Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodimma has advised Ndigbo to take advantage of the opportunity of the ongoing National Assembly Constitutional Review Public Hearing to seek redress of all that have been agitating their minds in recent past.
The Governor gave the advice Wednesday in his remarks at the National Assembly Review Committee Public Hearing for Imo and Abia States taking place in Owerri, the Imo State capital.
Governor Uzodimma highlighted the constitutional issues agitating the minds of the Igbos to include rotational Presidency, State Police, Indigeneship in a State after 10 years of residency, devolution of more powers to the State, resource control and many more.
He said “these issues can be resolved through constitutional amendment, hence the unique opportunity the public hearing offers to our people.”
Governor Uzodimma added that “what we seek is justice and equity for our people to thrive and the Igbos owe nobody any apology.”
He however notedd that the Igbos “cannot achieve it through violence or threats of secession rather through an avenue such as this that we can put forward our request and follow it through.”
The Governor who had earlier welcomed the constitutional review committee Chairman, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege as the Deputy President of the Senate and other National Assembly members as well as the general public, emphasized that the public hearing is an opportunity for Imo and Abia States to make their inputs on the amendments they seek in the country’s constitution.
He reiterated that it is an opportunity for them to key into efforts being made to work out an acceptable constitution that will address the concerns of the majority of Nigerians in general and Ndigbo in particular.
The Governor who noted that he attaches so much value to the public hearing said “there could not have been a more auspicious occasion than for the South East and Ndigbo to ventilate those issues that have been bothering them for some time, especially in the recent pasts than now.”
For him, the constitution review is the beauty of constitutional democracy because it provides a platform for the ventilation of various ideas for the good of society.
For the leaders of the South East, especially Imo and Abia, Governor Uzodimma said they are genuinely committed to the Igbo question, which is demand for Justice and equity.
“When the Igbos’ talk of restructuring or devolution of power they are talking of actually having an environment created for them to unleash their potentials and talents without let or hindrance. They are also talking of being treated equally like every other part of Nigeria. More importantly, they are talking of being part of the decision process in Nigeria. The Igbo leaders are not talking of domination or secession,” he explained.
Concluding, Governor Uzodimma appealed to Igbo youths “to listen to the voice of reason,” promising them that “all shall be well.”
Earlier in his address at the Public Hearing for Imo and Abia States, Senator Omo-Agege who was represented by the Senate Chief Whip, Senator Orji Kalu, the former Governor of Abia State, said that the constitutional review embarked upon by the 9th Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is “meant to douse the raging agitation across the country resulting from the several infractions and inadequate provisions in the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.”
He called on Ndigbo, Imo and Abia in particular, to seize the opportunity to articulate their demands to be accommodated in the proposed constitutional review.
In a vote of thanks, the Senator representing Okigwe Senatorial Zone in the National Assembly, Senator Frank Ibezim thanked Governor Uzodimma for making out time to attend the public hearing to declare it open.
He equally thanked all that were present, especially those that submitted reports and advided others that are yet to submit their reports to do so, “so that the South East will not continue to grumble and agitate over what bothers them most.”
Apart from Governor Uzodimma and Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, others present include the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, the Federal House Member representing Okigwe North Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, Hon. Prince Miriam Onuoha, the Speaker Imo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Paul Emeziem and other distinguished lawmakers, dignitaries and people representing different shades of opinion from Imo and Abia states.