Ohakim says Biafra agitation calls for negotiation
Canvasses planting of five billion trees to create jobs
Former governor of Imo State, Ikedi Ohakim, has advocated negotiation with Biafra agitators, to bring peace and avoid the mistake of the British in the case of Northern Ireland.
Delivering the lecture entitled ‘Nigeria: The Leadership Question’ during the Public Lecture and Award Series of Imo State branch of the University of Ibadan Alumni Association in Owerri at the weekend, he said: “Because of its security implication, I would like to advisee our present political leadership to avoid the mistake the British made in Northern Ireland.
“History tells us that Britain couldn’t defeat the Northern Ireland insurgents for more than 20 years. Peace and negotiation did the magic. For example, the late President Umaru Yar’Adua heeded this advice and succeeded with the Niger Delta militants through the amnesty programme.”
The former governor, who donated N5 million to the body, listed the problems the nation might face if the leaders fail to adhere to good counsel.
At the occasion attended by the representative of a former Inspector General of Police, Mike Okiro, among other top Nigerians, Ohakim expressed his belief that the country could not be developed from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“The behemoth called the Federal Government is becoming a disincentive for the development of this country. We must consider reworking the country’s articles of association to unleash the people’s potential.
“Unitary government, as being practised in Nigeria today, no longer works for anybody. The evidence is that virtually everything federal has failed. The urgency of our situation demands a new, normal, clear and different structure through which our people will be organised to face the 21st century challenges.”
The former governor decried extreme poverty in the land.
“Forty million unemployed youths, 30 per cent increase in divorce rate. Nigeria has the largest extreme poverty population in the world at the moment with 87 million people.”
On climate change, Ohakim urged President Muhammadu Buhari to act now.
He added, “We must all plant a minimum of five billion trees in Nigeria in the next three years. We must all get our hands dirty in every community and plant trees.
In his welcome address, chairman of the association, Richmond Amechi, said the chapter had consistently, over the years, organised the event to address the problems of the country and recognise those who made the country proud in their vocations.