The former National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, yesterday, said Igbo elites have been trying to tune down the rhetorics of Nnamdi Kanu to achieve a restructured Nigeria.
Nwodo who was also the former governor of Enugu State and national secretary of PDP equally told Vanguard in an exclusive interview that a restructured Nigeria would provoke diverse socio-economic development of different regions in Nigeria.
He further urged Nigeria to give South East a chance to produce the president of the country in 2023, adding that anything short of that would make the region to fight for her freedom, adding that Igbo elites believe in ‘One Nigeria’ where justice and fair-play would be the order of the day.
He said: “What the Indiginous People of Biafra, IPoB, is saying is what every Igbo man knows to be true. Nnamdi Kanu has taken the problems of the Igbos to the international arena. The Igbo elites are saying that Nigeria is better for us because we need a wider market to operate.
“Secondly, we are a major stakeholder in this Nigerian enterprise. Therefore, the Igbo elites have been trying to tune down the rhetorics of Kanu in order to negotiate a restructured Nigeria; that is our primary ambition, that Nigeria be restructured along the lines of the first republic. If Nigeria is restructured, we can develop at our own pace. Under Michael Okpara premiership, Eastern Nigeria was the fastest growing economy in the world and we can repeat that feat. If Nigeria is restructured, we can create a Dubai in Nigeria and I am sure that the zones in the north can do better than Netherlands which earns more in agriculture than Nigeria has ever earned by crude oil. Middle-belt will do a lot better with the amount of mineral deposits in their place.
“So, a restructured Nigeria will wake up the Nigerian economy because there would be mutual competition and each region would be doing as good as they were doing in the first republic; agriculture will come back, mineral resources will come back and crude oil which is now dwindling and not so attractive again would still be there.
“The focus of the elites in Igboland is restructuring. We believe that this marginalisation which has been going on for over 50 years after the war will be a thing of the past. I think it is about time Nigeria has a second thinking about it and if they do, in every considerable fairness, it is the turn of the South East Nigeria to produce a president for the country. Other zones have done so, why not the South East? Are we still being punished for the war?
“What we are saying is that if we would not be allowed to be president of Nigeria, and if marginalisation must go on, it reduces us to second-class citizens and slaves in our own country, the only thing available to us is to fight for our independence and freedom. The cry for restructuring is global in Nigeria now, and if South East is continuously marginalised after 2023, I am not sure that any zone in Nigeria, especially, South West, South South and Middle Belt will feel comfortable in continuing in a country called Nigeria.
“If the man who is so badly marginalised cannot be assuaged, then, where is the hope for Nigeria when weighed on the anvil of equity? The country felt that the West were injured by the annulment of June 12 election and they zoned the presidency to the South West and they stopped their agitation for the creation of Oduduwa State and remained in Nigeria and started making investment at Abuja. Why is the one of the Igbos different? We are just saying that if Nigeria does not want us, there is an alternative and that alternative is for us to go and take care of ourselves.
“Every group that wants to succeed in life must have a pressure group. I see Nnamdi Kanu as a pressure group and I see the Igbo elites as patriots who believe in ‘One Nigeria’ as long as it is an equitable, fair and just Nigeria. Kanu is simply saying, if you don’t want to listen to our elders and elites, then, let us break away.”