The Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodinma, has advocated for an additional state for the South-East region.
He said that Ndigbo would be proud of the country if a sixth state was created in the region. States in the region at the moment include Imo, Enugu, Ebonyi, Abia and Anambra while other geopolitical zones have at at least six states.
The governor, who spoke during a public hearing in Owerri organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Constitution Amendment, said that the South-East people do not want to cede from the country.
Uzodiinma said, “As Nigerians, we all want a country that should accommodate our legitimate desires without compromising the rights of others. It goes without saying therefore that the constitutional amendments that we all seek will address our fears as well as our expectations.
“For us in the South-East, we have made it abundantly clear that we believe in a United Nigeria that works for the benefit of all. Last week, when the leaders of the South East met with the Presidential delegation led by the Hon Minister of Defence, we reiterated our stand that we don’t support secession. We also reaffirmed our quest for an equitable country where our youths do not get conflicting signals of being second-class citizens.
“Fortunately, we are in a democracy where questions of doubt are resolved through dialogue and robust debate and not through violence or insurrection. That’s why this public hearing is most auspicious for the people of the South East.
“As I canvassed when your colleagues from the Senate were here, the demand of our people is very simple. We want a Constitution that works for us, that accommodates us as equal citizens, that guarantees us justice, equity and fair play, a Constitution that makes us proud to be Nigeria.
“Broadly speaking, our people want a Constitution that devolves more power to the federating units, that gives vent to restructuring, that allows for greater autonomy without losing the essence of the federation. In whatever name that it is called, we need a Constitution that will make us stay together as one country comfortably.
“I am sure that Ohanaeze Ndigbo on behalf of Igbos would canvass our position before you. I am also sure that various Interest groups would also canvass their various positions. That is the beauty of democracy. Plurality of ideas distilled in a democratic Ambien makes for a strong Government.
“But I think that Ndigbo will begin to see equity in action when an amended Constitution of the Federal Republic gives birth to a sixth state for them. This will go a long way to assuage their present worries.
“Put succinctly, our people want a Constitutional guarantee of their inalienable rights as citizens, and that must include a palpable sense of justice, equity and fairness. I dare say that a sixth state will go a long way in this regard.
“I, therefore, call on all Nigerians to take advantage of the opportunity presented by this exercise to present their memoranda and stop this blame game. Our constitution provides separation of power, it is the National Assembly that will alter, amend our constitution be it for state, police restructuring or additional states to be created not President Buhari.”