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‘Quit order, a rare chance to renegotiate Nigeria’

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Ifeanyichukwu Okonkwo

Rights activist and convener of Movers for the Voice of Democracy (MOVERS), Ifeanyichukwu Okonkwo, has described the quit order from some Arewa youths groups on Igbo as a golden opportunity to renegotiate Nigeria. In an interview with The Guardian, Okonkwo said Nigeria, particularly the Igbo and citizens from southern part of the country “lost three critical openings for renegotiating Nigeria.

“The first time was in the surrender document by Major-General Phillip Effiong and co., a very prominent Igbo, Sir Louis Mbanefo, disagreed with the draft and tone of that document that they should not hand over a blanket surrender.

“Late Sir Mbanefo disagreed with the groups that drafted the article of surrender, saying that it should be an opportunity to guarantee regional government. That was why he was not part of the delegation that went to surrender.”

Okonkwo said a second opportunity presented itself during the Consultative Assembly set up by General Olusegun Obasanjo, pointing out that while Obasanjo gave a guideline containing no-go areas; he informed Nigerians that the country was changing to a presidential system of government. The activist regretted that no Igbo man in CA interrogated the military on why the country was moving away from the regional constitution that Nigeria had as a federal state.

According to him, “Another opportunity was during the consummation of the accord between National Party of Nigeria (NPN) and Nigeria Peoples Party (NPP). No Igbo man had formed a party in Nigeria except Chief Chekwas Okorie. In that particular amalgam of NPN/NPP, Igbo lost an opportunity to renegotiate Nigeria, because, while Chief Alex Ekwueme was the Vice-President in the executive, Edwin Ume Ezoke was the Speaker of House of Representatives.

“More so, another southerner, who fought the war, Joseph Wayas, was President of the Senate. Our people were interested in offices and we lost a great opportunity to renegotiate Nigeria.”

Okonkwo therefore called on professional groups and the business class of Igbo extraction to extend the quit notice to the rest of northern Nigeria adding, “Every Igbo person working in every federal parastatal should retain his tool of office, return to their region to let us renegotiate Nigeria. International community will assist us; we should not lose this God-given opportunity.

“I am calling on Igbo, this is the time for us to redefine Nigeria. I am also calling on Nigerians to recognize that Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe messed up the first opportunity noticed by Chief Obafemi Awolowo before independence, by asking us to wait for the north.”


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