria”.
The general of the defunct Biafran Armed Forces, Chief Joe Achusia alias Air Raid told the Niche that despite the civil war Nigeria is yet to learn its lessons, adding that issues that brought about the civil war still persist.
“Why did we go to war? It is because of all these things that are happening today. Biafran Republic was declared due to the ethnic sentiments in the country yet Nigeria is yet to learn their lessons.
“I do not support another war but for government to do its duty of providing for the masses those basic amenities irrespective of political party, religion and ethnic interest. “We are all Nigerians we should be treated the same way.
“So when you talk about fifty six years of independence, I can simply say that our people are still on the receiving and at ethic division and nepotism and that explains why some people are complaining.
“The Federal Government should get it right this time and it is not by celebrating fifty six years of our nationhood by ensuring that this country does not disintegrate under their watch.”