The Secretary-General of the Eastern Consultative Assembly (ECA) and Deputy Secretary of the Prof. Ben Nwabueze-led Igbo Leaders of Thought (ILT), Evangelist Elliot Ugochukwu-Uko, has blamed the 1979 and 1999 constitutions for Nigeria’s current socio-political and economic difficulties. He also said only adoption of a new constitution can save the country.
Asked to access the state of the nation and his expectations as the country prepares for the inauguration of a new administration, Ugochukwu-Uko, who is also the Founder of Igbo Youth Movement (IYM), said “no sane Nigerian expects anything new. No magic. It will be the same old shit; same old stories and same old blame game. As long as we stubbornly operate this unworkable unitary structure designed by the military and legitimised by the 1979 and 1999 constitutions, we will continue to hold ourselves down, hurt the future generation and frustrate the present generation. Nothing good will ever happen to Nigeria until we reconstruct the structure of our polity, by devolving more powers and responsibilities to the federating units, probably reverting to the parliamentary system of government. Only a new constitution can save Nigeria now. It doesn’t matter how long one has been on the wrong route, you turn to the right route in order to get your desired destination. Nigeria, a deeply endowed country, has been on the wrong road for so long; it is time we turn right and take the right road, which is the direction of restructuring and power devolution. Nothing else can save Nigeria. Having expectations in this unwieldy and wobbling structure, amounts to self-deceit. Nobody expects anything new under this structure.
The insecurity, the agitations, the unemployment, the religious and ethnic divisions, the despair, the hatred and anger, the hunger and poverty and loss of faith in the land will not abate. Our leaders are merely deceiving themselves because they are all in the comfort zone, living like movie stars, enjoying their lives at our expense. That is why they pontificate on television. Deep down in their hearts, they know that only restructuring will save Nigeria.
Uko also debunked claims that Ndigbo’s voting pattern in the 2019 General Elections was a political miscalculation. Asked if Ndigbo voted right in the last elections, he said: “The Northerners who voted for Buhari in 2003, 2007, and 2011 when he serially lost elections, did they vote right? The Yoruba who consistently voted for Action Group, the UPN, and the AD without winning at the centre, did they vote right? Ndigbo are republican in nature. They are smart, independent minded people. They brilliantly evaluate the political barometer and thermometer and make their choice. Their decision is usually anchored on the stark realities of their situation within the Nigerian political space. You cannot change their DNA, chromosomes and chromatids. Ndigbo are great people, they know what is good for everybody; their vote pattern has always been tied to what is best for Nigeria. Right from the NCNC days to the PDP of today, Ndigbo have always voted for peace, progress, unity, equity and justice. Ndigbo have never voted for division, oppression, persecution and domination of others. The rest of Nigeria should praise and learn from Ndigbo. We are very proud of our vote pattern and I commend Ndigbo everywhere to remain steadfast with truth, justice, fairplay, equity and level playing field for all. We will do it again the same way if there is another election tomorrow.”
When he was reminded that Ndigbo cried of neglect and marginalisation throughout the last four years, and asked if he will expect to be treated better this time around, he retorted: “The mighty Igbo nation does not depend on anybody to make progress. Ndigbo are sweet people, hardworking people, confident people, dynamic people, gifted people, talented people, and very intelligent people. Our progress on this earth is in the hands of God, not any man. Anybody who thinks he can halt or stifle the progress of the Igbo race is wasting his time.
We shine all over the world, we dominated trade and commerce in the entire West Africa, we engage in business from China, Russia, the whole of Europe, Canada and the United States, South America and Australia. We love education, we love hard work. We also love justice and equity. Those who tried to hold us down in the past know that God is with us. I can assure you, it is well with Ndigbo.”
Uko would however not say much on the issue of insecurity in the country. “I have no comment on that yet. We have a leader Nigerians clamoured for, for 12 years, who has been president for four years. They say he is a no-nonsense general under whose watch defence and security have received the largest amount of money since the beginning of Nigeria, who came to power in 2015 blaming Jonathan for insecurity and promised to stabilise the situation within six months. Please kindly direct your question to him and his officials. I sympathize with innocent victims of the senseless killings going on everywhere, especially in Zamfara, Kaduna, and Borno states. It is sad really,” he said.
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