IPOB, MASSOB , Shiites will Continue Until…. – Chief Mike Ozekhome

Renowned constitu­tional lawyer and human rights activ­ist, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), has said the Fed­eral Government “cannot avoid true fiscal federal­ism” if it must put to rest the various agitations for resource control by ethnic groups in the country.
Speaking on the theme: “True Federalism” at The AUTHORITY Newspa­pers Awards on Thursday in Abuja, Ozekhome hint­ed that the current deriva­tion formula being prac­ticed in the country would not guarantee cohesion.
He disclosed that the trouble with the nation could be traced to Nige­ria’s “forced” amalgama­tion in 1914 by the British colonial masters, saying that the nation is often equated to the faulty tri­pod of the three major eth­nic groups of the Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa.
The vocal lawyer noted that the Federal Govern­ment could not continue to ignore the minority ethnic nationalities in the scheme of things and ex­pect peaceful co-existence.
“If you ignore the other ethnic group, there will continue to be self-as­sertion, there will be the clamour for self-determi­nation and you will con­tinue to experience IPOB, MASSOB, Niger Delta militancy, Shiite move­ment, etc. The reason is that there is great injustice in the system; the coun­try has operated more as a unitary system of gov­ernment rather than as a federal system of govern­ment.
“Federalism is simply a system of government that allows disparate group of people to live within their comfortable zones, respected by oth­ers and they themselves respecting others.
“It was 50 percent of the region that produced that mineral resource. Then 25 percent was paid to the federal government at the centre as tax, then the remaining 25 percent was shared by all the four regions with the produc­ing region that had already taken 50 percent, again sharing from that 25 per­cent.
“How come that sud­denly, we are now talking about 15 percent deriva­tion, and even suggesting that those people who are having this 13 percent der­ivation should show grati­tude? Ozekhome queried.
He declared, “under such an unjust system, you will continue to have turbulence because a lot of people will believe that they are being margin­alised.
“We need to give voice to the voiceless, we need to allow people to express themselves; self-deter­mination is recognised by the United Nations instrument. To stop it is not by force; it is through dialogue.
“Whilst not advocating any breakup because Ni­geria is a beautiful coun­try with our humongous population of up to 180 million people, uncount­able natural resources, we must know that in practicing our democracy and federalism, we must allow the minority to have their say even if the majority will have their way.”
“For as long as we con­tinue to operate an unjust and inequitable system, for so long will we con­tinue to have the ‘peace of the graveyard.”

READ  Senate Resolve To Stop Hike In Data Tariff
Be the first to comment!
Leave a reply »


Leave a Response