Anambra State governor, Willie Obiano, says it is time for the Igbo people to ask their fellow Nigerians what type of country they want.
Mr Obiano stated this on Monday in Awka, Anambra State at a one-day summit organised by Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide.
Tagged the South East Zonal Summit on Restructuring the Nigerian Federation, the event at Ekwueme Square was hosted by Mr Obiano and attended by representatives of critical segments of Igbo people across seven states in Nigeria and the diaspora.
Declaring the summit open, Mr Obiano said the time had come for Igbo people to ask the Nigerian nation some very hard questions regarding the the country he lamented is at the verge of state failure.
“The question on everyone’s mind today is ‘what kind of country do Nigerians want Nigeria to be?’
“This is a question that will determine Nigeria’s future and Nigeria’s greatness,” he said.
“Happily, different ethnic groups and geo-political zones have made bold efforts to ask this question in recent times. And today, Ndigbo will ask their own!”
Mr Obiano narrated his personal story with the Nigerian’s history to buttress his theme.
“As governor of Anambra State, I was born and raised in Nigeria and I have lived in Nigeria for the better part part of my life. I have lived the Nigerian dream and felt Nigeria’s heartbreaks. I know what my people want from Nigeria and the question we must ask Nigeria.
“We must ask what every forward-looking people want from any socio-political arrangement – life, liberty and a chance to raise families.”
Mr Obiano said the restructuring of the Nigerian federation is a core concern of the Igbo.
“We must ask for a just, fair and equitable federation where ever citizen is guaranteed the the freedom to be the the best they can be and 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 us,” he stated.
The governor exhorted the present generation of Igbo people and other Nigerians not to to betray the great work of their frontline leaders who liberated Nigeria from colonial rule.
“Brothers and sisters, we have answered the call of history. And hopefully, history will be kind to us. If our forefathers invested their youthful hopes and power of their intellect in the Nigerian of their Nigeria of their time, we have in our wealth, our enterprise and emotion in remaking Nigeria,” he said.
“Indeed, no other ethnic group has as much investment in the Nigerian Project as Ndigbo. For if we rose from the ruins of the Civil War to rebuild Eastern Nigeria in record time, there should be no doubt about what Ndigbo can bring to the table in a fair, just and equitable Nigeria.”
The summit later received solidarity messages from activists from other geo-political zones in the campaign for the restructuring of the Nigerian federation.
They include Dan Suleiman, Jerry Gana, Ayo Adebanjo, Olu Falae, Cornelius Adebayo, Banji Akintoye, Segun Mimiko and Kofo Buknor-Akerele.
Also in attendance were Edwin Clark, Idongesit Nkanga, Sam Oviawe, Don Idada Ikpenwence, Mac Emokpore, Vivien Ere-Imananagha, Bassey Ewa-Henshaw, and Tony Inyiam among many other dignitaries.