ADF Commentary on the Ohaneze Proposal on Restructuringalaigbo
Ohaneze Proposal and Igbo National Integration
The Document reads:
“RESTRUCTURING: THE SOUTH EAST POSITION”.
It is really unfortunate that Ohaneze should be speaking on behalf of the South-East alone, thereby excluding Igbos in Anioma, Ikwerre and other areas.
Whatever proposal Ohaneze Ndigbo is presenting should be done on behalf of the entire Igbo Nation, just as the Yoruba nation does. The Yoruba position was declared in a Yoruba Summit and called Ibadan Declaration because of the place it was declared. Yorubas speak on behalf of those the so-called South West, Lagos, Kwara and Kogi including those from Edo State.
If we accept that Ohaneze should be speaking on behalf of South East alone, the document further leaves us in a difficult situation as it will be near impossible in the future to bring these our kits-and-kin back into the common Igbo national family. The ideal of Igbo national integration is made difficult by this Ohaneze Document.
According to the document, for the people of Anioma and Ikwerre to be considered as Igbos, there must be a Referendum in which,
“two-third majority of all the members of the House of Assembly (Delta and Rivers State Houses of Assembly, as the case may be) must support their merger with their kits-and-kin in mainland Igbo, and further, that a Referendum is conducted in each of the States in which merger is proposed with 75% of the registered voters in each of these states approving the merger”.
Finally, the Ohaneze Document states further:
“Any group of people that wishes to belong to a contiguous zone may do so provided that the above conditions are satisfied (see p.5 of the document)
This is the first time Ohaneze or any other Igbo organization has accepted the punitive boundary adjustments imposed by the victors in the civil war which removed several parts of Alaigbo and merged them with other non-Igbo Speaking States and zones. This punitive boundary adjustment has made Ndigbo more divided and hence very vulnerable in the political and economic affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
One may ask, is it ever possible for other nationalities in the State House of Assembly to vote to allow the oil-rich Igbo territory to be removed from their states? What this document does is to put a major obstacle in the way of Igbo national integration. When the Yorubas meet, the entire Yoruba nation from Kwara to Kogi and to main land Yoruba nation assemble to discuss their common Yoruba national affairs. Today, the Yorubas do not speak about themselves as SOUTH WEST but as Yoruba Nation.
The founders of Ohaneze were aware of this challenge to Igbo nationhood from the very beginning. The old Igbo State Union has some of its outstanding leaders from Anioma and Ikwerre, Chief Dennis Osadebay was one of the outstanding leaders of Igbo State Union. There are those who ascribe the foundation of Igbo State Union to him.
Even as Ohaneze, many of the Igbo leaders in these areas were very prominent in Ohaneze foundation. Others have continued to so toil till this day, from Ralph Uwechue to the present Secretary–General of Ohaneze, Hon. Uche Okwukwu from Ikwerre, who did not sign the letter of invitation to the planned Igbo Summit.
Nothing gives enemies of Ndigbo more joy than the fact that Ndigbo have accepted to live as a dismembered nation.
Therefore, if we accept this Official Ohaneze Document as presented to Ime-Obi Ohanaeze, we would have removed Igbos in Anioma, Rivers State (Ikwerre) and other areas from the Igbo ethnic nationality.
ON THE SUBJECT OF RESTRUCTURING.
According to Prof. Chukwuma Soludo who presented the documents, there are two contending positions in Alaigbo today with respect to the Future of Alaigbo and Nigeria. These, as he said, are:
Self-determination and Secession.
He said that according to their finding, majority of Ndigbo are in favour of Restructuring and against self-determination and secession.
Our late intellectual guru, Prof Ikenna Nzimiro would refer to this weird categorization as an act of intellectual dishonesty. ADF won’t go that way.
The truth is that when people are consumed by political interest, anything goes, including declaring white as black and black as yellow.
Also, the truth is that demand for RESTRUCTURING can lead to superficial or fundamental changes and new structures.
Furthermore, self-determination can lead to superficial changes, fundamental changes and outright refusal to be enslaved to any system.
Restructuring is a process of bringing something about, whereas self-determination is an act of will power exercised by the individual or people to insist on what is good for them. This is a fundamental right that nobody has a right to interfere with unless the audacity and impunity a slave master.
Self-determination, even when it gives you the right to secede, does not always lead to secession. Secession means the right to leave a union and such right is derived from natural right as is guaranteed by both the Universal Declaration of Human Right and the African Charter on the Peoples Rights.
The Ohanaeze Document on Restructuring declares for the Unity, Indivisibility and Indissolubility of the crises-ridden Federal Republic of Nigeria without any debate and pledges, and Loyalty to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
According to the document presented by Prof. Chukwuma Soludo on behalf of Committee on Restructuring, The South East Position, paragraph 8 on “Form of Government” declares:
“Nigeria shall remain a Federation with the existing geo-political zones forming the Federation Units”.
In paragraph 9, on “CITIZENSHIP/INDIGENSHIP RIGHTS”, the Document declares:
“Nigerian citizenship is acquired through the criteria for citizenship as provided in the Nigerian Constitution (i.e, the 1999 Constitution as amended)”. By this position, Ohaneze shuts the door against those who wish to renegotiate the future of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It shuts the door against those who wish to discuss such life-and-death situations as the on-going Islamic Jihad, the seizure of the entire apparatus of the state by one ethnic nationality, namely, the Fulani and their herdsmen. Such acceptance of a flawed and fraudulent constitution without any renegotiation is shocking, to say the least.
Thus, Restructuring, for the current Ohaneze leadership, means declaration for the Unity, Indissolubility and Indivisibility of Nigeria no matter what may befall us. It means declaration of loyalty to the 1999 Constitution, it means surrendering to the rule of the Fulani now and in the future. It means we are not playing honest and sincere with those in the South South, South West, Middle-Belt and Southern Kaduna who are anxious for collective solidarity with us for collective survival.
How can we sound assertive and decisive when we meet out there with them and back home we are disarming our people and making them more and more vulnerable.
Rejecting self-determination because it was wrongly equated to secession, implies that the leadership of Ohanaeze has voted for One Nigeria without any conditions. Moreover, it has also accepted the 1999 Constitution and is only demanding amendments of some sections of it. This is contrary to the popular and overwhelming demands of many regions, including our people, that the 1999 Constitution or any amendment based on it should be rejected.
While other zones are conceding 20% to an agreed Central Authority, our own Ohaneze document is conceding 35 % to the Federal Government. What could be the rationale for such a position?
One of the most irregular things about the document, that is meant to be declared as South East Position in an Igbo Summit at Awka, is the utterly undemocratic manner in which it was produced. There was no consultation with many active pan-Igbo organizations or with the teeming population of experienced present and former Igbo leaders.
Many of those on the list of the so-called Strategy Committee were not invited to the meeting of the Committee and some of those who were invited were often shouted down or simply ignored.
It appears, therefore, that there is a determination to ram into the throat of Ndigbo a particular document as their popular will when, in fact, every element of it, both in content and context, is against the will of Ndigbo.
Summary and conclusion:
As ADF promised earlier, this is the result of the review of the Ohaneze document by ADF Committee which has consulted several other views expressed in some other fora and came to the conclusion that the document captioned “RESTRUCTURING: THE SOUTH EAST POSITION”, which Ohanaeze leadership wishes to present for ratification by Ndigbo at a planned IGBO SUMMIT at Awka is not legitimate nor is it a reflection of the popular wish and will of our people, Ndigbo, both at home and abroad.
ADF has been challenged that if it rejects both the content and form of the Ohanaeze document, ADF should put forward an alternative for the consideration of Ndigbo.
In response to that, ADF hereby states that such an alternate document is virtually ready and would be forwarded to Ohaneze leadership and made available to our people.
Igbo, mma-mma nu!
May 11, 2018