Igala nation rejects restructuring, seeks Okura state

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The Igala nation of Kogi-East has opposed the call by a section of Nigeria for a return to the political system of regional governments.

The National Leader of Uk’omu Igala, an umbrella body for all socio-cultural organisations in Kogi-East, retired Major General Patrick Akpa, made the position known at a press conference in Abuja, on the recent call for political restructuring and national unity.

Akpa said instead of returning to regional government, the Igala nation backed the current federal system, with a call on government to create Okura state from the current Kogi State in the interest of equity, justice and fairness.

He said, “We reject any proposal for restructuring Nigeria which takes us back to the idea of regionalism, as if we are so forgetful about the ugly experiences of the First Republic. Regional governments in the First Republic squeezed and emasculated the minority ethnic nationalities in the North, West and East, and the bitterness associated with the report of the Willink Commission, which rejected the quest of minorities for separate states that did not die until the premature collapse of the republic.”

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General Akpa (rtd) said the creation of the proposed Okura state was “in recognition of the persistent struggle for [it] since the Second Republic in 1981.”

He also voiced the Igala nation’s opposition to the proposal by the North Central Caucus at the 2014 National Political Conference, which called for the creation of Kainji state from Niger and Kebbi states instead of recommending the creation of Okura state that had been on the front burner of political discourse since 1981.

He said, “insisting on the creation of Kainji state out of Niger State (North Central) and Kebbi State (North West) will definitely alter the geopolitical configuration of Nigeria,” adding that the creation of Okura state  was “the natural equitable expression of political balance in the state creation exercise.”

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 Retired General Akpa also advised government to  review  the percentage of revenue allocation to oil producing states, the reconstruction and rehabilitation of areas affected by insurgency and other conflicts and the diversification of the Nigerian economy by “fast-tracking the development of the solid minerals sector.”

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