Okechukwu urges MASSOB, IPOB, Avengers To Sheathe Swords
Okechukwu urges MASSOB, IPOB, Avengers To Sheathe Swords
By Larry Onwuta
The Director General, Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr. Osita Okechukwu has continued to advocate for peace as he called on separatist groups in the country to sheathe their swords and support President Muhammadu Buhari in his efforts to rid the country of corruption.
Okechukwu aligned d himself with President Buhari’s position that if Nigerians fail to kill corruption; corruption will kill Nigeria, for ethnic merchants and religious bigots hide under ethnic and religious fault lines to enrich themselves through practices.
The Director General who spoke in Enugu at a reception organized for him and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama by their kinsmen under the aegis of Ekeh Progressives Forum (EPF).
Top among the groups clamouring to break away from Nigeria are the Movement for Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Niger Delta Avengers and sundry movements.
While conveying his message titled, “True Federalism: Panacea or Placebo to Nigeria’s Paralysis? Eke Town as a Case Study,” at dinner organized as part of the reception, the chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC) blamed greed and corruption for the gross inequality in the country.
The VON DG recalled that President Buhari had in his 2015 Chatham House speech, vividly described this gross inequality in the country as the tiny Island of the affluent in the ocean of misery stressing this before an audience which included former Vice President, Alex Ekwueme and former Senate President, Ken Nnamani
“Corruption in all its ramifications, not just the fleecing of the state fund, includes petty human frailties like jealousy, hate, stereotypes and prejudice. We shall presently return to these two opaque pages of the same epitaph of greed and corruption and commonly misunderstood theme.
“These two opaque pages may help us to show that ethnicity and religion play less crucial roles in our dysfunction than greed and its grandson, corruption. Ethnicity and religion are more of the tools of scavengers and predators. It would amaze us to look closely at our communities, local council areas and zones. We are most likely to find that they are the victims of the cankerworm called corruption.
“Consequently, an honest and pragmatic assessment would surely expose the popular sentiment of True Federalism as an innocuous medication to a paralysis engendered and poisoned by the fangs of corruption. The narrative will also show how ethnic merchants and bigots exploit our weaknesses to advance themselves at the expense of the same tribe or religion for which they claim to fly their flag” Okechukwu said.
According to him, the same corruption was equally responsible for the paralysis in his Ekeh hometown, which shares the same ancestral history, 99 percent Catholics and one Wawa dialect, but yet seriously divided.
Okechukwu also traced the debate on True Federalism from the pre-independence era, to when it exploded in the 1990’s as an unintended consequence of annulment of June 12 presidential election and championed by the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) through PRONACO, its constitutional conference arm.
In the same vine, he noted that at the 23rd commemoration of June 12, PRONACO advocated for Nigeria’s restructuring based on democratic self determination and citizens ownership of the constitution and urged the Federal to set up a technical committee to navigate concrete strategy for reconciliation and stability in the country in tandem with the spirit of June 12.
The former spokesman of South-East APC leadership caucus recalled that when democracy returned in 1999, dubbed the fourth republic, in deft moves spiced with patriotic enlightenment national interest, the Northern elite zoned the presidency to the South and Chief Olesegun Obasanjo emerged the President under Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) platform.
“A cursory analysis of the eight-year tenure of Chief Obasanjo revealed unfortunately how the regime did not improve the lives of Nigerians inspite of the unprecedented oil windfall, which at a certain point sky-roofed to $145 per barrel. The regimes record was that a few billionaires were created and more people descended to abject poverty. No doubt, this was occasioned by a nebulous economic policy, which held that the State has no business in business, and that the private sector is key to development.'
“It happened that the captains of industry which the regime heavily relied upon were mainly those with no factories, but peddlers on petrol dollars. The outcome was a renewed agitation for True Federalism, especially with more people impoverished, hopes lost, and to add salt to injury like other African-Big-Men, the high chief sought the infamous capital intensive third term agenda that was later aborted to the joy of most Nigerians.”
The DG VON however stated that the succession or third term gambit created unimaginable state of anomie, despondency and despair on Nigerians who had viewed democracy as a prelude to a state of Eldorado, stating that that the successive regimes, “instead of prudently and transparently managing the Excess Crude Account and Foreign Reserves inherited from the Obasanjo regime and their own accruals, further eroded the confidence of Nigerians more on the Federal Government than on the state and local councils.”
Okechukwu also regretted that not more than 10 out of the 36 states of the federation operate democratically elected local governments as stipulated by Section 7 of 1999 constitution of Nigeria as amended, even as the few that claim to run democratically elected councils do so in less than transparent manner.
He assured that President Muhamadu Buhari was bent on bestowing to Nigerians the action plan of APC, to plug leakages which accelerate corruption, recover looted funds and cap and trim unwarranted allowances to public office holders.
The former vice chancellor and the Chairman of EPF, Professor Bartho Okolo thanked the President for finding the two illustrious sons of Eke town worthy for Federal appointment and enjoined the honorees to be good ambassadors of Eke, a community known for excellence, integrity and selflessness.
Okechukwu and Onyeama were later hosted to a civic reception at Eke Central School on Saturday, with Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi as the Chief Guest of Honour.