Nigeria’s current situation requires that leaders and other credible personalities in various parts of the nation should speak out to consolidate national unity and avert division being canvassed by separatist and unpatriotic elements, Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege has said.
Speaking during the visit of members of the Movement for the Creation of Adada State to his office on Wednesday, Senator Omo-Agege commended its leaders, including former President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo for supporting the cause of Nigeria’s unity, adding that their nationalistic viewpoints should be further projected across the federation to dispel separatist elements’ anarchic calls.
In his brief remarks, Chief Nwodo noted that while no non-Igbo Nigerian has built hospitals or other major investments in the South East, many of the 12. 5 million Igbo people in the North have houses and major investments there, adding that in the past, both the federal executive and legislative arms had disappointed the pan-Igbo consensus on the need for creation of Adada State.
Both Chief Nwodo and Senator Utazi Chukwuka emphasized that the demand for Adada state has far much more unique supporting facts than any other and urged the Senate Committee on the review of the 1999 Constitution chaired by Senator Omo-Agege to do all it can towards the reation of Adada state in the South East.
In his response, Senator Ovie omo-Agege commended the Adada movement for building solid consensus at home and urged them to reach out energetically towards federal legislators from other parts of the federation, especially in view of current necessity for nationalistic voices across the federation to work in concert.
“Igbos see Nigeria as one country and in fact, there is no ethnic nationality that believes more in Nigerian statehood; you did a good job in your capacity as President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and I want to appeal to you that in these perilous times, we need leadership from people like you in all parts of the federation to rally the country together.
“Because of whom you are and because of your pedigree, we want people to listen more to the voice of an Nnia Nwodo than the voice of those asking for separation; we want to appeal for you to please use your prior position and name to encourage dialogue among all ethnic nationalities.
“Frankly, it is very disheartening when we hear commands and instructions from elements in the citizenry, asking people to leave their communities; it is the criminal elements who are committing violent crimes, it does not matter where they are from, whether they are Ibos, Urhobos, Yoruba, Hausas or whatever, the criminal elements are criminals and it is the job of everybody to fish them out wherever they are and let us get rid of them from our communities but this should not be an ethnic cleansing.
“Section 43 of the Nigerian constitution is very clear about the fact that we all have a right to live wherever we chose within the boundaries of this country and people should not be discriminated against because of their ethnic origins because nobody elected to come from any tribe, it is just where God made us to come from.
“So, please let all of us join hands to fish out those criminal elements whether they are herdsmen, bandits or whatever but this should not be seen in the context of ethnic nationalities because there are good people in every ethnic nationality just the way you have very bad people too in every ethnic nationality.
“We should all be united in exposing the bad elements irrespective of where they come from and getting them arrested and prosecuted while law-abiding people should be further encouraged to be good citizens wherever they reside. We need your voice on that Sir,” Senator Omo-Agege explained.
Speaking further on the ongoing constitution review exercise, Senator Omo-Agege stressed federal lawmakers’ commitment to ensure its success.
“We take this exercise very seriously and we are now working towards a deadline; we intend to take reports before both chambers of the National Assembly before we go for the summer recess and state creation is one of the ten priority items that we selected.
“I thank you for all the facts that you conveyed as to the seriousness of your demands, we are serious about state creation and we are going to be more guided in looking at those state-creation requests that were approved or recommended by the 2014 national confab report; we are also relying on other documents such as the El-Rufai committee report on restructuring and several bills that have come before the Senate.
“Let me also say this: creating a state under Nigeria’s current constitution is not a tea party; you alluded to the fact that you may not have the strongest lobbying capacities or infrastructure but I appeal that you strengthen your lobbying because what I personally think as the chairman of the Constitution Review Committee does not matter as much as the fact that this matter will come before all Senators at the plenary and everyone will have a say, subject to the public hearings that we are also going to have.
“I am glad that in your own case, consensus appears already been built at home and across the entire South East geo-political zone in support of this (state-creation) request; so, I think it makes our job easier and I want to give a commitment that we’ll do all we can to support this exercise, subject to your team reaching out to our colleagues in the Senate and the House of Representatives,” Senator Omo-Agege stated.