Osita Okechukwu, the Director General of Voice of Nigeria has faulted the suit slammed against the Federal Government by Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) over the neglect of South East Nigeria.
Agbakoba, leading civil rights activist and lawyer from Onitsha Anambra State had initiated the suit at the Federal High Court Enugu, demanding a whopping N1trillion from the Federal Government as damages for the neglect of the South East part of Nigeria.
Agbakoba filed the Fundamental Rights Class Action against the Federal Republic of Nigeria for himself and on behalf of the South East Zone on grounds of discrimination pursuant to Section 42 of the 1999 Constitution.
But in a swift reaction, Okechukwu advised Agbakoba to tread with caution, especially now there “is a silent revolution being propelled by President Muhammadu Buhari,GCFR, aimed at prosperous and progressive Society going on in Nigeria.”
Okechukwu who offered this advice in a statement on Sunday, told Agbakoba that the ambition of Ndigbo would be better achieved via the electoral process than the courts.
The VON DG’s statement read: “I have great respect for Chief Olisa Agbakoba,SAN, especially his request for more states in the South East so as to level us with others; however no matter what anybody says the truth of the matter is that there is a silent revolution being propelled by President Muhammadu Buhari,GCFR, aimed at prosperous and progressive Society going on in Nigeria.
“Like any silent revolution it sips in like water, this is what majority of Ndigbo have identified, resulting in the surge into the All Progressives Congress (APC) and support for Mr President, hence exodus from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) from the South East. The entrants are more anxious, more passionate, and kind of remorseful; because they were misled into the falsehood that President Buhari will Islamise the country, he will construct only federal roads and other critical infrastructure in the north.
“Today, the 2015 general election had come and gone, Buhari not only did not Islamise Nigeria, but has gone to revive abandoned critical infrastructure East, West, North and South. Don’t forget with the little which accrued to our treasury he has demonstrated an uncommon foundation for transparency and accountability.
“This is the riaison de tre for surge into the APC, and one will advise my big brother that our ambition is better achieved via the electoral process than the court process. Otherwise, one may ask, where was Olisa during the Bazaar years, when some of them were romancing former presidents – Obasanjo and Jonathan- when our critical infrastructure including 2nd Niger Bridge were abandoned?” Okechukwu said.
In his suit, the former President of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) also made a long list of other demands from the Federal Government, including an order directing the Federal Government, which is the first respondent to forthwith prepare and send to the National Assembly for enactment, a bill to establish the South-East Development Commission (SEDC) and for ancillary matters, which body shall be charged with the execution of the said Master plan and the general development of the South-East Geopolitical Zone.
He equally applied for an order directing the 1st Respondent to forthwith put all its machinery, including but not limited to legal and political apparatus, in motion, with a view to urgently creating two additional states in the South-East Geopolitical Zone to balance with the Seven States in the North-West, and thereby bring to an end the discriminatory practices against the South-East Geopolitical Zone in terms of legislative representation, political and judicial appointments and net federal allocation accruing to the Geopolitical Zone.”
Nonetheless, Agbakoba also demanded for an order directing the 1st Respondent (FG) to take immediate steps to check the excessively aggressive and nefarious, yet ineffective policing of the South-East Geopolitical Zone and putting an end to the extortion going on at the ubiquitous police check-points on the highways in the South-East Geopolitical Zone.
He equally asked for a perpetual injunction restraining the 1st Respondent, whether by itself, its agents, servants or privies, or otherwise howsoever from further acts of discrimination against the Applicant or any member of the Group/Class represented.
He further asked for a declaration that in view of the provisions of Section 162(2) Constitution of the Federal Republic Nigeria 1999, which prescribes not less than 13% of federal allocation accruing directly from natural resources to be paid to the area from where such is derived, the neglect by the 1stRespondent of the huge Coal reserves under the rocky hills of Enugu and the environs in relation to the Applicant and the Group/Class he represents, of its exclusive responsibility by Item 39 in the Exclusive Legislative List, Part I Second Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, to extract the said coal deposits in commercial quantity in accordance with Section 16(2)(b)of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, while extracting solid minerals in other Geopolitical Zones, is discriminatory and a violation of Section 42 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999.