Former Abia State governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu yesterday urged President Goodluck Jonathan to ensure the creation of two more states in the South to balance the Nigerian equation. Dr. Kalu made the call against the backdrop of cries of marginalization which continued to rock the embattled South-east. According to Kalu,”we are talking of equity. With the present 36 states structure, the North enjoys 19, while the South has 17. To strike a balance, two states should emerge from the South to give Nigeria 38 states, and also achieve a 19\19 balance.”
He called on the President to send an Executive Bill to the Senate to correct the anomaly. “We may not have to go through all the long haul of Constitutional grammar. This is a national emergency. The South-east must get another state, and one from the South-south, possibly Anioma, from the Old Mid-west, “the ex-governor added. On the need for fairplay, Kalu said,”at Amalgamation in 1914,Nigeria was made up of North and South. The Richards Constitution of 1946 divided Nigeria into three regions, one in the North, two down South. This went on to Independence in 1960. By 1963, when the First Republic came,
The Midwest region was created to make it three in the South, one in the North. General Yakubu Gowon quickly balanced it when he came up with 12 states in 1967. Six up, six down. No victor, no vanquished. However, General Murtala Mohammed changed all that shortly before he died in 1976.Kalu continued: “Things got so lopsided under Mohammed who added seven states to Gowon’s 12 to make 19.The North, for the first time, overtook the South at 10-9.Besides, of the new states, four of the governors were from the North, while three were Southerners. The impication was that, out of 19 governors under him, the North produced 11, South eight. It meant a lot, because even under Gowon, six of the 12 governors [East Central State Administator inclusive], were form the South.
When Mohammed took over in 1975,seven of the Governors came from the North, leaving the South with five,”he recalled. Kalu explained that Igbo interest was paramount in the exercise, arguing that even Chief Obafemi Awolowo believed Nigeria needed more states as far back as 1947.”Two new states cannot wait, they cannot be too many. Afterall, Chief Awolowo in his book: ‘Path to Nigerian Freedom’, called for 40 states in 1947.Today,the Igbos are not just crying for freedom, they are crying for living space. It was like state creation was a Civil War tool, today we are in 2012,a whole 42 years gone. Let the nation rise up against injustice.”