The pan-Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohaneze Ndigbo, has demanded the establishment of a South-East Development Commission with the sole objective of tackling the infrastructure deficit in Igbo land.
The establishment, it said, was the panacea to end the agitation for the creation of Biafra Republic.
National President of the Ohaneze Ndigbo Youth Wing, Mr. Okechukwu Iziguzoro, in an interview with Punch correspondent in Abuja on Saturday, said the commission should have a mandate similar to the Niger Delta Development Commission and the proposed North-East Development Commission.
Iziguzoro said lack of Federal Government presence in the South-East geopolitical zone was the main reason for the current agitation for the creation of a separate country for the Igbo.
He said, “If there is a strong federal presence in the zone, our youths will not see Biafra as an alternative, while fortune and fame seekers will not capitalise on that to hoodwink our gullible youths.
“Talking about infrastructure, there is no federal presence in Igboland. There are no good roads there and there are no viable industries owned or situated in the zone by the Federal Government that can cater for the employment of the teeming youths.”
The Igbo youth leader urged the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, put necessary machinery in motion to repair all major roads in the zone and to start the construction of the second Niger Bridge to create enabling environment for the establishment of industries.
Iziguzoro said, “We need the South-East Development Commission that will be a counterpart of the NDDC, which will be well funded to comprehensively tackle infrastructural deficit and engage our youths in productive ventures.
“There is also the urgent need to revive the Enugu coal mine that has been closed down for 43 years, which can be an alternative power supply to the nation and create employment too.
“If the Federal Government can address these fundamental issues, we believe so much that the Biafra agitations would end.”
He stated that the Igbo were being marginalised in terms of federal appointments and allocation of resources to develop infrastructure. He said the South-East should be accommodated in the current effort towards tackling social infrastructure crisis in the country.
He added the position of Ohaneze was that legal means should be followed in the current agitation for self-determination in the South-East.
Iziguzoro explained that the group had perfected necessary arrangements to present the need for the inclusion of referendum in the nation’s constitution by sending a delegation to the National Assembly to include it in the proposed constitution amendment.