The Ndigbo Youth Parliament, the coordinating body for all youth associations in Igboland, has called on the Federal Government to focus more on dialogue as a way to address ethnic turmoil in the New Year.
The President of the Parliament, Revd. The Hon. Rikki Nwajiofor gave the advice in a New Year’s message.
Nwajiofor, while noting that Nigeria was a collective project that required the support of all regions to succeed, urged the government led by President Major General Muhammadu Buhari (ret.) to learn from the mistakes of 2022 and forge a country more united for all.
The message read in part: “To ensure the continued indivisibility of this great nation and strengthen our unity, we call on the FG to learn from the mistakes of the past year, on some issues that were mishandled, and make frantic efforts. within this year 2023 to dialogue with all aggrieved parties/groups/regions and address all issues, patriotically.
“Not all problems are addressed with a forceful approach and punitive measures. Some issues are best resolved through dialogue and awareness raising. There is a need for a concerted effort to strengthen the economy of our great nation and ensure that our naira earns its pride once again.
“The year 2022 has come and gone, but not without untold hardship, economic quagmire and unprecedented security challenges experienced by millions of Nigerians. We are grateful to all patriotic Nigerians, especially the youth, who persevered and remained patriotic even in the face of constant insecurity and adverse hardships across the country.
“We are immensely grateful to our security personnel, especially the brave patriots, who are on the battlefield sacrificing their freedom, their sleep and even their lives so that we can sleep peacefully and safely. Our deepest condolences to the families of all those who lost their lives in the fight against terrorism, banditry, insurrection, kidnapping and the like. May the dead rest happily, and ruthless murderers never know peace in life and death.
“Having critically analyzed the events of 2022, there is no denying the fact that our beloved country Nigeria needs our collective support to succeed. Nigeria cannot succeed if we do not contribute our individual dues in our various sectors, professions and communities. Despite the status quo of our great nation, we are highly convinced and confident that the unity of this great nation is sacrosanct.
“We call on all our brothers in the Igbo-speaking states to stand up against the current threat of insecurity in our region. Enemies have infiltrated our land, taking advantage of the loopholes created by “Biafra rioters” to unleash chaos on our people in the name of unknown gunmen. We are fast losing the grip of tranquility and peace in our once fun-filled and prosperous Southeast. It’s time to get the monkey hands out of the soup before they turn into human hands. If we don’t stand up against this hydra-headed monster brewing in our region, we will all live to regret our actions and inactions.”
The youth parliament also insisted on the need for the Igbo nation to remain in Nigeria, saying: “You have to keep in mind that secession is not the solution to the underdevelopment seen in the south-east. Some of the architects of our underdevelopment and apparent marginalization are from our region, they are our brothers and they live with us. Therefore, even if we part ways today, these architects of our problems will still be there with us and still in charge of our political affairs, if we don’t change course now.
“We encourage our good-spirited patriots from the Igbo-speaking states, especially the youth, to fully and actively participate in politics in 2023, aiming to usher in unprecedented development in our region. Charity starts at home, let’s make sure that all the resources dedicated to the betterment of our communities and our region are used patriotically for the development of our region. Let’s make sure our people have a sense of the dividends of democracy and hold our politicians accountable for our common wealth and allocations.
“Only when we make equal and patriotic use of the resources allocated for the development of our region, can we have the moral basis to cry out against the apparent marginalization of our region. We cannot complain when we are marginalizing ourselves within our region through the misappropriation of public funds and all other forms of corrupt practices.”
Nwajiofor, while thanking the FG for the completion of the Second Niger Bridge, also called for action to be taken on the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway as quickly as possible.