Igbo abroad insist on regrouping, fiscal federation

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Diaspora Igbo group, the Igbo World Assembly (IWA), has said there was need to regrouping Nigeria to ensure true federalism as it was in the 1963 Constitution based on regions.

It condemned Federal Government’s shoot-on-sight position, noting that such could be termed an act of ethnic cleaning.

IWA Chairman, Nwachukwu Anakwenze, who stated this in a keynote address in Abuja at the just-concluded 2023 Presidential Transition Inter-ethnic Peace Dialogue, said true fiscal federalism was needed in Nigeria to address issues affecting the country.

Restructuring of Nigeria, according to him, should be a means of tackling the worsening security situation and the agitation for secession.

“We need a Nigerian political structure that is based on equity, fairplay, balance and equal access to political power for the good of all Nigerians. 

“IWA feels that what Nigeria needs on the long run is true fiscal federalism which is a system of government based on democratic rules and institutions in which the power to govern is shared between national and regional/state governments. The individual federating units need to have more control over their affairs.

“The regional government should control their resources and pay a percentage royalty tax to the Federal Government. The Federal Government should control issues in the single exclusive list such as military or foreign policy. We should return to agricultural businesses such as was practiced in the sixties by our former leaders. There is a need to restructure Nigeria to ensure true federalism as it was in the 1963 Constitution based on regions or zones.”

We need a Nigerian political structure that is based on equity, fair play, balance and equal access to political power for the good of Nigerians,” Anakwenze said.

He said a future Nigeria requires respect for our constitution and rule of law, respect for human rights and civil rights, respect for the federal character commission rules from 1979 constitution, implementation of restructuring, regionalisation and devolution of powers, merit-based appointment to government positions, firm knowledge and competent management of Nigeria’s economy.

Anakwenze said detribalised appointments and leadership in all sectors of the government, equal and equitable treatment of all Nigerian regardless of tribes of origins or religion, elimination of ethnic cleansing in the Nigerian political space, free and fair electoral process, a government that unites all Nigerians and not one that is divisive, were needed now.

“Without mincing words, if we cannot work this out quickly, a referendum might be needed so that all the major Nigerian groups can go their separate ways,” he said.

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On the group position about presidency of Nigeria of South East extraction, he said: “We ask that all political parties should zone Nigerian presidency to South East in 2023. And efforts should be geared to achieving that goal. IWA states only restructuring can prevent Nigeria from disintegration.”

Speaking on the Fulani herdsmen, he said Ndigbo will no longer tolerate the attack by herdsmen.

“We are very concerned about that because the well-being of our people is involved. We will no longer accept this condition and we are going to talk to our people on what to do about it.

“Everybody needs to prepare to defend themselves and his family against the herdsmen because we are not prepared to cede an inch of Igbo land to anybody because our land is very small.

“Our people must protect their crops always. If any animal comes to eat the crops, it means hunger will be in the land because that is what the people use after harvesting and sales to train their children or pay for hospital bills.

“If the herders kill our people and destroy our things, we have the right to reciprocate. We want peace for us and for everybody, but if somebody comes to fight us on our land, we will fight back,” he said.

He commended southern governors on their decision to ban open grazing in the region.

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