Time to Listen to the Agitators

Founder: Igbo Youth Movement calls on the authoritie­s to engage the different groups of separatist­s in a dialogue

- NOTE: Interested readers should continue in the online edition on www.thisdayliv­ Elliot Ugochukwu-Uko,

At a time like this, I believe it is very important to remind us all, that the truth has been in the public domain for long, just that men in power chose to ignore the truth. By virtue of the fact that I have worked closely with the younger generation of my people for decades and earned their trust and respect over the years, I most humbly aver, that the solution to the agitation and the restivenes­s remains:

Engaging the agitators, collating their grievances and presenting same to the central government. This has remained my point of disagreeme­nt with Igbo leaders. A position I have maintained for years.

Building synergy with other progressiv­e regions in the country and strongly presenting the truth: That the 1999 unitary constituti­on, just cannot unite, sustain, let alone grow Nigeria. (gladly, something the Southern Governors Forum woke up to recently)

That the murderous herdsmen, who have so much terrorized and traumatise­d the nation and dislocated citizens all over the land, as if they are above the law, must be reined in, effectivel­y contained and dealt with.

We will be deceiving ourselves when we arrogantly refuse to enquire to find out the root cause of the grievances driving the agitation, just because we are afraid that addressing those grievances will uplift the much resented zone. Ignoring and shunning the agitators, only drives them crazy, deepening their anger and frustratio­ns. We have ignored them for over two decades and that strategy hasn’t solved the problem. Demanding a list of their grievances will go a long way to resolving the issue.

There’s no magic, power or strategy that will stop the agitation for secession, if the 1999 constituti­on remains the ground norm, states still dependent on monthly federal allocation and unemployme­nt continues to grow in leaps and bounds. The suffocatin­g unitary structure, hinders economic growth, stifling developmen­t.

Obstinatel­y insisting that the troublesom­e and unhelpful 1999 constituti­on, inspired by the military, is cast in stone, and un discardabl­e, only deepens the fears of domination and suppressio­n. Suggesting a hidden agenda to oppress and hold down others.

The brigandage of the ruthless herdsmen in the last five years, and the shocking advice from the presidency that their victims should choose between their lives and their ancestral lands, the claim by the well armed herdsmen that every inch of Nigerian soil belongs to them, plus the inability of the security agencies to contain them, led to and enhanced the loss of faith, that drives the agitation.

Nepotism, sectionali­sm, insecurity and maladminis­tration only blew the lid off the boiling cauldron, granting the agitators more confidence.

It’s not true that ignoring the agitators and giving them the impression that government thinks it’s infra dig to engage them because they are from a despised region, is the way to go. It isn’t true that lethal force alone will solve the problem, and the agitation will die.

It is not true that the structure of Nigeria is perfect and wonderful. Our 1999 constituti­on, the best in the world.

It is utter falsehood to assume that Nigerians will allow the vicious herdsmen occupy and take over their ancestral lands, and everybody will be applauding them.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nigeria