Kalu tables issue of Igbo marginalisation before British parliament
Former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, has outlined before members of the British House of Common the level of marginalisation Igbo in Nigeria are subjected to. Addressing the House of Commons on Thursday, Kalu stated that it was time for the marginalization of Igbo to stop in the interest of Nigeria and the people.
Kalu told members of British parliament that in the 53 years of Nigeria’s history, an Igbo has only been head of state for six months, adding that the Igbo have the least number of states, local governments and get the least allocation and appointments.
He stated: “The implications of this calculated fraud against my people are so massive and go entirely untold: unequal allocation of resources, unequal voice at the Federal Executive Council, unequal representation at the National Assembly (the gravest of all), unequal participation in the administration of justice in the federation, unequal participation in the federal civil service and adjunct bodies, unequal representation in the armed forces and para-military organisations, unequal representation in the diplomatic corps ensuring incapacity in showcasing the Igbo culture as part of a pan-Nigerian culture in our foreign missions and embassies, fewer primary, secondary and higher education opportunities for our children.
“These structural disparities are constitutionally entrenched, thus their grave implications for Ndigbo are beyond the primary questions of inequity and marginalisation.” The former governor traced the problems of the Igbo to the early 19th century, when the British first explored the Lower Niger. “The rain began to beat us from January 1914 when Lord Fredrick Lugard completed the amalgamation of the northern and southern protectorates into Colonial Nigeria and became its first Governor-General. The Igbo did not have a say as to whether they desired to become a part of such a contraption or not.”
Outlining the things Igbo have suffered in Nigeria, Kalu recalled the Igbo massacres in Kano, in 1980; Maiduguri, in 1982; Yola, in 1984; Gombe, in 1985; Kaduna, in 1986; Bauchi, in 1991; Funtua, in 1993; Kano, in 1994; Damboa, in 2000 and the Apo 6 massacre, in 2005. He stated that although the slaughter of people by Boko Haram is yet to be documented, there could be no question that a disproportionate percentage of the thousands of victims, dead or maimed or permanently impoverished, is made up of Igbo people.
According to him, Igbo have been killed by “Nigerian Muslims who had been provoked not by any direct misconduct by the Igbo but perhaps because the Prophet Mohammed was insulted in Denmark by some European artist or because Allah’s name had been taken in vain in Los Angeles by an American satirist.” He said that it was in order to address these issues that Njiko Igbo, a pan-Igbo group was formed.
“A citizen of Igbo extraction has occupied the presidency or premiership or head of government of Nigeria for just six months and 13 days in the nearly 53 years of Nigerian independence. The presidency of the Nigerian nation has not eluded the Igbo by accident or by an act of divinity but by human design; and it is through human pressure that we can attain it. “Njiko Igbo is the catalyst and conduit for our collective action. We trust that you recognise, as we do, that power concedes nothing without a demand”.
He further explained that Njiko Igbo is an organisation dedicated to the struggle for the ascent of a citizen of Igbo extraction to the presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2015. “We are fully committed to the security and peace of our nation, and to the comradeship of a common justice and equality for all Nigerians. We are neither supportive of nor opposed to any political party or the aspirations of any individual politician.
Our primary mission is to enlighten and mobilise the Igbo population, both at home and in the Diaspora, to stand firm and united in the pursuit of our collective goal.” He used the opportunity to appeal to the British government to increase funding for special projects that benefit the underprivileged in Nigeria and Africa in general. He said: “The proposed legislation to reduce aid for health, education and infrastructure, among others, while committing more funds to war areas, such as Mali, with the provision of arms and ammunition will be counter-productive both in the immediate and medium term.
“Nigeria needs increased funding to meet our development challenges, the biggest of which is achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This intervention will bridge the gap between the rich and poor countries, thereby making the world a much better place for all of us and our children”.