The Senator representing Anambra North Senatorial District, Princess Stella Oduah, has asserted that healing for the Igbo will begin when the bill for the South-east Commission is passed into law.
The Senator who made the disclosure at the inauguration of the Coalition of South-east Youth Groups said since the civil war, Nigeria has struggled to foster a sense of nationhood among its peoples. And the absence of this sense of belonging among the ethnic nationalities has engendered mutual mistrust and distrust.
She said: “In particular, the Igbo, who are a patriotic people, evidenced in their investments across the country and integration with host communities, have not had a fair deal as partners in the Nigerian enterprise. This has subjected their loyalty to severe pressure.
“Loyalty is sustained by trust and commitment. The Igbo deserve commitment and attention. They deserve a South-east Development Commission. Though this may not be an end, it is a means to it.
“As of today, the south-east is the region with the least federal government presence – in terms of projects. The region grapples with ecological problems, bad roads, poor electricity, unemployment and decrepit infrastructure. It is also the region with the least appointment in the federal government. Besides other factors, the neglect of the region fuelled the recent agitations for an independent state by some groups.”
On what she has been doing at the upper chamber, Oduah added that she among others sponsored the South-East Development Commission bill in the Senate in 2017 as an expression of a potent desire to see infrastructure development in the region and to see the Igbo fully absorbed into the national consciousness.
The bill according to her seeks to create a commission which will provide and implement a roadmap for the development of infrastructure and social services in the five states of the south-east – Anambra, Abia, Enugu, Ebonyi and Imo. This will certainly lay the groundwork for the massive infrastructure development of the region.
She stressed: “Last year, I supported a bill seeking the establishment of the North-east Development Commission because it was the rational thing to do as a Nigerian. The region is in dire a need of reconstruction owing to the impact of terrorism.
“I believe the south-east, which suffered the ravages of a civil war that are still visible today, needs urgent infrastructural attention. It is in dire need as well.”
According to her, the signing of the bill will herald the process of healing she initiated for the Igbo. I think, it will be the beginning of healing for the people when their region is given due federal government attention.
The Igbo need a sense of belonging in a country they have invested so much in and even given their lives for, she added.