A former Governor of Imo state, Ikedi Ohakim, says that one major problem Nigeria was facing was the current political structure which concentrated power and responsibilities at the centre.
The ex-governor who stated that the current political structure was not what the founding fathers negotiated at independence in 1960, asserted that the over-concentration of power at the center generates friction among the ethnic nationalities in Nigeria, unleashes extreme competition for power and breeds more suspicion and distrust among the people.
Ohakim’s views were contained in a statement he personally issued in Owerri, the Imo state capital on Saturday at the end of the first Chinua Achebe international conference held at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
The former Governor who delivered the keynote address and spoke on the topic, “The Igbo and the leadership question: The Achebe example”, stated that the current political structure promotes things that divide the country than unite it.
“Unitary Government, as being practiced in Nigeria today no longer works for anybody. The evidence is that virtually everything federal has failed or collapsed. Some less informed people still hold the notion that Nigeria is non-negotiable. The truth is that everything is negotiable and nothing is impossible” part of the statement read.
Ohakim said that the Igbo were the worst hit by the parlous state of the country’s economy, apparently because the region has the highest number of unemployed youths.
Ohakim alleged that the Igbo were hugely marginalized, adding that the federal had continued to play politics with the second Niger bridge.
“The federal government had created a national intervention project in 2006 under President Obasanjo to restore peace and promote a sense of belonging in the country. This gave rise to the N400 billion East–West road project, the N600 billion Kano-Maiduguri road project and the N200 billion Lokoja–Abaji–Abuja road project and N150 billion Ibadan–Ogbomosho–Oshogbo road.
“But curiously, the South East was left out. When we demanded an explanation, we were promised the second Niger bridge but alas, this project is being pushed to a public-private partnership arrangement with a tolling scheme to recoup the cost of the project. Is this a fair deal for Ndigbo?. We must continue to ask for our own share of the 2006 National intervention fund,” Ohakim said.
He, therefore, advised the federal government to negotiate with the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, who is being prosecuted for agitating for a secession from the country.