Shehu Sani, former senator representing Kaduna central, says the Igbo have been systematically marginalised since the civil war.
Speaking in Kaduna at a meeting organised by the Association of Eze-Ndigbo in Diaspora on Saturday, Sani described the marginalisation as a “collective punishment”.
The civil war took place between 1967 and 1970.
The former senator said the injustice faced by the Igbo affects them in terms of how they are represented in politics.
“There has been a systemic exclusion and marginalisation of your people, stemming from the historical Biafra war — this is a collective punishment,” he said.
While recalling how Faruq Altine, a Fulani man, was elected a mayor in the south-east shortly before the beginning of the war, Sani said the Igbo have proven themselves to be patriotic Nigerians.
“That act alone (appointment of a Fulani man as mayor) sends a message to Nigeria that whatever happens subsequently is not the fault of Igbos,” he said.
“Today, Igbos are being seen as unNigerian, unpatriotic, forgetting the feat Altine achieved in the region.
“Most of those who want to divide this country aren’t picking their reasons from the sky. They are building their reasons on injustice and inequity meted to them. The only way to defeat a secessionist who doesn’t believe in one Nigeria is by giving justice to them.
“Each time we have a government, they give juicy positions to other tribes, excluding the Igbos. When you exclude an Igbo man from appointment, you are proving those who don’t believe in one Nigeria right.
“Since the end of the civil war, Igbo have been distrusted and regarded as unfaithful and unpatriotic Nigerians. The violence going on in the country is capable of thwarting the stability and peace of the country.”
The former lawmaker added that rotation of power in 2023 is what can guarantee peace.
“There can’t be peace and stability when positions in government become hereditary,” Sani said.
“As we move towards 2023, rotation of power is key to peace and unity.”
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