The Declaration of Igbo Province took Place in Enugu on 19th December 2020, bellow is the full text of the declaration.
Igbo land had grown and today we are looking at a new beginning (The Igbo Province) that what we are about to do is not against the Constitution of Nigeria, that today we take another approach to the pursuit of our destiny as a people.
Fifty years ago our parents fought a bloody civil war for 3 years, It was an honourable lost, and today we are reintegrated into Nigeria and for most of us, we are born undiluted Nigerians.
We as Igbo people want an Igboland where our people can dream and achieve, where there are jobs for our people, where there will be security, respect and love for humanity.
We recognise the aspirations of every Igbo son and daughter, we are aiming at building an Igbo land that will be safe for all Igbos, irrespective of political affiliation, Religious Affiliation, Statehood preference, Igboland will be great and safe for all.
In this view, we present this to you our people in hope that we live to make a difference in the life of every one of our people and to build an Igboland that we can all be proud and happy to call home.
In this scenario, my people, myself (Alex Ogechukwu Abugu) and a host of other well-meaning Igbos had thought deep and today we want to say we arrived at first uniting Igboland to be able to handle 21st-century challenges and Carter for her people.
About Igbo Province
The Igbo Province also AlaIgbo or Igboland is the political and geographical Community of the Igbo people of Mid-Eastern Nigeria and elsewhere, the Igbo province also AlaIgbo or Igboland comprises all the Igbo speaking communities of Mid-Eastern Nigeria.
Apart from the Igbo mainland of present-day South-East Nigeria, Igboland spread further into the Niger Delta on the other side of the River Niger is Asaba in present Day Delta State an Igbo community and Further up is Igweocha which includes some part of present-day Portharcurt River State Nigeria. We also have our people indigenous to some minute part of the Middle belt.
There are other indigenous or naturalized Igbo communities scattered within the present-day Nigeria and other parts of the world as such it does not matter if you live in Asaba, Nsukka, Nnewi, Obigbo, Aba, etc. Igboland is One. And falls within AlaIgbo, Igboland or Igbo province.
Igbo province is a unifying, cohesion and identification driven initiative for the Igbo nation, call it a regional government, an assembly, or a province, it does not change the fact that the province was born out of the crucial need to protect Igbo interest, promote and protect our people, our land and our culture.
The scope of the province may not be comprehensible at the moment but we are committed to bringing positive development, protection of Igbo lives, properties and other interest.
In the coming days, we believe we will grow and as such, we can’t be certain about what comes with the future but we wish not to be taken unawares and as such, we strongly believe that all options are on the table and the pursuits of peace and progress remain our priority that’s by the way in the absence of threats.
Why Igbo Province?
Igbo province mostly came as a result of the distorted geography and political landscape of Nigeria which spells a lot of hidden motives to break Igboland into segments and thereby dilute our tribal identity and capacity to the point where cohesion may be impossible in the future.
It is on record that the British amalgamation took note of a people called Igbos, we are not a region, we are not a geopolitical zone, we are an indigenous tribe, native to West Africa specifically the Mid-Eastern part of present-day Nigeria.
Either the Nigeria Geography was born out of selfish motives against the Igbos or total ignorance or nonchalance in whichever way, it is unacceptable to us.
First of all, Igboland is not in the South East of Nigeria, no matter how you look at it, Igboland is in Middle East Nigeria, and recognising us geographically as being in the Middle East of Nigeria would be the first step in ensuring a geographical clarity for our people and our land.
We will no longer accept the South East as our geographical scope, while we are not saying that the geopolitical zones be dismantled, we are just saying well for maybe the ease of running Nigeria government, the zones may stay but take note that the geographic and political expression therein does not in an actual sense hold any validity as far as Igbos and Igboland is concerned.
What form of Government is Igbo province?
Igbo province will be a traditional democracy and shall be headed by an elected premier, as the constitution of Nigeria recognises traditional leadership, Igbo province is as traditional as the Benin Kingdom or Sokoto emirate and the Premier of Igbo province, for now, remains a traditional ruler just like the sit of the Emir of Sokoto who is the head of all Muslims in Nigeria, The Oba of the Benin Kingdom and Ooni of Ife or Oba of Lagos.
Since the Igbos are republican and democratic in nature, it will be unfair to have a government that does not take note of that aspect of us, having a Monarch would not make for cohesion and unity or general acceptance but having an elected premier would mean that, a premier will have to respect all the other Igbos in other to get their votes, in that case, it means that an Nnewi man has as much chances of being the premier of Igbo province as much as an Asaba man, an Owerri person an Aba man or woman or an Obigbo person.
How Do We Intend to Handle the Fact that Igboland Spans across more than one state when the constitution of Nigeria recognises that a traditional ruler be under a governor?.
I do believe that there could be futuristic provisions for that within the capacity of our able lawmakers but in recent time we had seen a similar event play out in the formation of the South West security apparatus (Code named Amotekun) where a security network was set up for the whole zone, now, we are under the Igbo governors but a single governor can not by virtue of circumstances unseat the premier of Igboland, not just because the province spans across more than one state but also for the fact that the premier is duly elected by the people and answerable to the people of Igboland.
If a governor wishes to remove the premier, then such governor need to lobby other Igbo governors including the governors of Rivers and Delta, and they will need to use their power in their individual state to get the people to pass a vote of no confidence against the premier, well if the governor can’t do that then he should better not dream of removing the premier of Igboland as we all have similar objectives which is the prosperity of Igboland and the premier is a choice of the people just as the governors or other elected officeholders in Igboland.
The Igbo Province is not against the current government of Nigeria
Igbo province is not against Nigeria or the government at any level, the province is much like a compliment and a part of the Nigeria government and as such if well harnessed could work as a synergy with the Nigerian government. We know for sure that Nigeria does not hate Igbos and if Nigeria truly wants us to grow then they should not try to limit us as trying to limit us would imply that Nigeria does not appreciate whatever that is aimed at the good of the Igbos then if Nigeria could not support an initiative that we believe will favour us, it means we won’t achieve our full potential in Nigeria, what next as a people, we will then decide whether we will continue to stay in a place where our growth is not appreciated bearing in mind that if we must ever call a quite it should be for a justifiable reason and nothing is more justifiable than the fact that our capacity could be caged.
If it happens then and a due consultation of our people, we may resort to formally notifying the UK government and all the other witness of the amalgamation and the international communities, and also notifying the rest of the tribes with veto power in Nigerian affairs of our dissatisfaction with the system but then I know Nigeria loves the Igbos and won’t go the way of limiting us from achieving our God-given potential.
Our Stand on Coup and Truncating a government, whether elected or Not.
Igbo province will not tolerate any attempt by our people to truncate or disrupt any government whether elected or not.
First of all, we take full responsibility for the first Military coup in Nigeria dubbed Igbo coup, unfortunately, lead by our son, Chukwuma Kaduna Nzogwu.
We had always wanted The Nigeria Government to apologise to us and show remorse for the Biafra civil war and the damages but also we need to take responsibility for our own bad deeds.
Igbo province will not accept any attempt by any individual or group to topple any government in Nigeria no matter how ineffective the government could be, every Igbo should steer clear of the choice of the Nigerian people.
Having said that, any Igbo who attempts to topple any government in Nigeria without due process must steer clear of Igboland as we will make sure that such person regrets ever being Igbo, we will not tolerate any act that has the capacity of endangering, innocent Igbo lives, we implore all Igbos to be patient with nature and not take laws into our own hands.
Our Stand on Biafra.
As far as Nigeria exist, Igbos remain Nigerians but Biafra continues to be a very crucial alternative, Biafra is the closest family of the Igbos in Nigeria and not only would the tribes and Kingdoms that comprised Biafra remain our allies but also our family, should the undesirable scenario happen and unfortunately Nigeria divides we will conduct a referendum for our people whether we want a homogenous Igbo state, Biafra or Join any other side of Nigeria but I can guarantee you that Igbos would stand to fight that Nigeria may not divide.
We believe that our father and Hero Nnamdi Azikiwe was in his right senses when he rejected the secession clause but if Nigeria divides and we choose a homogenous state, any Biafran or middle belt tribe would always be welcomed to join us, form a trade agreement or for those who can’t stand on their own but prefer some level of autonomy, could work the process of being a protectorate with us given the right circumstances, but for now, all we want is a Nigeria that is safe for all and works, a Nigeria where there is respect for human lives and the rule of law, where human right is valid, give us a Nigeria that works and we won’t care much about so many alternatives.
But as far as Nigeria remains a chaotic scene where life is a tragedy, we will not just see Biafra as an alternative but also pray for a faster actualisation if that will bring peace and safety of human lives, well you may already know that we Igbos would be the last to give up on Nigeria because we had always been the most passionate about Nigeria.
Our stand on restructuring
While restructuring remains a crucial subject, Igbos are a major block of the Nigerian state and as such should naturally have veto power, we will not accept Restructuring on Geopolitical zone structure or even if we accept that, the government must also accept Igbo province as a traditional form of government, should the government object to our demand to accept Igbo province and go ahead to restructure the country in an unfavourable way by cutting any of our tribespeople out of the mainland, then we will use our veto power to evoke the 1914 amalgamation as 100 years had passed and Lord Lugard and the British government took note of the Igbos when they were merging the country, what you must note here is that the country is Artificial but Igbos are a people.
We honestly don’t wish that the country breaks but we also shouldn’t be taken for granted, we are not a geopolitical zone or a region, we are a people with veto capacity in Nigeria and once we decide that we are tired of Nigeria, I strongly believe that the British government, The United Nations and the rest of the international community will listen to us but honestly we don’t want Nigeria to break.
Our Stand on Living in Nigeria as a tribe
Igbo province or Alaigbo also Igboland is a God-given gift to the Igbos and under no guise should anybody take it away. We hope to coexist in Nigeria with mutual respect, we hope to give peace a chance but should others take our peace-loving nature for granted, we will retaliate in any form imaginable.
We will always respect other tribes and conduct peacefully as far as they also give peace a chance and respect us, failure by other tribes or people to respect us and give peace a chance will lead to maximum retaliation.
I believe for sure that Igbos would not fight the federal government as our people built that same government, if we are ever fed up with the federal government then we get back to the drawing table and negotiate the way ahead but we will defend ourselves against every other entity be it a tribe, group or organisations. We will not tolerate attacks on our people, any attempt to provoke or threaten us will be retaliated.
We also implore that our people go about their business peacefully in any part of the country they may be respecting host communities and abiding by the laws of the Nigerian state.
Our Stand on Less Populated Tribes of Nigeria
We have a big problem with the Minority tribe tags on less populated people, we will no longer see any tribe as a minority because the forefathers of these tribes we refer to as minority today did not dream of a Nigeria where their children will be treated as minorities and given a tag that inspires inferiority complex.
Igbo province will recognise every established tribe with equal significance irrespective of their numbers and capacity, we can’t make life harder for these less populated tribes, their forefathers passed through a lot like being the victims of war, slave raiding, famine, disease etc. which distorted their population then in this generation we still see them as minorities and make life way harder for them, that’s going to stop with Igbo province, we recognise every indigenous people and will support them to achieve their dreams as a people, we will never force anyone to join us but we will never also push away those who come to us with genuine intentions.
Our Stand on Nnamdi Kanu
Nnamdi Kanu is an ambitious Igbo son just like Zik, Ekweremmadu, Governor Obiano, Ifeanyi Okowa, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala etc. and if by virtue of the fact that what we are working on is more traditional, we see Kanu as our father by virtue of age and also as our son by virtue of circumstances, a father’s love is unconditional, Biafra and Nigeria remain an option for our people, but since we don’t seem to have an accord yet we have to stay within the one established if we are going to see Igboland succeed, we have to understand these things.
We know that the Issue of Nnamdi Kanu is capable of tearing Igboland apart and Nigeria also, we wish that the Nigeria government could be swift in attending to the grievance that brought about the successionist movement, which mainly the Nigeria government is to blame as there had been wanton insensitivity on the side of the Nigerian government.
I do believe that given the right circumstances void of intimidation, Kanu is not a beast, his pursuit is justified as an aspect of self-determination of a people.
Nnamdi Kanu remains an amiable Igbo son and as such the province recognises his positive aspirations, Igboland is the place for men and women who can dream and dare to achieve, If Kanu believes he can liberate the tribes comprising Biafra, it is his God-given right to dream and dare.
Our Stand on Eastern Security Network (ESN) formed by IPOB
Biafra and the entire old East will remain our allies as they fought with Us for three years but IPOB security has a positive and negative side, as a security operative not recognized by law it is an ill-thought scare tactic, which if not treated with caution could lead to an insurgency.
The truth still remains that Our father President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) needs to disarm herdsmen, bandits, One Million Boys and Boko haram and if not then a radical armed group is inevitable here in the Old East, we just pray it is not hijacked
The big question is not about supporting it, it is the fact that radical armed group is rising in each zone it is better to have ESN than having herdsmen or Bandits in our zone at least let us know that what is biting us is in our own cloth, in the South West there is the 1 million boys already, all that is needed to put south-west in similar chaos will be to fully arm the 1 million boys, so ESN seems the better of all the evil at least they have a positive ideology but as it is going, armed groups uprising may seem inevitable in each zone now, so if armed groups will be inevitable, Igboland prefers that ESN represent us in the very regrettable and unfortunate league of armed militia.
ESN is the youngest of all the armed groups, If The Nigerian military disarms, Herdsmen, Bandit, Bokoharam and 1 million boys then we will summon our son and Father Mazi Nnamdi Kanu to unconditionally disarm ESN, if Kanu and IPOB refuse to Disarm ESN, Igboland would officially pull out of the Biafran project. So now, the defence for IPOB’s ESN is self-defence and you can’t expect them not to defend themselves when there are armed herdsmen, bandits, Herdsmen and 1 million boys on the loose.
As far as there is 1 herdsman, Bokoharam, bandits, 1 million boys etc. then ESN would be fools to go to an arms battle with microphone and protests.
Our Stand On Resource Control
The big question is, how many oil-producing states, for instance, are showing a positive result for the 13% return, if you can’t give an account of 13% what makes you think you can give an account of 100%.
We are never going to pressure the Federal government to implement resource control for states, well should the government choose to do that, it is absolutely up to the government but we know that resource control is not the issue, the bigger problem is corruption and lack of accountability.
Resource control when corruption is not eradicated is much like stopping some elements in the federal government from stealing so that corrupt elements of state government could steal. Which we do believe that it is better for the federal government to steal than for states to steal from their own people, at the end stolen money from a state ends in the hands of Federal government so let’s make the stealing easier and traceable so that when we will ever wake up, we will have fewer people or institutions to tackle on our stolen wealth.
Since the power of the state on probing is quite limited, we prefer more power in the central government so that with a single positive breeze we can set the entire country in the right path but resource control means that if we are ever going to wake up, we only expect that each state tackles their government officials and we know how much the government officials in the individual state level are capable of manipulating things to their very advantage.
Our Stand on the Current Presidential System of Government
Given the nature of Nigeria, presidential system of Government is the best, for now, I do believe that three of some of the best political and military minds Igboland ever produced deliberated in deep clime before deciding on the presidential system.
I would want to clarify on one thing, I do believe that Ojukwu, Nnamdi Azikiwe and Aguiyi Ironsi all thought deep before bringing in the presidential system and we support that it remains so, many people had thought that Igbos brought the residential system of government so that we could take over every sector but I tell you, the presidential system was more inspired by western thinking, a US studied Azikiwe and a UK studied Ojukwu with a Nigeria queens era minded Military General by the person of JTU Aguiyi Ironsi sat to bring the presidential system of Government which to us had been the best thing that ever happened in Nigeria.
Today Nigeria had been engulfed in religious extremism, tribal distrust and violence, regional governments could have split Nigeria since. The last regional government gave us a civil war because the Eastern region felt powerful enough to stand the federal government. War could have been really frequent if the government was to be regional.
Anti other laws could have been promulgated in each region. If Nigeria was a regional government, each region could have made laws that are clearly against others, we had seen Islamic laws in some part, maybe by now there could have been Christian laws in other part and there will be no Christmas holidays in some part and there will be no Salah holidays in other parts, with regional governments Nigeria could not have survived to this day.
As Igbos, we believe in the future that our heroes set for us in the person of Nnamdi Azikiwe, JTU Aguiyi Ironsi, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu and a host of other of our men and women, we trust that they knew what they were doing and as such we are not under any form of pressure to force restructuring but should other Nigerians choose to restructure, as far as Igboland is not restructured, we have no problem with that.
Igbo province had come to stay, we are the biggest traditional democracy in the whole of Africa, we are a part of Nigeria and wish to remain so as far as Nigeria will work, but should Nigeria fail we resort to other alternatives.
We are not scared of standing alone as a country but we are also not scared of standing together as a country, we are a lot bigger than Israel, Switzerland and Saudi Arabia but we are also a lot less than China, India and USA, so we have all it takes to stand alone and we also have all it takes to stand together.
Whether we stay alone or together is entirely on our people not on anyone else.
We hope that from now onwards, other tribes and people give us our much-merited respect as we also respect others.
We will no longer accept attacks or threats on Igbos anywhere they may be, not just in Nigeria but the rest of the world as such we also hope our people become good ambassadors of Igboland wherever they may be.
God Bless Igbo province, God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria, God bless our allies who defended us for three years in Biafra we must never forget.
Premier Igbo Province (Alex Ogechukwu Abugu)
Must Read: Igbo Apprenticeship System: Opinions