EASTERN REGION ASSEMBLY (ERA) TASKS ATIKU-OBI ON THE YEARNINGS AND CHALLENGES OF THE EASTERN REGION THAT HAS LED TO AGITATIONS
It has been a marathon race for survival in the Eastern Region. The social, political, and economic disparity in our region gave rise to diverse concerns. The Amalgamation and subsequent declaration of independence did not take into cognisance the difference in values, religion, and worldview among the various nationalities. ERA, worried by these ugly developments in the region decided to swing into action.
ERA is aware that had our nationalists behaved well, the the declaration of independence would have corrected the incongruity caused by the unilaterally fabricated conglomerate called amalgamation through referendum. Yes, referendum would have solved the problem caused by emperor-based unity called amalgamation, for it is a known fact that Lord Lugard unilaterally fused the separate nations. Zik allowed his nationalist and Pan-Africanist bent to becloud his sense of judgment. We are in the know of the social inequality that existed even when we existed as the Old Eastern Region. The politico-economic problem then sparked off the Kaiama Declaration spearheaded by Jasper Adaka Boro, an Ijaw warlord. Truth is, even as a region then, we had our challenges. The unilateral amalgamation and declaration of independence afterwards aggravated the situation in our region.
Today, social stratification and neglect of some tribes in the region are at their all-time high, since the partial cohesion we had as a region has vanished. Agitation for the restoration of Biafra, which has become characteristic of our people, is actually the aftermath of what ERA calls protracted regional neglect. ERA, whilst not agreeing that outright secession is possible now, exudes compassion in analogy to the escalation of agitation in the region. MASSOB, IPOB, BIM, and others are various wings of reaction shown to the dismal state of things in our region.
It is the terse submission of ERA’s that the only way to avert violent outbursts in the region is a political contrivance geared towards providing a minimum solution to this problem. That is why ERA, in agreement with Ohanaeze, ADF, and others have given their viva to calls for a good restructuring programme that will hatch devolution of power to the constituents of Nigeria. ERA agrees that the situation is bad, though not irredeemably so, but takes solace in the fact that restructuring can give respite to the aggrieved indigenes of the region.
It is on the basis of this conception that ERA wishes to engage the candidature of Atiku’s and Obi’s with a view to eliciting from them the plan they have for the embattled region. ERA wants to ensure that the restructuring programme is sold to the PDP candidates and ensure that a documented social pact is had.
ERA is sick and tired of having our politicians pay blindness to environmental and political calamities that have become second nature to our region. ERA wishes to ensure that the deafness and lip service shown to complaints from the region end now. To this end, ERA has extended an invitation to Atiku and his running mate for a robust engagement. We trust that they will oblige and restore hope in the indigenes of the region and avert further loss of lives due to uncontrolled emotion. We entreat well meaning inhabitants of our region to join forces with ERA. A better and peaceful Eastern Region is the dream of ERA’s. It is also noteworthy that ERA shall put every machinery in place for a regional summit that will further cement the diverse tribes in our region. May God see us through. God bless Nigeria. God bless the Eastern Region. God bless ERA.
Russell Idatoru Sunju Bluejack,