Secretary General of the Eastern Consultative Assembly (ECA) and Founder of Igbo Youth Movement (IYM), Evangelist Elliot Uko, has said that Nigeria won’t experience any meaningful development until the current constitution, which she operates is set aside for the restructuring of the country.
You have been silent for a while; are you not bothered by the security situation in the country?
I have no comment on that yet. We have a leader, who for 16 years struggled to be the president, and he got it at the fourth attempt in 2015. So, for four years he has been in the saddle. We were told he is no nonsense retired military general, and under his watch, defence and security have received the largest amount of money since the beginning of Nigeria. When he came to power in 2015, he blamed the past government of Goodluck Jonathan for the insecurity in the country and promised to stabilise the situation within six months. Please kindly direct your question to him and his officials. I sympathise with innocent victims of the senseless killings going on everywhere, especially in Zamfara, Kaduna, his home state, Katsina; Taraba, Benue, Borno and other states across the country. It is sad, really very unfortunate.
Less than two weeks, the new government will be sworn in, what are your expectations?
No sane Nigerian expects anything new. No magic. It will be the same old thing- all motion and no movement. 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 constitution, we will continue to hold ourselves down, hurt the future generation and frustrate the present generation. Nothing good will ever happen to Nigeria; Nigeria will not experience development 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 to 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.
Again, Igbo voted in one direction during the just concluded elections, do think they voted right?
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 center, did they vote right? Igbo 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. Igbo are great people, they know what is good for everybody, and their vote pattern has always been tied to what is best for Nigeria. Right from the NCNC days to the PDP of today, Igbo have always voted for peace, progress, unity, equity and justice. Igbo have never voted for division, oppression, persecution and domination of others. The rest of Nigeria should praise and learn from Igbo. We are very proud of our vote pattern and I commend Igbo everywhere to remain stead fast with truth, justice, fair play, and equity and level playing field for all. We will do it again the same way if there is another election tomorrow.
The South East cried of neglect and marginalisation throughout the last four years, do you expect better treatment for the zone this time around?
The mighty Igbo nation does not depend on anybody to make progress. Igbo 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 my dear brother; it is well with the Igbo.
Our only problem now is the offensive manner the great Igbo race is being insulted brazenly by two individuals. Igbo are pained by this grave unprovoked insult. Both are taking Igbo for a ride, offending and abusing our people, while they both assume they are the smartest people in the universe. Their drama is both funny and sad. While the politician made sure Igbo were humiliated in Lagos by making sure they were denied the right to vote, the Kabiyesi is going round humouring our people, telling us that we are twin brothers born on the same day and that our love in Tokyo was ordained in Heaven and consummated in the eleventh century. So funny, he just discovered that we are blood relatives, just for the 2023 presidential ambition of the political overlord. Funny he truly thinks our people are fooled.Their drama is so cheap, but also offensive. My teenage son asked me: ‘Daddy why didn’t this Oba embark on his fake brotherly sermon and visit before now? Why did he discover we were twin brothers only immediately after the elections?’ My answer to him was simple: ‘because they think we are fools. ‘