Award winning film maker, Mazi Dickson Iroegbu has convened a pan-ethnic organization named Indigenous People of Nigeria (IPN). Briefing the media on the aims and objectives of the organization at the inaugural press conference, Iroegbu noted that IPN recognizes and respects the rights of the Indigenous peoples of Nigeria to self-determination, because it is a fundamental human right.
He further reiterated that the escalation in the tempo of agitation for Republic of Biafra, Oduduwa, and other Indigenous groups can be traced to the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to show leadership since taking over the reins of power in 2015.
He also appealed to the leading political parties, to present choices that will reflect oneness, equity, fairness and justice to all Nigerians and allow the South East geopolitical zone to produce the next president of Nigeria in 2023.
Read the full text of his address below:
Ladies and Gentlemen, I welcome you all this day, to the inaugural press conference of the Indigenous People of Nigeria, IPN.
You all will agree with me that Nigeria, our beloved country, is comprised of over 250 indigenous ethnic nationalities, who though are the real owners of Nigeria, have suffered neglect, and are deprived of their God-given rights and privileges as indigenous inheritors.
Sadly, the current administration of our country has failed in its responsibility to dispense justice, equity and fairness to all Nigerians, hence, the myriads of agitations by various indigenous groups. The escalation in the tempo of agitation for Republic of Biafra, Oduduwa, and other Indigenous groups can be traced to the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to show leadership since taking over the reins of power in 2015.
IPN recognizes and respects the rights of the Indigenous peoples of Nigeria to self-determination, because it is a fundamental human right. We strongly hold that the concerns raised by these agitators are legitimate, hence, should be addressed.
We frown at the crackdown on harmless protesters and agitators across the nation. We strongly hold that the antidote for these agitations is dialogue rather than lethal force.
As a group for the advancement of the interests and rights of Nigeria’s indigenous people, the IPN aims to fill the vacuum created by the ineptitude of the current administration in Nigeria, and to enable and promote the required bridges for the much desired renegotiated federation. We shall defend the interest of ALL the Indigenous peoples of Nigeria, irrespective of ethnic and political affiliation or creed.
Therefore, IPN supports the call for restructuring of the Nigeria State by various stakeholders.
We strongly note that while God created indigenous people and ethnic nationalities, Nigeria as a country is a creation of a British soldier, businessman and politician. This man, Lord Frederick Lugard, and Ms. Flora Shaw, his spouse, acted on behalf of the British Empire. It is our view therefore, that no blood of any indigenous person should be shed to preserve this Nigeria enterprise. BLOODSHED IN NIGERIA SHOULD CEASE FORTHWITH!
We also note that penultimate to the 1914 amalgamation of the entity called Nigeria and afterwards, the Indigenous people were living together harmoniously. They intermarried among themselves and lived peacefully with each other. Unfortunately, the military in the year 1966, committed the gravest crime against the Indigenous people by disrupting the harmonious peaceful coexistence of Nigerians, and introduced ethnic profiling and killings. This unfortunately climaxed into the unnecessary pogrom and war that consumed the lives of over 3 million indigenous people of Nigeria. The unnecessary distrust among the indigenous people of Nigeria originated here.
Needless to say that the profiling of any indigenous ethnic nationality is responsible for the troubles bedeviling Nigeria.
We hold for instance that the Fulani ethnic nationality that has been with other Nigerians for several years should not be isolated and profiled for the acts of criminalities, banditry and terrorism presently ravaging Nigeria. It is on record that the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, has at different occasions blamed invaders from war torn countries like Libya and Central African Republic as being responsible for the act of terrorism and banditry in Nigeria. However, it is unfortunate that President Muhammadu Buhari and some unpatriotic elements around him fold arms while these criminals perpetuate violence in the name of indigenous Fulani in Nigeria.
We hold further that children are heritage of the Almighty God. Hence, IPN shall work closely with traditional rulers to ensure that no child is denied his or her fundamental rights. We propose the abolishment of the Almajiri system, which grossly debases the rights and dignity of these innocent northern children of Nigeria.
IPN also condemns the wrong notion that the Igbo ethnic nationality of Nigeria is unpatriotic, and is at war with other ethnic nationalities and by extension Nigeria. It is undisputable fact that Igbo ethnic nationality of Nigeria has more than any other indigenous group has investments and assets spread across every parts of the federation. It is folly therefore, for anyone to think that the Igbo wish for the destruction of a federation that houses its assets.
We can profile neither the Fulani nor the Igbo, we cannot profile the Yoruba because somebody is insisting that his people must be safe and secure.
Apparently, IPN condemns the notion that any particular indigenous ethnic nationality is the architect of Nigeria’s problem. Rather, the gross failure of leadership is wholly responsible for every ills bedeviling the federal republic of Nigeria.
We call on the traditional rulers, who are the custodians of the authority of the Indigenous people, to bring all the indigenous nationalities on a round table for a no-holds-barred conversation aimed at resolving any real or imagined differences, and initiate reconciliatory moves amongst the Indigenous ethnic nationalities.
IPN observes that the political class has already commenced politicking and jostling for various political offices, particularly the office of the President of Nigeria. It is a period capable of hitting up the polity and polarizing the already fragile and tensed atmosphere ahead of the forthcoming 2023 elections.
We recall that during the military administration of General Sani Abacha, a former Vice President of Nigeria and one of the founding fathers of the 4th Republic, Dr. Alex Ekweme, proposed the subgrouping of Nigeria into geopolitical zones. Hence, he proposed 6 zones, the North-East, North-West, North-Central, South-East, South-West and South-South, and suggested that power should rotate among these six zones for equity and justice. The Head of State, General Sani Abacha, saw wisdom in the proposal and adopted it. Unfortunately, the framers of the 1999 constitution failed to capture this brilliant arrangement in the 1999 constitution (as amended).
Since the return of democracy, three of these six zones, that is southwest, south-south and northwest have had opportunity to govern Nigeria through Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’adua, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and the incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari.
Muhammadu Buhari, who has been incumbent since 2015, is expected to complete his tenure in 2023. The natural expectation is that Buhari, being from the northern region, power should shift to the southern part of Nigeria following his 8 years in office.
IPN therefore, reasons that for the interest of justice, equity and fairness, the only zone in the Southern region, the Southeast, that is yet to produce a President or Vice President since 1999, should be supported to produce the next President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Nevertheless, IPN is not unmindful of the constitutional rights of indigenous People of Nigeria to elect whosoever they desire. But we appeal to the leading political parties, to present choices that will reflect oneness, equity, fairness and justice to all Nigerians.
It is our resolve to unveil in due course the action plan of IPN.
Therefore, we seek for the prayers and support of all Nigerians as we embark on this noble cause.
God Bless Every Indigenous Ethnic Nationality of Nigeria!!!
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!!