Benin based Igbo businessman expresses hope in national Confab
By Kingsley Abavo, Benin City
Contrary to views expressed by a section of the Nigeria society, Ichie Cassidy Onyenze has said that the ongoing National confab in Abuja is one of the greatest things that have ever happened in the country.
Ichie Onyenze is a Benin-based motor dealer, politician and one of the Igbo leaders in Edo State.
The University of Benin Sociology graduate while commenting on the National Confab and its likely out-come with our reporter last week, said “the conference is going to be one of the best things to happen to the Nigeria nation.”
According to him, the agitation for the devolution of powers from the federal government to the component units at the confab was perfectly in order.
This he opined, would make the center less attractive stressing should it be adopted, the advantages are overwhelming.
Onyenze stressed that delegates must not forget to press for return of the Nigeria nation to regional structure as it would not only discourage corruption, but help to quicken development with every unit being naturally compelled to look in-ward instead of depending on monthly federal allocation.
He advocated also, that ways to returning Nigeria to agro-based economy should be plotted lamenting that over dependence on oil revenue has dealt a crippling blow on the nation.
Nigeria could survive on agriculture like the days of old if only government would create the enabling environment and not pay lip service to policies that look good only on paper, he emphasized.
“Government must de-emphasise dependence on oil revenue and highlight revival of agriculture; groundnut pyramid in the north, cocoa in the west, oil-palm industry in the east, rubber, and timber in the mid-west. This is apart from production of other food and cash crops that thrives in the county.
“In fact, Nigeria is blessed but unfortunately the people have been made lazy by easy money from oil but the situation could be salvaged once again if government is sincere and put in place measures that would make farming attractive. Naturally, people would go back to the farms.
On the Nyanyan Motor park bomb attack and abduction of several female students in Borno state, Onyenze described it as barbaric.
He blamed the Boko Haram terrorists scourge on the indiscriminate birth of children without a guaranteed means of rearing them as well as indulging in under-age marriage.
This, he said, is unfortunately being supported by the religious doctrine of allowing even an unemployed or indigent to marry as many as four wives.
Saying that government has seemingly been overwhelmed by the Boko Haram insurgency, and confused on how best to curtail the scourge, Onyenze suggested, if granting them regional autonomy where they would be free to do whatever they like without threatening the life of other Nigerians, so be it.
He stressed, government must not relent in its effort to discourage the almajiri system in the north which according to him is even the bedrock of Boko Haram as the children are never educated and availed proper parental up-bringing even as he would not absolve the Northern leaders of being behind the scourge. “To achieve their selfish interest, the almajiri child is always a ready-tool at their disposal”, Onyenze accused.
The sociologist however would not subscribe to the argument by a section of Nigerians that Boko Haram onslaught is aimed at stopping President Goodluck Jonathan from contesting in 2015. They have different agenda and it is to Islamise Nigeria because they hate western education. President Jonathan has the right to contest as a Nigerian. If he wins, so be it though, there exist political Boko Haramist; those that do not see anything good in the President and would always work to pull him down. My take is that he be allowed to contest if he so desires”.