Successive federal governments have deliberately abandoned Igboland since after the civil war in 1970, leading to the present restiveness among Igbo youths and the agitation for the state of Biafra.
Former Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), Chief Simon Okeke, said this in his quarterly state of the nation press briefing at his Akatar residence in Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State, The Authority reports.
His words: “The IPOB, MASSOB and others like that who are reacting are doing so because their region has not been in the reckoning in the political equation and calculations.
“These young boys and girls have good reasons to react. There is absolutely absence of federal presence in the entire Igboland. To make matter worse, none of their brothers, sisters, uncles and aunts is in the kitchen cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari. They are simply reacting to injustice.”
Okeke further explained that the accumulated years of neglect and abandonment were responsible for the reaction of Igbo youths in recent times, including the agitation for revalidation of the state of Biafra.
However, he cautioned that the agitation against injustice and accumulated neglect should not lead to a clamour for another country, adding that what Igbos urgently need is a macrocosm called Nigeria and not a microcosm called Biafra.
He noted that although the South-East was reintegrated back into the country, nothing was done to rehabilitate and reconstruct the region, adding: “Igbos are very exuberant and their enterprise is second to none, which has made them to be scattered all over the face of the earth and undoubtedly doing very well.
“What we should be talking about is ensuring that what should have been done since 1970 is done. We should have in place South East Development Commission (SEDC), to reconstruct what was destroyed during the war. But nothing was done to reconstruct the zone that was the seat of the war, not minding the fact that General Yakubu Gowon promised reintegration, reconstruction and rehabilitation.”
While challenging South-East governors to unite in the quest for the uplifting, development and reconstruction of Igboland, he said that there should be about three dominant projects done by the Federal Government and jointly owned by the South-East to create employment for youths, in petroleum industries, major refineries and petrochemicals, because the entire South-East is a bed of oil and gas.
He said: “Another thing one should say about IPOB/MASSOB is that the reason these youths are agitating is that they did not know what happened during the war. Many of the youths are post-Biafran war children, so they did not know what happened.
“I hold the Federal Government responsible for removing history from the school curriculum. It ought to be taught from the elementary to secondary; students can then go to universities and specialise.”
The former boss of the PSC also threw his weight behind the anti-corruption war of President Muhammadu Buhari, debunking the insinuation that the war was selective. He said that corruption is the bane of the country.
Recalling with pride how he resisted attempts by a former Inspector General of Police to get him corrupted, the former chairman of the PSC called on President Buhari to pursue his war against corruption with double zeal and vigour, pointing out that he is very happy about the way the President is prosecuting the war against graft.
He said: “If President Buhari does nothing more than fight corruption, unmask corruption, recover stolen money, he must have done a lot, because most of his predecessors were not courageous enough to tackle corruption. We will expect and urge him to go through other parastatals and ministries when he is through with the investigation of the Office of the National Security Adviser.
“He should look into the financial records of the National Assembly, the constituency projects’ funds, ecological funds and other special funds. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should also be investigated.
“I also want to disagree with those who are claiming that the war against corruption is selective; the war must start from the known to the unknown and everyone must account for their actions and inactions. The military officers, serving and retired, arrested, are they members of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP)?”