The new President of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, John Nnia Nwodo has thrown his weight behind the current struggle for the emancipation of Ndigbo.
This follows repeated cries of marginalisation by the people of South-East, with the Indigenous People of Biafra, (IPOB), and the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, (MASSOB) at the forefront of struggle for their liberation.
Nwodo, who delivered his inaugural press briefing at the Ohanaeze secretariat in Enugu also blasted President Muhammadu Buhari over what he termed abysmal representation of Ndigbo in the current Federal Government.
He said the on-going agitations for Biafra were caused by the ceaseless marginalisation of Ndigbo.
While slamming Buhari for throwing the Nigerian constitution to the mud as it relates the Federal Character principle, he said: “Under the current federal government, Igbo representation is abysmal and fall extremely short of the constitutional provisions for the reflection of federal character in the appointment into important government positions.
“No arm of government namely, the Executive, the Judiciary or the Legislature is headed by an Igbo. No section of the Armed forces or parliamentary organisation is headed by an Igbo.
“Neither the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal nor the Federal High Court is headed by an Igbo. We know in the history of this country when a lieutenant colonel was appointed to the position of Chief of General Staff over and above his superiors just to ensure ethnic balance.
“We know when a Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation was appointed Chief Justice of Nigeria just to ensure ethnic balance. We know when a former military head of State was drafted to run for President just to douse ethnic tensions.
“What is very perturbing is the
declaration of Mr. President that his appointment must favour the states that voted overwhelmingly for him and those he trusts even against the provisions of our constitution relating to federal character. No wonder he defied the zoning structure of his party and appointed a non-Igbo man as Secretary to Government of the Federation. No wonder the ministries with lean capital votes are the ones assigned to Ndigbo.
“No wonder he nominated ambassadors for confirmation to the National Assembly, naming three ambassadors for some states and only one ambassador for each of the Igbo states. No wonder one year and eight months into his tenure as President, he has not visited any Igbo state.
“No railway construction is going on in Igbo land. The Enugu/Port Harcourt and Enugu/Onitsha Expressways have become national embarrassment. State Governors in Igbo states now rehabilitate federal roads in Igbo land from their lean budgets so as to keep alive mobility of factors of production.
Whereas 70 per cent of power generated in China is from coal and 40 per cent of America’s power is from coal, the coal in Enugu, which is a federal resource continues to lie unexploited. Ebonyi State continues to bring up the rear in federally allocated resources in spite of its mineral endowments of salt and lead.
“To make matters worse, on Tuesday, October 25, 2016, the President presented a $29.9 billion three year External Borrowing Plan to the National Assembly, which will potentially raise our total external debt to $41 billion in three years and raise our debt to GDP ratio from 13.3 per cent to 20.7 per cent without considering it fit to allocate a single project in this external borrowing plan to the South-East.
On the Biafra struggle, he had this to say about organisations (the IPOB and the MASSOB), “no matter how divided they appear in public are basically motivated by the same sense of outrage and bitterness. Our young men and women can no longer tolerate a second class status in their own country.
“They can no longer forgive the President for arguing before he came into office that Niger Delta militants were meekly treated and tolerated by President Yar’Adua while Boko Haram was harshly treated by President Jonathan, when his law enforcement agents literally open fire and maim and kill unarmed members MASSOB and IPOB members. This is a ticking time bomb.”
“As President of Ohanaeze, I intend to extend my warm hand of paternity to IPOB and MASSOB. They are my children. I shall never desert them. Their struggle is my struggle”, he further stated adding that this was an era of “a sustained and active fight for the restructuring of our federation, an ear of a strong and all involving Ohanaeze.
“On my part, I promise that I shall stand up for you; I will fight for you; I am ready to sacrifice for you and if necessary die for you.”