By Chimezie Godfrey
The Igbo Elders Consultative Forum has decried the tactical delay and reluctant of some states in the South-East to pass anti open grazing law as resolved by the recent meeting of the Southern Governors Forum.
The Forum declared this action as a coup against the Southeastern people and other citizens of Nigeria.
This was disclosed in a statement jointly signed by Forum’s Chairman, , Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife and Secretary, Prof Charles Nwekeaku and made available to Newsdiaryonline.
“The attention of Igbo Elders Consultative Forum has been drawn to the tactical delay or even outright reluctant of some states in the South East to pass anti open grazing law as resolved by the recent meeting of the Southern Governors Forum that each state in the South should enact an anti-open grazing law by September 1, 2021.
“This resolution of the Southern Governors that each state in the South should enact an anti-open grazing law by Septembe1, 2021 is not only commendable, creative and patriotic, but also populist and people oriented that any state that has failed to comply with it is insensitive, unpatriotic and anti-people as the reluctance or even arrogant refusal to comply with that decision is considered as a coup against the masses of the Southern Nigeria,” the statement noted.
The Igbo Elders commended the decision of the Southern Governors to barn open grazing saying that this is a demonstration of their determination to enthrone democracy, rule of law and transparent governance for a conducive, stimulating and challenging business environment. and orderly society for security of life and property of all the citizens irrespective of their ethnic, religious and occupational differences.
The Forum stressed that it is expected that every state in the South East should not only pass the anti-open. grazing law within this period, but also put in place appropriate mechanisms for immediate implementation of the law in the state, otherwise the laudable objective of enacting the law for the purpose of minimizing conflicts between famers and herders, as well as promoting ranching and other modern pastoral methods, will be defeated.
“While we commend Enugu and Abia States for their efforts to empanel legislation on anti-open grazing, we urge the other states in the South, especially in the South East and other Igbo speaking states of the South South to put in place necessary machinery to comply with Southern Governors resolution or be liable for aborting the popular will and desire of our people.
“The Governors and the State Assemblies of the delinquent states, especially in the South East should be held responsible for noncompliance.
“The Zoning of 2023 Presidency to the South, Preferably South East,” the Forum stressed.
The Igbo Elders expressed grave concern about the concerted efforts of some unpatriotic Nigerians, in concert with some of our sons and political leaders, to scuttle another patriotic resolution of the Southern Governors Forum that the 2023 Presidency of Nigeria should be zoned to the South for the sake of peace, justice, equity and fairness.
According to them, this ugly development is saddening, divisive and unpatriotic as we equally condemn it without any reservation, and shall support any possible sanctions against any Igbo sons and daughters that are associated with this deceit and betrayal of people’s will and popular desire.
“The Presidency has to be zoned to the South, and we believe that our brothers of the South South and South West shall be considerate enough to micro-zone it to the South East, which, except for the six-month of Aguiyi Ironsi military regime, has not be given the opportunity to lead the country in that capacity since political independence of Nigeria in 1960..
“We also hasten to warn that any political party that tinkers with the laudable and patriotic demand that the 2023 Presidency be zone to the South, and do otherwise by zoning it elsewhere, should be prepared to struggle without the votes of our people, because it is against the principles of equity, justice and fairness.
“Any political party that preaches democracy, accountability and transparency should first put into practice the principles of equity, justice and fairness by zoning the 2023 Presidency to the South, preferably, the South East.
“This will, no doubt, douse the increasing tension and heated Nigerian polity aggravated by the cries of marginalization, injustice, policy of exclusion, nepotism and ethnicity,,” the Forum advocated.