Igbo Leaders Decry Lack Of True Federalism, Advocate For RegionalismLatest News, News From The State Friday, July 4th, 2014
From Ignatius Okpara, Enugu
Ndigbo Consultative Assembly – a body of prominent Igbo leaders on Friday decried lack of true federalism in the country and advocated for regionalism.
In a 10 point communique which was signed by the President- General of apex Igbo socio – cultural organization, Ohaneze Ndigbo, Gary Enwo-Igariwey, Archbishop Emmanuel Chukwuma, representing south eastern zone of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), after its meeting in Enugu, the group noted that “the decay of true federalism was the immediate cause of anger, disaffection and upsurge of insurrections in every zone of the Federal Republic”.
The meeting opined that the only veritable way to win terror campaigns and conquer insecurity created by militia groups such as the Odu’a People’s Congress (OPC), MEND and Boko Haram “is to give back to every zone the power and authority to exercise political, fiscal and economic autonomy within their own domain”.
While noting that the national conference has degenerated into a showdown between federalists and those who profited from the banal distortions of the federal system, it declared that “the campaign to give back political and fiscal autonomy to the federating units was not a conspiracy to punish the North and deprive that region of the benefits of Nigerian oil and gas revenues”.
The meeting further noted that many Southern states have no oil and gas stressing “true federalism should not impoverish any state or zone nor render any zone too poor to discharge its statutory obligations”
To correct this misunderstanding, the Igbo leaders called for the establishing of an “expert revenue and allocations review commission to map out acceptable guidelines”.
The South eastern leaders also received a position paper on behalf of the conveners of the meeting. In it, they noted that the initiators had shown that the foundation of true principles of federalism had been laid by the founding fathers of the country such as Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Sir Ahmadu Bello and Chief Obafemi Awolowo in the historic May 10 to 19, 1960 London Conference.
“Those principles negotiated and adopted unanimously by all delegates who represented all Nigerian political parties and the ethnic nationalities, recognized the political and cultural pluralism of the nation and agreed that unfettered powers and authority should be given in matters of administration, finance, economic development and cultural life to the three federating regions.
“The meeting also resolved to reaffirm the principles of the founding fathers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and agreed to stay the course until a constitution similar in character to the constitutions of India and Germany and the United States of America; a constitution which gives its component states structural power to contribute to a great tidal wave of national activity, is restored in the nation.”
They noted the “creation of 36 states in the Federal Republic was a military aberration”.
”The structure which imposed upon the nation was not negotiated nor was it ever endorsed by civil society. It was unfair and skewed to promote the hegemony of those who imposed it on the nation. It was in effect an abrogation of federalism”, the paper stated.
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