An Address Presented by James Eze, Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Anambra State at the Law & Economics Summit organized by the Law Students Association of the University of Nigeria (UNEC) on April 28, 2018.
I find it infinitely pleasant to have been invited to address such a youthful audience at a time when the Nigerian youths have become the topic of conversation. I sincerely couldn’t have hoped for a better time to be here.
There’s so much despair, so much pent-up anger and so much disenchantment among the youths that I personally think that the political class should engage the youths more. We must find time to speak to you, to counsel you, to share our experience with you. Perhaps, that way, we may avoid a repeat of the horrors of Libya and the bloated bodies floating in silent indictment on the Mediterranean Sea. And this is why I think that the Law Students Association of the University of Nigeria deserves an applause, no, an “accolade,” for organizing this Summit.
Now, I have been advised to speak on the important skills and staying power needed to succeed as an economic leader in Nigeria and beyond and I consider it a very timely topic for obvious reasons. But I also think that it is one topic that requires a very tactical approach in order to distil its various fragments down for easy absorption. It is for this reason that I seriously think that to even talk about the skills we need to survive, we must first understand the geo-political space called Nigeria. So, just how well do we know Nigeria?
Well, I don’t know what anyone thinks but to me, Nigeria has always been a fascinating mosaic of dreams and nightmare, hope and despair and of course promise and fail! Nigeria can be whatever you want it to be. It is difficult to describe Nigeria. Nigeria offers diversity in a manner that other countries cannot fathom. Nigeria’s diversity is quite often the reason why it is difficult to describe her. Apparently struck by Nigeria’s immense diversity and her deep fissures, one of the founding fathers, Chief Obafemi Awolowo is reported to have described Nigeria in 1947 as ‘a mere geographical expression.’ Speaking in the same year, another founding father who eventually became Nigeria’s first Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa had also dismissively observed that “Since the amalgamation of Southern and Northern provinces in 1914 Nigeria has existed as one country only on paper …. It is still far from being united. Nigeria’s unity is only a British intention for the country.”
Lions and Lionesses, these comments were made in 1947. That was thirteen years before Independence. But has anything really changed about Nigeria since then?
In trying to understand Nigeria too, it is also important to understand the dominant passions that ruled the hearts of our founding fathers at a time when it would be fair to assume that the struggle for independence hard started to gather steam. It may be startling to notice the sharp contrast between their private fantasies and their public ambition of ousting the colonial masters.
In The Trouble with Nigeria, his slim but seminal book published 35 years ago, Chinua Achebe sought to draw our attention to the lack of intellectual rigor that marked the political thoughts of our founding fathers. Quoting James Booth, ‘a perceptive student of Nigerian politics’ who had studied the biographies of the Great Zik and Pa Awolowo at the time, Achebe argued that quite unlike their contemporaries like Nkrumah, Nyerere and Mboya, our own Great Zik and Pa Awolowo had exhibited a shallow grasp of the daunting task of providing leadership to a young country in their early days as was captured in their biographies. Achebe reported that in 1937, the Great Zik had vowed that –
“Henceforth I shall utilize my earned income to secure my enjoyment of a high standard of living and also to give a helping hand to the needy.”
Pa Awo was even more effusive in his own avowal. He was reported to have pledged thusly –
“I was going to make myself formidable intellectually, morally invulnerable, to make all the money that is possible for a man with my brains and brawn to make in Nigeria.”
If these two quotes were to be taken seriously, we may not have to look too far for where the rain began to beat Nigeria. The two comments are not only narcissistic but embarrassingly narrow. They are bereft of the big dreams and grand visions of founding fathers which should serve as a mirror in which the citizens could locate themselves at any moment in time. These two men, along with Sir Ahmadu Bello were Nigeria’s finest minds in their time. But their declarations had no deep philosophy, no clear idea of society or even a simple silhouette of what an independent Nigeria should be.
Achebe therefore concluded that “an absence of objective and intellectual rigour at the critical moment of a nation’s formation is more than an academic matter. It inclines the fledgling state to a disorderly growth and mental deficiency.”
Lions and Lionesses, I am pained to observe that Chinua Achebe may be right in his conclusion. Nigeria’s growth has remained disorderly from independence and there is a continuing absence of rigour in our national polity that has blighted all aspirations to greatness to date. There’s almost always a rivulet of blood running through the country’s deep geographical split carved out by the Niger and the Benue. Nevertheless, at this moment, I think it is still realistic to say that even with all the gloom and doom that assault our sensibilities on a daily basis, greatness has not eluded Nigeria.
And to succeed in Nigeria, we must live in full awareness of our internal contradictions and how they limit our chances of success.
How well do you know yourself?
Surviving in the world today and making a success of one’s chosen career requires a considerable level of self-knowledge. American author, Rachel Simmons once observed that “Self-knowledge is the foundation of real success.” Indeed, experience has shown that one of the keys to living a happy life is to know oneself. No two blades of grass are the same. We are individually different. We carry different sparks of genius, distinct personalities, different aspirations and unique worldviews. Sometimes we are vaguely aware of this and most times we are not. That’s why you find people trying to force themselves into shapes and frames that were not built for them. But Bill Copeland, American poet and historian advises us to always “try to be like the turtle; at ease in your own shell.” Besides, experience has often shown that there is no faster route to career failure, lack of fulfilment and profound unhappiness than making a wrong choice of career. That is why we must be familiar with who we are and what we can comfortably do with the right passion and zeal. In all honesty, your life has not truly begun if you have not discovered your passion. So, it helps to know what we are passionate about. But it also helps to be familiar with our own story and to develop a unique way of telling it.
Once in every while, a serious job interview starts with the seemingly unserious question, “tell us about yourself.” To answer this question with convincing sincerity, the candidate must know his or her own story. He must be familiar with his or her strengths and weaknesses, his innate desires and passions, his unfulfilled dreams and aspirations. Self-knowledge is a very important first step on the road to self-actualization and contentment.
The Imagination will never fail you
Lions and Lionesses, to my mind, no meaningful conversation with the youths can ever be complete without mentioning the importance of the use of the imagination. An unknown thinker once observed that ‘imagination is the strongest nation on earth.’ And the great Albert Einstein reinforced the argument when he observed that ‘Imagination is more important than knowledge.’ The Spanish painter, sculptor and poet, Pablo Picasso agreed when he declared that ‘everything you can imagine is real.’ The word ‘Imagine’ is therefore the most powerful word in the world today. It is the word which continues where ‘creation’ stopped; for imagination is what we see when our eyes are firmly closed. All the wonders of science and technology are products of the imagination. Similarly the greatest artistic expressions; from the Renaissance through Neoclassicism to Romanticism and down to the Contemporary arts which stand today as monuments to the human genius were once figments of the imagination. So, the imagination is everything. And we must learn how to use our imagination to open new doors, expand the boundaries of nature and nurture and create a happier world for ourselves and others. Lions and Lionesses, there is in fact no better time to tune our minds to the use of the imagination than now that you are young, uninhibited and fearless!
Take the Path Less Trodden
Brothers and sisters, more often than not, life offers us an array of choices. But there are no short cuts to success. There is always a story to every success. When you put the two together, you have a “success story.” The trouble with most of our youths today is that we want success without a story. And that is absurd. That is why we have many youngsters who want to pluck their fruits before they are ripe. I think we should all worry about that because a life on the fast lane has a predictable ending. Just before I left my house this morning, I remember reading Robert Frost’s poem titled “The Road not Taken.” I remember that the final stanza of that poem always fills me with bubbles of hope. And it goes like this –
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference
Lions and Lionesses, we are talking about the Path Less Trodden. Do you want to travel the well-worn path where everything SEEMS rosy and a feast appears laid out for you? Or would you rather take the road less travelled like Frost and see what difference it will make in your life? Think about that. But while you are at it, please remember that there is a great sense of fulfilment when we boldly decide to, in the words of Martin Luther King Jnr, ‘hew out of a mountain of despair, a stone of hope.’ There is no doubt about it; Nigeria is today surrounded by a mountain of despair. But only those who can hew out a stone from its rocky surface will travel far into the horizons. Fellow citizens, there is something infinitely wrong with achieving success without a story or success which story we cannot tell with pride. If you look around you today, there are so many of your fellow students who own state-of-the-art cars. On many university campuses today, there are students who are living the life that some bank CEO would envy. This is so because, I am told that the sand has since shifted from Yahoo-Yahoo to Yahoo-Plus. The question is, after all the fast cars and the bling-bling, what is next? What would happen if tomorrow comes? My only joy is that, students who conceived the idea of this lecture and have sustained it for years cannot be numbered among these “big” boys and girls.
Live in the Present
I am often fascinated by the pace at which technology evolves. It is as though when we close our eyes in sleep every night, something new slips into the technological atmosphere. At the moment, there is actually a glut of technological offerings out there that to acquire a mastery of a fraction of them presents a challenge of its own. But in this increasingly intense digital environment, we cannot afford to be left behind; for to be digitally cut off is a new kind of death that leaves one marooned in a dark tunnel without the slightest hint of light. So, we must not only strive to live in the Present but also anticipate the Future.
And let me say this here, it is a source of worry to me personally that my generation and the generations before me left the inventive fire of our fathers to die without a fight. What do I mean by this? Lions and Lionesses, our fathers fought the most horrendous Civil War in this part of Africa. And in the midst of adversity and the heavy blast of artillery fire, their creative genius found expression in the array of military hardware that they rolled out to stave off the heavy assault on our people. I have been to the War Museum in Umuahia. I have climbed down the famous Ojukwu Bunker. I have witnessed the remnants of the home-grown inventions that flowered during the war. I have taken selfies with the legendary “Biafran Babies” aircraft flown by Swedish Carl Gustaf Von Rosen and felt with my own palms the numb metal of the famous Ogbunigwe launchers. Now, the question is, if our fathers could churn out all these marvellous inventions in the heat of the war, 50 years ago, what excuse can we give for dropping the baton in peacetime? If our fathers could lend such a weighty hand to technological advancement in wartime, how do we explain our inability to walk in the shadow of their greatness in peacetime?
I have listened to different excuses which often blamed the Federal Government for abandoning the Biafran scientists after the war. That is a fact. But valid as that argument may sound, it is no longer sufficient in the light of what we know now. At least we know with a surfeit of evidence that where there is no government support, technological know-how can still be acquired by entrepreneurs who desire to make a difference in the society. Nnewi is a living proof that technology can grow without the usual hand-out from the government. Indeed the Nnewi industrialists have been at it for decades now, rising against all odds to astonish the world with their never-say-never spirit. The first job I ever did when I left secondary school was as a hydraulic machine operator at Edison Brake Pads and Linings at Uruagu Nnewi. I was waiting for the release of my high school results and rather than idle away my time at home, I choose to work in Edwin Obichebendu’s factory where we manufactured brake pads and linings long before Innoson came around to give Nigeria her first indigenous automobile. My brief stay on the hydraulic machine is still fresh in my memory today. Nwanne, otegokwalu Awusa n’uta o!
My sadness however is that Nnewi remains an island of success in a wasteland of woes. A sad reminder of what happened in Egypt where questions have been raised as to why the elevated science of building pyramids was not replicated in other surrounding countries which would have strengthened our claim to the great civilizations of Pharaonic Egypt. Why has Nnewi remained an oasis of ingenuity and daringness in a region that once astonished the world with high calibre weapons half a century ago? Obu na nwa mgbeke amarozi isi akpu, ka obu na aguba adirozi nko? What have we all been waiting for? I should like to know.
When you realize that we have produced a lot more engineers, scientists and technologists since the war ended than we had during the war, you can’t help but wince in pain. When you also realize that most of the great men and women shifting the technological paradigm in Nnewi may not have chains of university degrees, the irony becomes even more telling. So, Lions and Lionesses, the time to re-enact the wartime technological exploits of our fathers is finally here. And you must lead that charge. ‘A lion does not proclaim its lion-hood.’ I am not trying to echo somebody but this great university must lead from the front. The field of ICT offers us a rich minefield to discover hidden treasures. If India can attain such outstanding mastery of the ICT world and China can assume leadership of the industrial world, surely a region that showed a great technological promise more than half a century ago can still spring awake from its prolonged slumber. And this is my silent hope!
The Obiano Promise
There is a glimmer of hope in the horizon. About a fortnight ago, Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State, inaugurated the Board of Directors of the newly formed Anambra Creative Economy Agency. The thinking behind the establishment of this Agency is to finally create a warehouse where all the numerous creative, inventive and artistic talents that abound in the state can be harnessed for the greater good of the society. The Creative Economy Agency is the first attempt by any government in this hemisphere to give a sense of validation to people who have a gift of the imagination. I think Governor Obiano deserves applause for this. So, slowly but steadily, our political leaders are beginning to look at encouraging the inventive genius that once flourished during the war. And Nigeria shall be the better for it.
Before I end this address, I have one more advice to give –
Don’t cover up your Ignorance
In my interactions with some youngsters, I have come to realize that many of them find it difficult to admit that they are not knowledgeable in some things. They often make desperate efforts to cover up whenever a crack on their polished surface reveals the emptiness within. Sometimes, their spirited effort at face-saving speaks even more poignantly to the void within. This attitude often gets in the way of learning and mentoring. I am a proud beneficiary of long interactive sessions with cultural icons like Chinweizu, Chimamanda, Obumselu, Osundare and several other accomplished scholars and thinkers that are far too many to mention here. We are all learners at different stages and different situations in life. The field of knowledge is so vast and so immense that sometimes it is safe to say that we know only what we know. Even Albert Einstein who could be said to have singularly split the atom of knowledge and explored its innards had the humility to say “I have not eaten enough of the tree of knowledge, though in my profession I am obligated to feed on it regularly.” If Einstein could approach knowledge with such humility, why would anyone feel uncomfortable to admit their ignorance?
In conclusion therefore, there are no extraordinary skills to learn and no superhuman staying power to acquire in order to succeed as an economic leader in Nigeria and beyond. What stands us out is what we know and the passion we invest in everything we do.
Emir Sanusi: Path to Africa’s development
Africa’s development agenda must focus on the socio-cultural and commercial interests of Africans and the upliftment of Africa’s trade and economic ecosystem, said Muhammadu Sanusi II, the Emir of Kano and a former Governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank, during his address at the 2018 Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank Group in Busan, Korea.
“Africa’s economic transformation will be best achieved through fast-tracking regional cooperation and the execution of hard-nosed structural reforms that focus on the development of the continent’s human capital and material resources,” said Emir Sanusi II.
The Emir shared insight about revamping African regional integration, trade and economic relations with Executive Directors and Governors of the Bank, comprising Finance, Budget and Economic Planning Ministers from member nations.
An economist and financial risk expert, the monarch traced Africa’s post-colonial economic woes to the continent’s fiscal indiscipline and endemic disregard for its competitive advantages. For these reasons, he asserted, Africa’s development was stunted and its global trade ties lopsided in favour of offshore trading partners.
“Nine out of every 10 countries in Africa have huge trade deficits with China, but Asia developed mostly on domestic investments and resources,” he noted, underscoring the need for African Governments to invest in and promote creativity and indigenous enterprise.
The Emir advocated a series of structural reforms, including strategic investments in key sectors including agriculture, infrastructure, education, and small and medium enterprises. He called for deliberate industrial diversification noting that China has begun to move its mega-sized manufacturing capabilities out of low-cost industries.
African Governments also need to eradicate constitutional provisions and structures that increase the cost of governance at national and sub-national levels, manage demographic growth, and revamp and harmonize moribund and ineffective customs and excise duties that promote cross-border smuggling and revenue losses to governments, he said.
Africa’s debt burden continues to inhibit capital investment in industrialization, he observed, lamenting the misallocation of resources: “We need to begin to ask ourselves, ‘what do we do with the available funds in our coffers?’”
“Perceptions matter. So there is an urgent need for improved transparency, as this is clearly linked to good governance,” he said. “We need to accept that we have a perception problem that we must address. We need to tackle corruption, block leakages and create opportunities for new jobs.”
“Private sector capital is crucial for sustained economic growth but so is government’s intervention in guaranteeing business externalities like power, water and waste management, roads, housing and the legal and regulatory environment for innovation, commerce and industry.”
On trade, the Emir called for a regional and pan-African approach to trade negotiations, a tactical model which should be led by the Bank.
“The African Development Bank has the intellectual resources and clearly is better positioned to negotiate with China on behalf of Africa as a bloc of nations,” he said. “Europe approached global trade as a bloc so why can’t African nations do the same? This is clearly another area in urgent need of the Bank’s intervention.”
President Adesina recalled the Emir’s progressive posture during his time in public service.
“As Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was pro-development. He channeled significant investments into agriculture, infrastructure and SMEs.”
Ndigbo ask for Better Nigeria with Ekwueme Square Declaration
By James Eze (email@example.com)
The Igbo ethnic nationality of Nigeria rose from their Summit on the Restructuring of Nigeria in Awka the capital of Anambra State on Monday with a Ten-point wish list seeking for a balanced federation that would meet their needs and the needs of other ethnic groups in Nigeria.
The Igbo position on restructuring which has been re-christened as ‘The Ekwueme Square Declaration;’ is a tightly knitted ten-point demand for a better Nigeria which opens with a demand for a Constitutional Conference backed by a law from the National Assembly that would provide a unanimously accepted platform where the diverse people of Nigeria would hammer out a new constitution that would be known as “The People’s Constitution.”
Delivering the Declaration at the hugely successful ceremony, the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof Chukwuma Soludo who is the Chairman of the Organizing Committee stated that the second item on the Igbo demand seeks a slight amendment to the current system of government as it recommends the retention of the presidential system only at the federal level, leaving the regions or states to choose the type of government that is best for them. But perhaps the most audacious demand under this point is that the tenure of the office of the President should be a single term of six years with five Vice-Presidents representing each of the geopolitical zones except the zone that produced the President. The demand prescribes the same tenure for Governors and Deputy Governors which would be rotated among the senatorial districts.
The third demand asks for six geopolitical zones forming the federating units or six regions of the country. There will therefore be six regional governments, each comprising the current states within each zone and any other state that may be created within the zone from time to time. Each Region will have its own Constitution, for the good governance, peace and development of the region. Such Regional Constitutions have to clearly delineate levels of authority between the regional government and the component states (that is, defining powers that are exclusive to the Region and powers that are residual to the states). The Regional Constitutions will not be inconsistent with the Constitution of the federation, and will be invalidated to the extent of its inconsistency with the federal constitution. It seeks a review of the current revenue sharing formula based on local governments to a new structure based on regions. Consequent upon this, the Ekwueme Declaration therefore demands for an additional state for the South East Zone in line with the 2014 National Conference which states that in the spirit of reconciliation, equity, fair play and justice, a new state should be created in the South East.
The forth demand is for equality of all the regions or states that become the federating units while the fifth insists on the scrapping of the concept of State of Origin from the constitution to be replaced by the State of Residence. Expounding this concept The Ekwueme Square Declaration recommends that ‘any child born of Nigerian parents anywhere in Nigeria should acquire the indigeneship (residency) rights of the area at birth. It also recommended that any Nigerian citizen who has resided in any part of Nigeria and paid taxes there for a period of ten years can acquire the indigeneship (residency) rights of the area, except the right to their traditional stool.
The sixth demand makes a solid case for a two or three-tier police structure with defined responsibilities that would be controlled by the federal and state or regional governments respectively while the seventh seeks the abrogation of section 162 of the 1999 Constitution which vests control of resources in the federal government. It recommends a truly federal system that gives control of resources to the federal units, vesting ownership rights, control and exploitation of resources in the states. It also argues that the federating units should keep 50% of rents, royalties and profit taxes on minerals from their lands while paying 20% to the regional government and 30% to the federal government.
Demand number eight makes a strong case for the replacement of the Federal Character Commission with Merit and Equal Opportunities Commission to ensure that merit is entrenched in the conduct of national and regional affairs, prescribing that 60% should be reserved for merit and 40% for affirmative action.
The ninth item demands that elections into the office of the President and federal legislature should be conducted by the electoral body of the Federal Government while elections into regional/state offices should be conducted by electoral bodies set up by the regional/state Constitutions or laws.
And finally, the tenth declaration seeks the latitude for federating units to have their own judicial systems with courts of first instance, appellate courts and Supreme courts to adjudicate on matters that are in the concurrent and residual lists as well as matters exclusively preserved for the federating units.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano had recounted that for 58 years, Ndigbo had worked tirelessly with other Nigerians to lay a foundation for a better federation and a more perfect union.
“We have made the most sacrifices and more often than not, we have also paid the supreme price for the unity of this country. But we have made these sacrifices in the belief that in the contemporary history of mankind, the road to nationhood is often paved with the blood of patriots. Indeed, Ndigbo have paid the price for Nigeria’s greatness. We paid in blood. We paid in FULL!” he declared.
Then, rallying Ndigbo to rise to the occasion, Governor Obiano observed that “the future summons us to a brighter dawn! And we must walk in the shadows of our fathers. Yes, our fathers played a major role in Nigeria’s long road to independence. And today, we have gathered to dream a balanced federation into existence for Nigeria and Nigerians.”
Noting that every nation on earth is work in progress, Governor Obiano observed that “citizens of both advanced and developing countries continue to ask their countries hard questions that will lead them to a better federation, a better nation and a better society. And Nigeria cannot be an exception to this rule. So, we must ask Nigeria hard questions too!”
Governor Obiano further observed that following in the footsteps of their forebears who invested their youthful hopes and intellectual power in Nigeria, the younger generation of Ndigbo have ‘invested our wealth, our enterprise and our emotion in remaking Nigeria. Indeed, no other ethnic group has as much emotional investment in the Nigerian project as Ndigbo. And now, we have been called upon to re-imagine Nigeria. We welcome this challenge with both hands.”
Articulating the wishes and aspirations of Ndigbo, Obiano declared that “as governor of Anambra State, I was born and raised in Nigeria and I have lived in Nigeria for the better part of my life. I have lived the Nigerian Dream and experienced the horrors of Nigeria’s many Heartbreaks. I know what my people want from Nigeria and the question we must ask of Nigeria. We must ask what every forward looking people want from any socio-political arrangement… life, liberty and a chance to raise happy families. We must ask for a just, fair and equitable federation where every citizen is guaranteed the freedom to be the best they can be and to aspire to the highest position in the land regardless of their tribe, culture or religion. And this is what Nigeria in its present structure, has not given to us!”
Also speaking, the 91-year old leader of the Ijaw ethnic nationality, Chief Edwin Clark observed that Ndigbo had been treated very unkindly by the federal government and wondered why Igbo youths who bore no arms and hurt nobody had to be branded as terrorists.
Chief Clark also blamed the federal government for not giving Ndigbo an additional state as recommended in the 2014 Constitutional Conference and insisted that such denials and deprivations were behind the spate of separatist agitations from the region.
The event also featured moving speeches from the leader of Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, leader of the Middle Belt, Dan Sulaiman, Chairman of the occasion Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu and former Nigerian Ambassador to Spain, Ambassador Bianca Ojukwu among many others.
Zimbabwe applies to re-join Commonwealth, 15 years after leaving
Lagos, Nigeria – Zimbabwe has applied to re-join the Commonwealth after the country withdrew its membership 15 years ago under former President Robert Mugabe.
Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, said Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa submitted a application on May 15 for the country to return to the 53-member group of mostly British former colonies.
“Zimbabwe’s eventual return to the Commonwealth, following a successful membership application, would be a momentous occasion, given our shared rich history,” Scotland said in a statement.
To rejoin, Zimbabwe must go through an assessment followed by consultations with other members states, the statement said.
Zimbabwe was first suspended from the Commonwealth in 2002 on the grounds that Mugabe, who had ruled the country since independence in 1980, rigged his re-election in 2002 and persecuted his opponents.
The former dictator withdrew Zimbabwe’s membership out of the group after the country’s suspension was renewed in 2003.
Mugabe was ousted last November following a military takeover and impending impeachment ending his 37-year rule over the country.
The Commonwealth secretariat will send observers to monitor the country’s elections in July, following an invitation from the Zimbabwean government, the statement said.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo seeks 6-year single term for president, governors
Ohanaeze Ndigbo, a socio-cultural umbrella of Ndigbo, has called for the adoption of a six-year rotational single tenure for the president and governors of 36 states in the country.
It also demanded creation of one additional state in the South-East geo-political zone, scrapping of local government system and resource control for states where natural resources were exploited.
These were some highlights of the resolutions tagged, “Ekwueme Square Declaration 2018’’, which members of Ohanaeze Ndigbo reached during their one-day summit in Awka on Monday.
Charles Soludo, the Chairman, Planning and Strategy Committee and Organising Committee, read out the resolutions.
Mr Soludo further said Ohanaeze want the federal government to adopt the report of the 2014 National Conference.
He said the resolution already ratified by all the component arms of Ohanaeze, equally demand that the current Constitution of Nigeria, which he stated was the product of the military, be redrafted.
Mr Soludo added that Ohanaeze recommended that a constituent assembly for the drafting of a new constitution be constituted and thereafter a referendum be held, adding, “Whatever recommendations of the group would be sent to National Assembly.”
He said the group also demanded for the scrapping of state of origin and its replacement with residential rights whereby a Nigerian would have full right in any place he or she resides for 10 years.
On the six years single tenure, the group noted that six vice presidents from each of the six geo-political zones should be elected, while the governorship seat would be rotated among the senatorial districts.
On his part, John Nwodo, the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, said the summit was organised to enable Ndigbo articulate major challenges affecting the country.
Mr Nwodo claimed that the present constitution of the country was skewed against Igbo people and should be redrafted to give Igbo people fair treatment.
The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, challenged the Ohanaeze leadership to convince those yet to support the restructuring of the country to back the idea.
Mr Ekweremadu assured that he would table any bill on the restructuring of the country whenever the Ohanaeze present it at the National Assembly.
A former Foreign Affairs Minister, Ike Nwachukwu, who also spoke called on the people of Middle Belt to support the call for restructuring of Nigeria, claiming that they stand to gain more.
Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, the Chairman of the summit, called on Igbo people especially the leaders to exhibit honesty in their affairs, to help move the people forward.
Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra in his address thanked the organisers for choosing his state for the summit organised for the Igbo people to articulate what they want as Nigerians.
Earlier in a sermon, Ben Osisioma of the Anglican Communion, called on Ndigbo to rely on God for solution to their challenges in Nigeria.
The summit was attended by prominent Igbo leaders from Imo, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, Abia, Rivers and Delta.
Flutterwave Chief Executive Joins World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders Community
Flutterwave, Nigeria Chief Executive Iyinoluwa Aboyeji has been nominated amongst one hundred that are joining the World Economic Forum (WEF) Young Global Leaders community this year.
He is the co-founder of a digital payments platform designed to make it easier to do business across the continent. Previously, he was one of the founders of Andela – a company training African developers and hiring them out to global tech companies – which received investment from Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan.
The one hundred of the world’s brightest under 40 invited to Shape an inclusive and sustainable future according to WEB. “One hundred of the world’s most promising artists, business leaders, public servants, technologists and social entrepreneurs have been asked to join the World Economic Forum’s community of Young Global Leaders. They are joining a community and five-year programme that will challenge them to think beyond their scope of expertise and be more impactful leaders. They were nominated because of their ground-breaking work, creative approaches to problems and ability to build bridges across cultures and between business, government and civil society.
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