BY KENECHUKWU OFOMAH
Anambra State Elders Council has beckoned on the Federal Government to urgently initiate the process of restructuring the country’s governance architecture so as to usher in greater national cohesion among all component regions of the country.
Reading the Communique, Chairman of the Elders’ Advisory Council and former Secretary-General of Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, said the Council is worried about the negative turn of major national indices including security, progress in socio-economic development, national cohesion and political stability, which, they observed, was caused by the country’s drift from the true federalism carefully negotiated by its founding fathers.
The Council further attributed the various secessionist agitations going on across the country to the agitators’ conviction that the present governance structure and the performance of the Federal Government, constitute a major obstacle to the development of their regions and realization of their independent aspirations, adding that it is convinced that return to true federalism holds the key to the resolution of all the agitations.
On the quit notice given to Ndigbo living in the Northern Part of Nigeria by Arewa Youths, the Council aligned itself with the position of Ohaneze Ndigbo in calling on the Federal Government to urgently investigate and bring the errant youths to order.
On the November 18th governorship election in Anambra State, the Elders Council threw its weight behind the zoning initiative as advocated by Ohaneze and ASATU and called on all candidates for the election and their sponsoring political parties, to eschew indecorous language and violence in their campaigns.
The Elders commended Governor Willie Obiano for his achievements in the state administration, especially as it concerns security and attracting investments, calling on Ndi Anambra to continue to dedicate themselves to the sustenance of the present peace, security and development in the state.
The communique was signed by the Chairman of the Advisory Council, Chief Anyaoku, former Vice-president, Dr Alex Ekwueme, Former Governor Chukwuemeka Ezeife and former Minister of Health, Dr Tim Menakaya.
ANAMBRA STATE ELDERS COUNCIL MEETING HELD ON THURSDAY, 17TH AUGUST 2017.
Members of the Anambra State Elders Council deliberated at length on the present state of affairs in our country, Nigeria, including in particular, the forthcoming gubernatorial election in Anambra state scheduled for 18th November 2017, and unanimously reach the following conclusions:
1. That our country, Nigeria, by all universally accepted major national indices; security of life and property, progress in socio economic development, national cohesion on political stability – is clearly under-performing and worryingly drifting towards becoming a failed state.
2. That the root cause of the under-performance is the transformation of the country’s structure of governance from the true federalism carefully negotiated and agreed in the 1960/63 constitutions by the country’s founding fathers to the effectively unitary structure which arose from the prolonged period of military intervention in the government of the country.
3. That there is urgent need to arresting this national drift through a restructuring government architecture by returning to a true federalism based on fewer and more viable federating units.
4. That we are convinced that restructuring will usher in greater national cohesion and a more united country where all the citizens in the component regions can pursue their self-fulfilments with equity and fairness.
5. We firmly believe that their is no part of the country that does not benefit holistically from belonging to one large Nigeria; we therefore see agitations currently for a republic of Biafra and potentially for a Niger Delta Republic and an Oduduwa Republic as manifestation of strong grievances by the agitators.
In the case of Biafra induced by both perceived failure to heal the wound of the civil war and continuing marginalisation of the South East zone by the federal government, and in other cases induced by a strong conviction that the present governance structure and performance of the federal government constitute a great obstacle to the development and self-fulfilment of their people.
We call on the federal government, particularly the Executive and Legislative to urgently take steps to initiate the process of restructuring.
6. We feel compelled to draw attention to the recent quit notice given to Ndigbo by Northern Youths and support Ohaneze’s efforts in this respect and call on the federal government to urgently address the matter.
7. We see great value in periodic meetings of the major stakeholders of the SE zone – Governors, Federal Ministers and Legislators, Ohaneze, prominent captains of the Cooperate Sector and Acknowledged Youth representatives to discuss and there after act on projects promoting peace and development of the Zone. The meetings of the governors and Ohaneze should be more frequent and to be followed periodically by all major stakeholders meeting.
8. We also call all concerned to ensure that the people of Anambra State are availed, without any disruptions, of the opportunity to go to the polls and elect their governor on November 18, 2017.
9. We utterly condemn horrendous killing of innocent worshipers at St. Philips Catholic Church, Ozubulu and express our sympathy to the families of the bereaved and the wounded. We call on the law enforcement agencies to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice.
10. We see great value for peace and security in sustaining the zoning formula for political offices in the state as adopted by Ohaneze Ndi Igbo Anambra State and also as resolved respectively by the Traditional Rulers Council and Anambra State Association of Town Unions (ASATU), and call on all candidates for the governorship election and their sponsoring political parties to eschew indecorous language and violence in their political campaigns.
11. We are appalled that the representation of Anambra Central Senatorial District is still outstanding. We therefore call on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure that the election is conducted forthwith, without further delay. We call on individuals and groups who are contributing to this impasse to put the Anambra State wider interest above their self-interests.
12. We call on all Ndi Anambra, irrespective of their political affiliations to continue to dedicate themselves to the continuation of the present peace, security and development of the state.
13. Finally, we commendations Governor Willie Obiano for achieving security in the state, and also for the several developmental projects he has been executing in the state, including the Auto Industrial Park, which has begun to make good progress.
*Signed by their Excellencies*
*Chief Emeka Anyaoku, CFR*
Chairman, Anambra State Elders’ Advisory Council
*Dr Alex Ekwueme, GCON*
Former Vice President
Federal Republic of Nigeria
*Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, CON*
Former Governor, Anambra State.
*Dr. Tim Menakaya, OFR*
Former Minister of Health.