Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (retd), has admitted that the Igbo nation had been marginalised in Nigeria’s polity.
The ex-Head of State spoke at a public event organised by Igbo Leadership Development Foundation on Thursday.
Gowon said that appropriate measures must be put in place to ameliorate the pains of the Igbo.
Gowon was represented by a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Obadiah Mailafia.
He spoke on the theme, “Federal Character, Restructuring and Rotation of Presidential Power in Nigeria.”
Gowon said Nigeria had what it takes to cater adequately for its citizens irrespective of tribe or creed.
He said, “I believe that a lot of injustice has been done to the Igbos and a constitutional debate on restructuring must address all imbalances and restore hope and confidence.
“Nigeria is big enough for all of us and I believe that the Igbo, Middle Belt and the Yoruba are the true Nigerians because if you look round our borders, people came from abroad and are still coming but Ndigbo have always been there, Middle Belt people have always been there, even Yoruba have always been there.
“People who came in yesterday who have a duty of respect are now the ones talking. Going forward, we must create a federal democracy that will respond positively to all the aspirations of our people, not about East-West but all about working together in equality, bringing in the youths and the women to build a new Nigeria.”
Gowon noted that Nigeria cannot be complete without Ndigbo, adding that the nation needs to properly harness the intelligence, creativity and hard work of Ndigbo for national growth.
He said there should be justice, equity and fair play in the country.
”I am not a friend of hate speech and bitterness but a friend of patriotism because Nigeria is dear to my heart and I believe in bright future of Nigeria and Ndigbo and that together, we can make our country great,” he said.