The Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze, has renewed its call for the creation of at least one more state in the South-East geopolitical zone.
The Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Mr. Tony Oganah, told SUNDAY PUNCH that the group had been in support of all applications for a new state in South-East, insisting that the National Assembly needed to create at least a new state in the zone for equity’s sake.
He said, “Nobody can say we are asking for too much because we are demanding the creation of one or two more state in the South-East. North-East, North-Central, South-West and South-South all have six states each. North-West has seven. Why should South-East have only five?
“This is a question of equality. It’s a psychological thing. We, in the South-East, need to have the sense of equality with people in other geopolitical zones. There is an Igbo saying that states that ‘if you treat me like you treat my mates, I will be happy’. So, let the National Assembly considers that fact that all Nigerians deserve equal opportunity, irrespective of their ethnic group or geopolitical zone.”
Oganah said since the South-East had one state less than most of the zones, it was being short-changed in the sharing of allocation fund from the federation accounts, as well as appointment of officials at the federal level based on Federal Character Principle.
“We want to be at par with other zones, so that we get federal allocation for equal number of states like other zones. This will help to further develop the South-East and ensure that we get a more equitable share of the national cake,” he said.
The Ohanaeze spokesman however noted that the group was not in support of any particular new state being proposed from the South-East.
He said Ohanaeze wants the creation of an extra state from the existing five South-East states and the proposed Anioma State, from the Igbo-speaking areas of Delta State in the South-South.
On Wednesday, the Deputy Senate President, who is also the Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Review of the Constitution, Ike Ekweremadu, had said the path to the creation of new states was tedious “but not impossible.”
Ekweremadu, who said this when he received the Enugu State Government’s Committee on the Actualisation of Adada State, had earlier reported to the Senate that none of the 61 requests for new states met the constitutional requirements.
He said the requirements set out in sections 8 and 9 of the Constitution offered a number of hurdles which must be overcome before a new state could be created.