By Perpetua Egesimba
The Lagos Chapter of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex Igbo socio-cultural group in Nigeria has said the Igbo would not leave Nigeria, even as they reiterated that fact that Nigeria would not disintegrate.
Similarly, it has inaugurated Colonel Reuben Nwako (retd) as the Chairman of Ohanaeze Ikorodu Division and presented him and other traditional leaders in the area to His Royal Majesty, Oba Adewale Shotobi, Adegorushen V, the Ayangburen of Ikorodu and his Cabinet members, for recognition.
Speaking at the Oba’s Palace recently, President of Ohanaeze, Dr. Domferguson Okoli who went with Eze Ndigbo of Lagos state, Eze Christian Uchechukwu Nwachukwu and the executives of Ohanaeze, the Youth Leaders, Market and Women Leaders, elders and opinion leaders of the body, said they want to adopt the Ikorodu Palace among all the Palaces in the state as their number one because they rarely hear that people were killed in the cause of fighting for the throne or were in the court fighting for the throne.
According to DomFerguson, Colonel Nwako would help to put Ndigbo in the area together and work with the people for the peace and progress of the area.
He told the Oba to feel free to send any Igbo man or woman on an errand, adding that they are at the Oba’s beck and call and would serve his kingdom as he has done well for Ndigbo in his area.
Ferguson said the only way Nigeria would move forward was when the Igbo and the Yoruba come together to build the country. He told the Oba not to be moved by the noise about disintegration, adding that with the kind of infrastructural and economic developments coming to Ikorodu, it would be impossible for Ndigbo to leave the area.
“Kabiyesi mark my word, the problem that we are having is not the Hausa-Fulani but the unity of Igbo and the Yoruba. Once they agree to work and unite together, it shall be well for this country. The entire Africa is looking up to the Igbo and the Yoruba. That is why people like you are going to work around the clock to make it happen. Nigeria shall be one, we shall not disintegrate, and we shall work together.”
He said the Igbo are now adopting the good aspect of the Yoruba culture among them is the inclusion of the female children in the sharing of their father’s properties.
“The female children now have a say and fortunately for us, Supreme Court nullified what we call the Ori -Ekpe tradition early this year that the girl child should be entitled to her father’s properties. Whether the man is alive or dead, she must be considered. This is what we are carrying home from the Yoruba land to the Igbo land and it is working.”
Also speaking, Eze Ndigbo, Lagos state, Eze Nwachukwu who appreciated the Oba for receiving them well and granting them an audience, said Ndigbo established a relationship with the Yoruba since 1999 when Bola Ahmed Tinubu was voted into power and granted the Igbo all the requests they made.
Eze Nwachukwu said Ndigbo have been going round all the local governments in the state to install their leaders, adding that the reason was not to challenge the Royal Fathers in the state but because they discovered that the Igbo people are losing their language, culture and tradition and that was why Ohanaeze have decided that Igbo culture would not be lost, therefore, wherever they go, they raise traditional leaders to teach their children their tradition, language, food and culture.
He described Colonel Nwako as a good and honest man. “He is a man that has helped us to fight problems; anywhere we have problems he comes to help us fight it. He is a man who takes one’s problem to be his problem. And that was what made us to request him to come to our assistance in making sure that we come and see you, Kabiyesi so that we will be on the same page with you. So that anywhere we have any issue, when we beckon on him, he will do the needful.’’
He appreciated the governor of the state, Mr Akinwumi Ambode and Bola Ahmed Tinubu, promising that Ndigbo would continue to be law abiding citizens in the state.
Oba Adewale while responding said he was happy about their visit because a tree cannot make a forest. He added that when Nwako’s name was mentioned to him he said ‘yes, they have the right peg in the right hole.
“I quickly said to myself that you have gotten me what I have been looking for. From today, he is a Chief in Ikorodu. I give him and his wife; Chief Omobowale and Yeye Omobowale of Ikorodu Kingdom.”
The Oba who said Ohanaeze has won his heart for giving him Nwako to work with said, he was happy with the Igbo in Ikorodu because the issue of Badoo that the area was facing, no single Igbo person has been mentioned of being involved.
“Once we have a misunderstanding, we should sit around the table and discuss it. I am so glad that the issue of Badoo that we have in Ikorodu, no single Igbo man has been mentioned which means you are living a good life in Ikorodu and your people are law abiding here. All I know is that all the most expensive shops in Ikorodu and the good business, it is the Igbo man that is taking them. Nobody has ever mentioned your people as bad people in Ikorodu. “
He said those asking for disintegration are selfish because of Nnamdi Azikiwe, Odimegwu Ojukwu and others, their fights were not for disintegration but for the country to have a unity of purpose.
On his part, Chief Nwako expressed his delight for wearing double caps, one as the Chairman of Ohanaeze Ikorodu Division and the other, as Chief Omobowale of Ikorodu.
“I am elated and conscious of the fact that for such double caps, it is double responsibility but I thank God for today.”
He said Ohanaeze has come to stay and advised all other Igbo organisations that are not Ohanaeze to melt into Ohanaeze for Ndigbo to build a formidable force and have one voice rather than be separated.
He advised all Ndigbo in Ikorodu to remain, peaceful citizens, adding that when the tongue and the teeth quarrel, they still coexist. (The Sun)