Ethnic Agitations in Nigeria Due to Injustice – Ubani

Onyekachi Ubani, second vice president, Nigerian Bar Association condemns Northern Youths quit order to Igbo, saying agitation by various groups in the country is due to injustice in the Nigerian system

By Anayo Ezugwu  |  Jun 26, 2017 @ 01:00 GMT  |

FOLLOWING the quit notice issued to Igbo people to vacate the 19 states of the northern Nigeria by October 1, Monday Onyekachi Ubani, second vice president, Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, has called on the federal government to restructure the country to meet the yearnings of the citizens. He said it is only restructuring that can rescue the nation from impending dangers.

Ubani told Realnews that the issue of quit notice or threat of secession shows that Nigeria is not healthy. “The structure of Nigeria is defective. We need to take a look at the structure of Nigeria. Too much power is concentrated at the federal level. We need to look at the constitution and remove most of the things that are in the exclusive list and put them on the concurrent list and devolve powers to the federating units so that we can run an efficient country. So that people will begin to develop at their pace and manage their resources and pay tax to the federal level.”

According to him, almost everything in this country is centralised at the centre even the issue of resource control. After collecting revenue at the centre, you pay the states at the end of the month and thereby making all the states to be so lazy, he said, noting hat only a few states in the country are viable. “You find out that the structure is not healthy and this is actually what is contributing to the tension because everyone is looking towards the centre. And the centre is not fulfilling all the aspirations, so tensions are high all over the place. We need to take a look again at the structure we are running presently and see what we can do to modify it to suit our needs.”

He said the ongoing agitations and counter-agitations means that the regions need to renegotiate the unity of this country in a manner that there is equity and justice for all. “We need to renegotiate the unity of this country, but as for whether we will remain together, that is not negotiable, we will remain together.  Let us run a society that takes care of peoples’ needs. You cannot be running a government where there is so much wickedness, high handedness and corruption and you think you cannot negotiable the unity of the country. Virtually everything is based on injustice.

Ubani said those groups that issued the quit notice were not representing the views and aspirations of the northern youths. “My take in all these things is that some people can just gather together and claim to be what they are not. You ask yourself this northern youths when did they even meet and sort the consent of all the youths in the north. Most of those groups were not even registered with Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC. And they just claim as if they are speaking on behalf of the entire northern youths.

“But it is dangerous too for people to even contemplate it, whether it is one person or two persons, provided it is in a country that is very volatile like Nigeria, a country that is very unstable, a country that is suffering from a lot of crises, it is not in the best interest of Nigeria for such a pronouncement to have been made by Nigerians.”

He said: “It is even more appalling that some elders, somebody like Prof Ango Abdullahi has come to speak in favour of the youths. So it’s appalling but I’m very happy that some reasonable northern elders have also spoken against that and have condemned what the youths said. A governor like El-Rufai, a governor like Tambuwal and even with the Emir of Katsina even called Igbos together to say he is ready to defend them with the last drop of his blood. With such elders who valued the unity of this country and Nigeria as a country, we can have hope that this particular quit notice will not precipitate any crisis.”

“Some of us are for a united country where there is equity and justice. I keep on maintaining where ever I have opportunity to speak that we are better off in a restructured Nigeria, where there is equity, equality and justices. And Igbos are better off in such a united country. That is my take. When there is equity and justice all these issues of divisive tendencies, divisions, crisis, hate speeches and others are unnecessary. We don’t need to create unnecessary tension in the polity that will precipitate unnecessary crisis because no country has ever survived two wars at a time,” he said.