South-East Assembles Lawyers To Sue FG, Demands Creation Of 6th State

Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, the President General of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, has announced plans for the Southeast to take legal action against the Nigerian government over the marginalization of the region in the creation of states. Speaking on Wednesday at a one-day retreat of Ohanaeze Ndigbo themed “Ako bu ije” in Enugu, Iwuanyanwu reiterated his demand for additional states for the Southeast.

Expressing concern over the economic losses incurred by the region due to this disparity, Iwuanyanwu emphasized the unfairness of the Northwest having seven states while other regions have six, with the Southeast having only five states. He disclosed that a team of Igbo lawyers is being mobilized to initiate legal proceedings against the federal government to demand both additional states and compensation for the trillions of Naira lost by the Igbo people due to the unequal distribution of states.

In addition to addressing state creation, Iwuanyanwu reiterated Ohanaeze Ndigbo’s support for the amendment of the 1999 constitution. He advocated for a restructuring of power and resources allocation, proposing that authority and resources be decentralized to the state governments. This approach, he argued, would enable each region to develop at its own pace, particularly in their respective local government areas. He reaffirmed Ohanaeze Ndigbo’s endorsement of the “Awka Declaration” made in January 2018, which outlines their position on constitutional reforms and regional development.

“A team of Igbo lawyers are being assembled to drag the federal government to court to ask for extra state and also demand the trillions of Naira Igbos have lost because they’ve lesser number of states,” he said.

On the call for the amendment of the 1999 constitution, the Ohanaeze chief said that Igbos support the dissolution of power and allocations to be shared between the federal and state governments alone and for every region to develop at its pace in their various local government areas.

“So no constitutional amendment can be made without bringing Igbos to par with other regions in state creation,” he said.

Speaking on other issues affecting Ndịgbo, he said that efforts were being made to stop the hawking of awards with the names of late prominent Igbo sons.

He also issued a stern warning to those who have turned the name of Ohanaeze Ndigbo into a money-making venture and assured that he will use everything he has to protect the integrity of Igbos, adding that he won’t allow rascals to destroy what Igbos stand for.

In his speech, the chairman of the occasion and former military Governor of the old Anambra and the old Imo states, Admiral Allison Madueke said it was time for Igbo people to take a step backwards and rebuild the movement because any movement without tact will fail.

The former Chief of Naval Staff of the Nigerian Armed Forces added that Igbo people need to ask themselves where they missed their step and begin to make amends to achieve better results.

In a communique issued at the end of the retreat, the Igbo leaders resolved that Ndigbo have the enormous human and natural potential to initiate a “made-to-fit” regional development agenda that aligns with the current global reality; but also observed that Ndigbo had not exploited the opportunistic media space to identify the power centres in the region and galvanise them for collective action.

The communique reads in part, “The various specialized Ohanaeze Committees were therefore urged to swing into action to ensure the realization of the new Igbo agenda in sync with 21st Century socio-economic realities.

“The Igbo leaders also resolved that insecurity in the Southeast is a major hindrance to the development of the region and urged the southeast governors, security agencies and civil society organizations to redouble efforts in the security sector.

“The general consensus here is that the provision of security will unlock our great potential, especially in agriculture. The Retreat also resolved to intensify its drive for the unconditional release of the detained leader of IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.

“The Igbo leaders emphasized the imperative of collaboration between Ohanaeze leadership and Igbo Governors for the realization of Ala-Igbo Transformation Agenda.

“The retreat also harped on the capacity of Ndigbo for self-sufficiency in food production and urged the Igbo Governors to key into this vision and also ensure tight security in the region to earn the confidence of intending investors.

“The Igbo leaders also endorsed the proposed N10 billion Naira Endowment Fund from the Igbo in the Diaspora to give Ohanaeze a reasonable degree of financial stability.”