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VON DG Urges Niger Delta Avengers, MASSOB, IPOB, To Sheathe their Swords

osita okechukwu

ENUGU, NIGERIA (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Mr. Osita Okechukwu,the  Director General, Voice of Nigeria (VON) over the weekend renewed his call on members of the Niger Delta Avengers, Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB and Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB in Nigeria to sheath their swords for the interest on the nation.

He stressed the need for the separatist groups to support the President Muhammadu Buhari, led federal government in his efforts to rid the Nigerian nation of corruption which has been the bane of her development.

The VON boss however, subscribed to Mr Buhari’s position that if Nigerians fail to kill corruption; corruption will kill Nigeria, for ethnic merchants and religious bigots hide under ethnic and religious fault lines to corruptly enrich themselves.

Speaking in Enugu at a reception put together for him and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, by their kinsmen under the auspices of Ekeh Progressives Forum (EPF), Okechukwu, insisted that president Buhari meant well for the nation.

Delivering a speech entitled, “True Federalism: Panacea or Placebo to Nigeria’s Paralysis? Eke Town as a Case Study,” at the event, Okechukwu, blamed greed and corruption for the gross inequality in Nigeria.

The VON DG, recalled that President Buhari had in his 2015 Chatham House speech, vividly described this gross inequality in the country as the tiny Island of the affluent in the ocean of misery.

He said: “Corruption in all its ramifications, not just the fleecing of the state fund, includes petty human frailties like jealousy, hate, stereotypes and prejudice.

“We shall presently return to these two opaque pages of the same epitaph of greed and corruption and commonly misunderstood theme.

“These two opaque pages may help us to show that ethnicity and religion play less crucial roles in our dysfunction than greed and its grandson, corruption.

According to him, Ethnicity and religion are more of the tools of scavengers and predators. It would amaze us to look closely at our communities, local council areas and zones. We are most likely to find that they are the victims of the cankerworm called corruption.

“Consequently, an honest and pragmatic assessment would surely expose the popular sentiment of
True Federalism as an innocuous medication to a paralysis engendered and poisoned by the fangs of corruption.

“The narrative will also show how ethnic merchants and bigots exploit our weaknesses to advance themselves at the expense of the same tribe or religion for which they claim to fly their flag” he stated.

Okechukwu noted that same corruption was equally responsible for the paralysis in his Ekeh hometown, which shares the same ancestral history, 99 percent Catholics and one Wawa dialect, but yet seriously divided.

He however, traced the debate on True Federalism from the pre-independence era, to when it exploded in the 1990’s as an unintended consequence of annulment of June 12 presidential election and championed by the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) through PRONACO, its constitutional conference arm.

The VON helmsman, noted that at the 23rd commemoration of June 12, PRONACO advocated for Nigeria’s restructuring based on democratic self-determination and citizens ownership of the constitution and urged the Federal to set up a technical committee to navigate concrete strategy for reconciliation and stability in the country in tandem with the spirit of June 12.

He recalled that when democracy returned in 1999, dubbed the fourth republic, in deft moves spiced with patriotic enlightenment national interest, the Northern elite zoned the presidency to the South and Chief Olesegun Obasanjo emerged the President under Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) platform.

“A cursory analysis of the eight-year tenure of Chief Obasanjo revealed unfortunately how the regime did not improve the lives of Nigerians inspite of the unprecedented oil windfall, which at a certain point sky-roofed to $145 per barrel.

“The regimes record was that a few billionaires were created and more people descended to abject poverty, no doubt, this was occasioned by a nebulous economic policy, which held that the State has no business in business, and that the private sector is key to development.’

“It happened that the captains of industry which the regime heavily relied upon were mainly those with no factories, but peddlers on petrol dollars.

“The outcome was a renewed agitation for True Federalism, especially with more people impoverished, hopes lost, and to add salt to injury like other African-Big-Men, the high chief sought the infamous capital intensive third term agenda that was later aborted to the joy of most Nigerians.”

In his speech, immediate past Vice Chancellor,(VC) University of Nigeria, UNN Nsukka, and Chairman of EPF, Professor Bartho Okolo, had thanked the President for finding the two illustrious sons of Eke town worthy for Federal appointment and enjoined the honorees to be good ambassadors of the community.

The event was attended by ex-Nigerian Vice president, Dr. Alex Ekwueme former Senate president, Chief Ken Nnamani, former Governor of Anambra state, Mr. Peter Obi, among other dignitaries.

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