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Monday, 13 June 2016

Ekwueme, Adebanjo, Gana, Ezeife, others advocate regional govt

ENUGU—Former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Prof. Jerry Gana, were among other  eminent Nigerians, yesterday, in Enugu, who asked the Federal Government to implement the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference to minimise crises in the country. Others, who spoke in the same vein, included the former governors of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife and Mr. Peter Obi, as well as the founder of the Igbo Youth Movement, IYM, Evangelist Elliot Uko, the National Chairperson of the Igbo Women Assembly, Chief Marie Okwo and the National Leader of the Niger Delta Self- Determination Movement, NDSDM, Mrs. Annkio Briggs. They spoke during the 17th  Annual Convention of the IYM at Nike Lake Resort Hotel with the theme, ‘Nigeria still in pursuit of true fiscal federalism.’ Adebanjo and Gana, who were given the ‘Great National Icon’ in recognition of their consistent contribution for national growth, said that the country should go back to the 1963 Constitution, which provided for independent regions annexed to the Federal Government at the centre. Others who were also given awards included Mrs. Briggs, and the detained Nnamdi Kanu, among others. 
award: The  former governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi( right), receiving from Dr. Alex Ekwueme (left), the Igbo Youth Movement 'Best Governor Ever' award, at Nike Lake Hotel, Enugu, yesterday. 
Award: The  former governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi( right), receiving from Dr. Alex Ekwueme (left), the Igbo Youth Movement ‘Best Governor Ever’ award, at Nike Lake Hotel, Enugu, yesterday. 

Briggs said that the country was so-lopsidedly run that the Federal Government, which should depend on taxes from the regions was  giving the crumbs to the very regions which fed it fat. She also lampooned the Federal Government for threatening to destroy Gbaramatu community in the Niger Delta Region if the people of the area failed to produce Government Ekpemupolo, a.k.a. General Tompolo over alleged civil offence of contractual agreements while turning a deaf ear to those, who beheaded an Igbo woman in Kano for alleged blasphemy. According to her, the Federal Government should ask both the governor and Emir of Kano to produce the killers of the Igbo woman in their domain instead of purportedly arresting  suspects for the heinous offence. “A governor blasphemed Jesus Christ in the north, but he is still serving in that office today. Blasphemy is not part of our national law. How can the ruling government say that it will work for 95 per cent of Nigerians, who voted for it with the resources from the five per cent that did not vote for it? We are asking for resource control. “They are angry that the Avengers are blowing up oil pipelines while IPOB is demonstrating, but Boko Haram and herdsmen are killing people. In their various speeches, both Adebanjo, Ekwueme, Marie Okwo, Prof Gana and Ezeife said that the last National Constitutional Conference recommended the creation of 18 more new states because of their belief that the country should run on six geographical structures based on equity and fairplay. Ekwueme said it was wrong for the old Kano State to have 72 local governments while Lagos which was the most populated had 24, adding that it was time to go back to regional government as bargained by our leaders before independence, pointing out that the six zonal structure took care of the big tribes and the minorities equally. According to him, even the defunct regional governments had agents-general in London, to enable them attract foreign investors. Peter Obi in his contribution debunked the notion that most of the existing 36 states were not viable to pay salaries, pointing out that the main reason why states cannot pay salaries was because the governors were living beyond their means.