GERMANY TO IPOB, OTHERS: Respect Nigeria’s Constitution, territorial integrity

By Umar Bayo Abdulwahab  Ilorin, with agencies

German Ambassador to Nigeria, Bernhard Schlagheck, yesterday, declared his country’s readiness to support a more united and prosperous Nigeria devoid of wrangling. Schlagheck spoke during an interactive session with the leadership of the Enugu state chapter of Ohaneze Ndigbo, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, in Enugu, yesterday. Th e ambassador also said the Federal Republic of Germany had confi dence in Nigeria’s ability to deal decently with the call for the restructuring of the country for a more equitable nation. He, therefore, advised all parties to respect the constitution and territorial integrity of the country.

“We are very much interested in seeing a decent constitutional process and plead with all stakeholders to respect the Nigerian Constitution and territorial integrity. “I am quite confi dent that the Nigerian people and their representatives in the parliament will take appropriate steps to make the restructuring process successful for the people of Nigeria. Let all stakeholders abide by the constitution and bring in what they have to say in the discussion process and make Nigeria better, prosperous and more successful,” he said. Schlagheck said his country was concerned about eff ects of the agitations in parts of the country on 2019 elections and beyond.

Responding, President of the state chapter of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chidozie Ogbonna, said the agitations from the South-east arose out of the feeling of marginalisation. He said the main purpose for the agitation was to secure a better condition for the people of the area in a united Nigeria. Ogbonna said the clamour for the restructuring of the country had become a national discourse and imperative to give all sections of the country equal sense of belonging. Th e Igbo leader expressed the hope that all issues relating to the restructuring of the country are sorted out before the 2019 general elections. He described the current administration at the federal level as a product of the yearnings for change by Nigerians, adding that much needed to be done to keep the people together. “Th e type of federation we run in Nigeria is not like others elsewhere in the world.

We have to do away with the feelings of injustice in the country,” he said. Restructuring advocates as losers In a related development, the Country Director, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in South Sudan, Prof. Kamil Kayode Kamaldeen, has said Nigerian politicians clamouring for restructuring, lost out in elections and power play, describing their actions as “a great disservice.” to the country.

He described the agitation as “a mere expression” that came because some of its proponents lost out in power play and employed the means to ventilate their grievances. Th is is even as a don with the Virginia University, USA, Prof. Zacheaus Ogunnnika, warned that “intellectuals are using ethnicity to divide us,” saying embarking on such restructuring “would fail like previous ones in the past.” Th e duo spoke to journalists in Ilorin on the sidelines of their lectures delivered at the 8th International Students’ Day organised by Centre for International Education, University of Ilorin. Kamaldeen whose lecture was titled “Oh, Waiting for Africa,” said, the current agitation was not alien to the country as it had undergone series of it in the past. He said it would be a “disservice” to agitate for restructuring when a politician was defeated in an election or lost out in power play.

Th e diplomat explained that genuine call for restructuring must come through collective resolution of all Nigerians, contrary to the agitation in some quarters, just as he added that the future of a country is not built on the basis of hunch. “I think anybody can call for restructuring, which is not a problem. It becomes problematic if we don’t know what restructuring should give us. I think there was restructuring in the fi rst republic, and ever since, Nigeria has been restructuring. And there has, still been more agitation of restructuring. Restructuring cannot be that when you lose election, then you go and agitate for restructuring, which is a disservice. Also speaking, Ogunnnika said Nigerian intellectuals “of today are using the wrong binocular to look at what is wrong with Nigeria and Africa.” Th e university teacher, who spoke on the topic “Intellectuals and Community Development,” regretted that “Nigeria started witnessing relative depreciation when our own people started ruling us.

” Ogunnika, who blamed those he described as Nigerian intellectuals of today, including his colleagues in the university system, for the problem bedevilling the country, said “our intellectuals are using ethnicity to divide us so that they can have maximum rule over you.” In a message, ViceChancellor of the university, Prof. Abdulganiyu Ambali, noted that though “the impact of colonialism still refl ects in our national lives,” it was high time Nigeria and Africa stopped “lamenting how Europe Underdeveloped Africa.”

Represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research, Innovation and Technology, Prof. Gabriel Olatunji, the VC said, rather, African leaders must rise to the challenge of developing Africa by exploring the potentials abound in the various countries and continent. In his remarks, the Director, Centre for International Education, University of Ilorin, Prof. Mohammed Ibrahim, expressed satisfaction that foreign students in the institution had improved signifi cantly over the previous years, saying they were able to blend through acculturation. Earlier in his welcome address, President of the International Students of the institution, Kaba Musa, enjoined the university authority to address the problem of inadequate hostel accommodation and hike in tuition fees which he said, were making learning diffi cult for them in Nigeria.

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