The Ijaw Youth Council, IYC has stated that Nigeria is yet to achieve democratic independence as minority ethnic groups are still under the colonisation of some perceived majority groups in the country.
The Niger Delta group which has been in the front-burners for Nigeria’s restructuring, made this known in its message to Nigerians on the occasion of the 59th Independence Anniversary of the country from colonial rule.
In a press statement signed by its president, Pereotubo Oweilaemi, Esq on behalf of IYC worldwide, described the anniversary celebration as a gathering of stoical dancers, noting that many Nigerians are not happy celebrating the Country’s Independence because doing so, seems like celebrating slavery and oppression.
Oweilaemi said, “Nigerians, especially the ethnic minorities are still under internal colonialism. There cannot be anything called Independence when some ethnic groups are under the colony of the majority ethnic groups. The political subjugation and annexation of the minority ethnic groups to live as free citizens in a Country that belongs to everyone smack of a Country lacking Democratic independent.
“Laws have been enacted for over the years through legislative processes by these domineering major tribes to colonise the minorities. The growing political marginalisation and economic strangulation as well as the economic apathy in the management of the natural resources in the Niger Delta region is a fall out of the internal colonialism Nigeria is practicing. Nigeria cannot attain Independence until its draconian, obnoxious and inimical laws are rejigged to accommodate the interest of the people whose lands produce the resources.”
Continuing, the IYC president stressed that, the 1999 military Constitution is the worst democratic gift given to Nigerians by the last military junta. “The Constitution set the tune for internal colonialism where some Nigerians are subjected to the status of servitude to the others. What Nigerians need to celebrate an independent Country devoid of internal rift is to enact a Constitution that is collectively made by the people. The reports of the various constitutional conferences, especially the 2014 confab report, if implemented would have salvaged the situation.”
Speaking on the way forward, IYC re-echoed the call for restructuring of Nigeria. “The Country is in dire need of restructuring. Those who are opposed to restructuring do not know its importance to the unity of this Country. The concept must not be confused with breakup. Restructuring means political-cum economic freedom. It will make Nigeria a truly Federal state where the people will see themselves as free and equal citizens in their fatherland.
“The ethnic minorities particularly the Niger Delta people will also want to breath the air of freedom in the Country. The present political arrangement does not accommodate our interest as equal partners in the Nigerian project. We are being subjected as second fiddle human beings in the Country we all called our own. IYC in collaboration with other other ethnic groups will continue to champion the cause of restructuring which in our understanding is resource control, true fiscal federalism, devolution of power to the component states as against the quasi-federal system being currently in practice, political autonomy and self-determination for all ethnic minorities in the Country. We will not back down on our collective struggle to make Nigeria attain a truly Independence status.”