Nigeria News
Confab: There’s money to sustain 18 new states – Orji

Would you say that there is now greater love and peace between the North and South after the conference?

Yes, I should say so. First of all, the opportunity presented by the conference enabled the peoples of Nigeria, north or south, east or west to come together.

The conference offered all of us the opportunity to talk and listen to one another because the greatest problem we have in this country is not having a forum where we really talk as people with various views or problems as it were. Concisely, this conference achieved that.

Everything we discussed we had consensus on them and they were for the general good of Nigerians because we needed to get away from the old past where we were affixed  and that afflicted us with a lot of pains, hatred, not working together and stagnated development.

So, I should say that  the conference did just that by allowing us to come together, understand ourselves and by the time we were finishing, we had understood the Nigerian problems properly. Again, we were all willing to see Nigeria in a new state.

Does that mean you do not see aggression and animosity rearing up again?

This conference addressed principally and succinctly that the federating units have to be states. It also tried to look into areas of serious concerns with respect to the local government administration. The system was creating a lot of tension in the country with many people nursing some grievances, saying that states and local governments were created arbitrarily.

So, something radical had to be done about the local government administration and structure. This conference also addressed that in a manner everybody was happy with. For instance, by our own recommendation, the local government has ceased to be a federating unit.

They have no business going to Abuja to ask for federal allocation. At the end of the day, modalities for sharing allocations are going to be limited to the federal government and states.

These areas were areas that created a lot of frictions. Lastly, for many years now, many ethnic nationalities have perpetually remained under the tutelage of major tribes and as a result, many of them have no hope of ever attaining any higher positions in politics. Some have even been denied social rights as we observed.

Typical example is North east where we also discovered that ethnic minorities are at the receiving end. Some complained that their children were not even allowed to be admitted to study some subjects like medicine, law and engineering in the University of Maiduguri when they are part and parcel of the state.

They were discriminated against even in employment. Some major tribes will be there to boss you even if you are senior. An example of that was narrated where somebody who was 12 years senior to somebody he taught in the university became his boss in the ministry. So, he had to resign and went away. Many of them suffered a lot of humiliation and it cut across many of these ethnic nationalities. So, you need to stabilise the system by making those people feel that they are part and parcel of this country. State creation was what we used to address it so that most of the ethnic minorities, by our own recommendations are going to be free and they are pleased with us.

Do you think that the creation of 18 additional states will eventually sail through?

Why not? What is it that is making it difficult? In the conference also, we dealt with the legal requirements for states creation. We modified the law so that it becomes less cumbersome to do this. And again, if this is what will bring stability to this country and make everybody  have a stake in the Nigerian project, why not? Some argued also that it was senseless recommending 18 states but they didn’t understand. It was not senseless. It is full of wisdom and we have the money.

The conference also dealt structurally with how to conserve resources and the money will be there to run it. There is no state in this country that does not posses a lot of solid minerals and we have that potential. Give anybody a state, they will own it. They are happy and will work to ensure that  the state is sustained.

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