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Resolutions of National Conference should be implemented – Eyah



As Nigeria marks 62, Saturday, a senior citizen, an Octogenarian and member of the Nigeria’s Constitutional Conference, Chief Nduka Eyah spoke on Nigeria, stressing that God has shown Nigeria where the errors are but Nigeria refused to hear. He pointed out that Nigeria could achieve greatness only when the resolutions of the Constitutional Conference are implemented. He spoke to MAUREEN IKPEAMA. Excerpts:

BEFORE I speak on the entity called Nigeria, I will say something about myself. I will talk about Nigeria’s independence because I saw it all. I am NdukaEyah, I had paid my dues to Nigeria and now a  senior citizen. I already have my boarding parts, waiting for announcement to take off to final place when they call us.

  We were all in the service of the country. I was a pioneer student of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. I was lucky to be employed by the same institution after graduation. I was seconded at Federal Polytechnic, Idah, as a Registrar. From there ,I transferred to the service of the old Anambra State Government. I thought at Onitsha and was later appointed Commissioner for Education in the old Anambra State. I was also a member of the 1999 Constitutional Conference.

  This country is not the country we worked for; we looked forward to when we were in school, when we were children and I think this background is essential for us. When we were regions, there was healthy connection. The first people who  wanted secession  was Ahmadu Bello.

They walked out in a conference. After the conference, people like Zik, Macualay, Akintola, Awolowo said no, we can’t leave these people ,they are our brothers and they went for another conference.

That conference in England brought out the Federal Republic of Nigeria in which it was agreed. At that time, we had regions, Northern Region, Eastern Region, Western Region. This was the time Nigeria’s independence was gotten. These people who created this problem are now giving us hell because of their parochial and selfish ambitions.

They are not thinking about the nation and I feel quite emotional, even though it’s with care. I remembered when we went for Empire Day, under the British. It was with our school uniform, white and white with canvass shoes. We were all happy, holding our flags, the Union Jack, singing about a king we did not know in person and Nigeria was working.

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  Coal was real business. Eastern Region was feeding the country with palm oil and coal. Cocoa in  the Western Region, groundnut in the North and trains were working.  A flight from Lagos to Enugu then was N2,80k. You know what it is now.

So, what is happening in Nigeria today – the bad economy, insecurity, workers’ strike and crimes.It’s a question of our  not being sincere to ourselves.

  In those days, things worked well. Appointments were based on merit. People were less emotional than they are today. I have seen much in Nigeria. People should be less emotional in Nigeria and make appointments on merit.

 What was called Igbo coup in 1967 was never an Igbo coup but things happened that gave an impression that it was an Igbo coup.

It was never an Igbo coup. Those who survived the first phase of the coup were not Igbos. They organised it. Those who were killed in the first coup were not Igbos and because of that emotion, human emotion; the northerners were emotional, they killed us. If the northerners had kept their emotions, Nigeria would have been a great nation. We are almost in the same situation now in this country.

We have lost all relations. We are blaming Zik but Zik and the Ghananianleader,KwameNkruma, were all Pan-Africanists. Zik, Awolowo, Akintola were Pan Nigerians, who wanted the good of the nation and some people are giving us hell, beating their chests; people who do not mean well for Nigeria .

   I will quote Kola Balogun, “When a man is full of pride and prejudice, his thinking faculty becomes naturally saturated with emotions.” Our emotions as human beings often take the best side of us because rarely, if Gowon, if Danjuma ,if Katsina , all northerners, if Buhari , who is now the president had kept their emotions,  they could have kept Ifeajuna in court Marshall for not doing the assignment given to him. But no, they said the coup was Igbo coup.

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For those who don’t know and are watching Nigeria, this is not the country that we worked for. This is not the country we looked forward to when we were children. I think this background is necessary for us to have a survey of what has happened. At a point, the Igbos lost their bearing.

  When we were regions , there were healthy competitions. The first people who wanted secession was Ahmadu Bello.  They walked out in a conference but Zik, Awolowo, Akintola said no, they are our brothers. Those people when they look back to when we had independence, when we had three regions, and among ourselves, we created fourth region, the Mid-western region, at that time if you’re going , your One niara(N1)  was worth $10, today we are talking about 500, 5, 700 per dollar and people are beating their chests, we have done very well. We have progressed and people are busy stealing 100h and 9billion, stealing people’s money.

  You know God works in a mysterious way. He has shown Nigerians where the errors were but Nigerians refused to hear. Our experience as elderly people who served Nigeria is that  local governments were created by regions or states and not  the federal government. Each regional or state government goes to federal, gets its own allocation of money, comes home and creates as many local government as it wants.

Only Enugu and Lagos States have Development Centres, which was stopped by the constitution. Otherwise, Development Centres would have been new local government areas and the answer is simple. Kano has 44 local government areas and Enugu has 17.

Most of the local government areas are in the north. They get larger shares. They should apologise to Nigerians. Nobody is talking. They are pretending. Why should some people treat others with scorn?

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   They kill people because they don’t have the same belief with them. How many lives have they created? They will answer to that.

  They talked of Federal Character. Let somebody publish NNPC in the last eight years and tell me whether it reflected Federal Character and Federal Character Commission is quiet. Look at #EndSARS protest. People are not happy with the way things are going in Nigeria. When soldiers were shooting and it was getting out of hand, you flew to France with your wife. Within 24 hours, you flew back. Can you explain to Nigerians what happened? Let’s not deceive ourselves.

  For Nigeria to be great again the leaders should implement the resolutions of the Constitutional Conference. Huge amount of money was spent for that . A number of 492 delegates participated in the conference that lasted for four months and came up with resolutions on how to move Nigeria forward.

  One of the recommendations is  power sharing/rotation. The 2014 conference recommended that the presidential power should rotate between the North and the South and among the six geo-political zones while the governorship will rotate among the three senatorial districts in a state. The document, which is in three volumes, was presented to former President Jonathan. The resolutions were not implemented.

  You know, God moves in a mysterious way. He has shown Nigerians where the errors are but Nigerians  refused to pick it. I wish Nigeria well. As general elections are coming in 2023, I urge Nigerians to vote wisely. Let us vote for leaders who will lead us well. I pray God to help us achieve that. Happy Independence to Nigeria.

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