The 17th Annual Convention of the Igbo Youth Movement (IYM), headed by Evangelist Elliot Ukoh, ended in Enugu on Sunday, with a call on President Muhammadu Buhari to embark on immediate restructuring of Nigeria in line with the principles of true federalism.
The event, which took place at Nike Lake Resort Hotel Enugu, attracted Nigerians from different parts of the country.
They advised President Buhari to begin the immediate implementation of the National Conference report of 2014 as a first step towards restructuring the country.
Those at the event included second Republic Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme; Yoruba leader, Ayo Adebanjo; former Minister of Information, Prof Jerry Gana; former Governor of Anambra state, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife; resource control protagonist, Ankio Briggs; and immediate former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi.
Speaking on the theme of the convention, “Still, In Search of True Federalism”, they noted that the current protests and demands for separation by various groups in the country, as well as other socio-economic crises could be reduced if the national confab report was implemented.
The second Republic Vice President, Ekwueme stated that every disappointment was a blessing, noting that his incarceration in 1984 at Kirikiri prison by the military afforded him the opportunity to reflect deeply on Nigeria’s problems.
According to him, he came out with the idea of six geo-political zonal structures, which he pushed for in a national conference.
Ekwueme stated that what Nigeria negotiated for and agreed with colonial masters before independence was a regional government where each had a constitution, which was annexed to the Republican constitution of 1963.
According to him, the Republican Constitution then provided 50 percent revenue sharing formula for the regions, 30 percent to a distributable pool, and 20 percent to centre.
“There is need for us to return to the basics from what we inherited from our founding fathers,” he said.
On his part, Chief Adebanjo who went down the memory lane to traced the origin of federalism in Nigeria to various pre-and post colonial constitutional conferences, insisted that Nigeria must be restructured to correct the humongous damage done to the nation’s constitution by the military and to put a stop to various acts of uprising in the country today including those of Niger Delta Avengers, MASSOB, and IPOB.
Prof Jerry Gana stated that the nation’s founding fathers were right by agreeing to a federal structure, which he described as the best governance structure to guarantee peace, equity and justice.
Ankio Briggs who received the award of “Amazon of Truth” by IYM stated that true and fiscal federalism must be truthful and justifiable.
She further stated that if the nation continues on the current path, then disintegration would be inevitable.
Former governor Peter Obi of Anambra stressed that he supports restructuring the country on the basis of fiscal federalism, but while that was being addressed, there was need to urgently address the high cost of governance in the country, insisting that any governor who said he can’t pay salary should give way for other persons with better ideas.
Dr. Ezeife who also received award of “Igbo Peoples General” stated that the 2014 national conference report recommended additional 18 states to make FOR 48 state-structure in order to address some inequalities created by the military.
Highlight of the event was the award of “Liberator” to the detained leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu, by the IYM, even as the national leader of IYM, Evang Ukoh expressed the conviction of his group that if Nigeria is restructured it would take care of the various agitations for break away by various separatist groups.