FORMER Abia Governor, Senator Theodore Orji, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to dialogue with dissident group, including the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to stem increasing agitations and insecurity in the country.
Orji, who spoke to reporters ahead of his 70th birthday anniversary this week, identified restructuring as panacea for the manifest marginalisation in the country.
The Abia Central lawmaker said the South East would negotiate with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to zone its 2023 presidential ticket to the region.
On what advice he has for Nigeria on attaining 70, Orji said: “The advice is already on the table and that is restructuring.
“If there are dissident voices, call them and discuss with them and find out how you can bring them in and that is what will solve the problem we are facing now. Restructuring is what everybody is shouting.”
He added a major part of restructuring includes resource control.
He said: “The issue of resource control should also be addressed because the resources are coming from the same people who are agitating.
“You won’t expect us to keep quiet when we are producing and you are not giving us enough.
“Governor Nyesom Wike is shouting every day because the Niger Delta people are not getting the required attention they require as oil producing region. We know the areas that are sensitive.”
On whether the dissidents he referred to include the proscribed IPOB, the Abia Central lawmaker said: “Yes, of course.
“Is there anything bad in discussing with IPOB? If you don’t talk with them, they will continue to give you trouble. You discuss with them.”
On the Igbo presidency in 2023 under the PDP, Orji said the PDP has no choice but to accede to the yearnings and aspirations of the South East.
He said: “It is a party affair. It will be sorted out by the party. We are members of the party.
“So, when the argument about zoning comes, we will address it. We can’t be happy when other states have six states and we have five.
“It shows that we are marginalised. We are cheated. That is what is causing the agitation in the region.
“Some groups are agitating that the zone should be a country on its own. Others are demanding restructuring because it is glaring that the South East is being marginalized.
“If you treat me fairly like you treat other persons and I’m convinced that you are sincere, I will not complain.
“It is when I look around me and I see that I am being marginalised and treated like a second class citizen that would make people to be agitating.
“When the time comes for the PDP to determine zoning for the 2023 presidential election, the party will do the needful.
“We will sort it out at the party level. We will present our case and the party would listen. PDP is strong in the South East, if not for any other reason, the party should listen to us.”
On the needs to create an additional state in the South East zone, Orji said: “The South East geopolitical zone is disadvantaged in terms of geographical configuration.
“That is why we want to take the advantage of the ongoing constitution review process to push for the creation of additional state so that we could have at least six states like other geopolitical zones.
“We will do everything possible to abide by the constitution so that we would make it a reality. We are not keeping quiet on the matter at all.”
Nov 8, 2020 @ 16:16 GMT