Nigeria would’ve been poorer without Igbo – Gowon

A former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (retd.), has said without the Igbo Nigeria would not be complete, even as he said that the absence of Igbo intelligence and hard work would have made the country poorer.

Gowon, who spoke during a debate organised by Igbo Leadership Development Foundation on National Unity: Federal Character, Restructuring, and Rotation of Presidential Power in Nigeria, Thursday in Abuja, said God did not make mistake in putting the Igbo in Nigeria.

The former head of state, who was represented by a former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr. Obadiah Mailafia, said, “I am not a friend of hate speech, bitterness but a friend of patriotism because Nigeria is dear to my heart and I believes in bright future of Nigeria and the Igbo and that together, we can make our country great.

“I believe that a lot of injustice has been done to the Igbo and the constitutional debate on restructuring must address all imbalances.

“Nigeria is big enough for all of us and I believe that the Ndigbo, Middle Belt and the Yoruba’s are the true Nigerians because if you look round our borders, people came from abroad and are still coming, but Ndigbo have always been there. Middle Belt have always been there, even Yoruba’s have always been there.”

In his keynote address, the founder of Gregory University, Uturu, Prof. Gregory Ibe, said Nigeria’s unitary and federal system was only in name.

“Most of the powers that will engender real growth and development are tied in the exclusive list. Solid minerals, electricity, railway, ports, security are all tied to the federal exclusive list to the executed only by the federal government, which has not been able to live up to an expectations of Nigerians.

“In summary, restructuring consequentially is returning to the states the powers taken away by the military from regions.”

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