Image

GT Bank In Desperate Move To Stop Aggrieved Customers From Closing Bank Accounts |RN

GTBank-Igbo-customers-close-accounts

Aggrieved GTBank custmoers waiting to close their bank accounts

The news source has it that Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) on Thursday put up desperate moves to calm customers who were aggrieved over the arrest of Innoson Motors’ boss, Innocent Chukwuma, from closing their accounts.

Many aggrieved customers of bank stormed the branches of the bank in Abuja requesting their bank accounts be closed.

Many others were seen transferring their deposits to other banks.

But the banks requested some aggrieved customers to officially write and wait for the bank’s response while the bank’s staff were seen speaking one-on-one with others.

Some who requested for fund transfers were told that the “network was down.”

Speaking with some of the customers, they blamed GTbank over the arrest of Chukwuma by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission.

Independent News correspondent who visited many of the branches following threats of closing their accounts on social media saw long queues.

The customers were told at the Customer Service Section of the bank to apply to their account officers and wait for response while those wanting to make inter-bank transfers were told to either wait or come back the next day.

A miffed customer in one of the branches engaged one of the Customer Relation Officers (CRO) on a heated debate asking why he should apply.

“Why should I apply?” he asked in a loud voice with support from other customers who were queuing to make the same application.

“It’s my account so I want it close now, now! And don’t send me any alert again after today,” he boomed.

When approached why he was ending his relationship with the bank, John, as he could only identify himself said, “The bank owes Innoson billions of Naira, but they are using EFCC against him.

“They don’t want to pay, that is fraud. They are committing fraud and using government against Innoson. We won’t allow that.”

One of the CROs when approached said, they are just doing this out of anger adding, “They might regret it later.

“It’s not their problem; it’s an issue that would be resolved in the court of law. I wonder why they are angry,” she said hiding the name tag on her chest.”

At the Wuse 2 branch, the queue extended outside with the security finding it difficult to control the crowd.

One of the customers who spoke in Pidgin English said, “Any person who wants to bring down Innoson would go down first.

“I am here to show solidarity with my brother, Innocent Chukwuma. GTbank will fail.

“Innoson has won the bank in many court cases so they want to use EFCC so that he will forget his money. That won’t work,” he thundered.

Another customer who volunteered to speak said he had transferred millions to another bank. He also said the wife who had travelled would do same as they were ready to move their domiciliary accounts as well.

Inside the banking hall, the aggrieved customers were seen chatting and discussing the Innoson case with the bank and why EFCC was involved.

When Independent News correspondent approached a middle-aged man said to be the branch manager, he declined to comment, urging the news man to write an official letter to Lagos.

Innoson Group has been engaged in serious court cases with GTbank. It accused the bank of being indebted to the auto manufacturing company to the tune of N8.5 billion in a series of damages stemming from illegal service deductions by the bank. An initial fraud case brought against Mr. Chukwuma was withdrawn earlier this year.  (Infobytes)

http://www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Advertisements
Image

The Innoson Affair, The Igbo And The Orphans Of The Corporate World – Fani-Kayode |RN

Femi-Fani-Kayode3 (2)

By Femi Fani-Kayode

Such was his shock and anger at the turn of events that the real estate magnate and owner of the resplendent, opulent and stunningly beautiful ‘Amen Estate’ on the outskirts of Lekki in Lagos, Babatunde O. Gbadamosi, wrote the following:

“I have studied the case. I am going to withdraw ALL my funds from Guaranty Trust Bank tomorrow morning”.

The basis of his angst and consternation was the plight of the propietor of Innoson Motors at the hands of Guaranty Trust Bank, the EFCC and the Buhari administration.

Babatunde’s disgust and repugnance at the way in which the bank and the EFCC behaved accurately reflects the mood and sentiment of millions of Nigerians on this matter.

Yet in my view the matter goes much further and deeper than just GTB and the EFCC.

They are simply willing puppets, tiny minions and minor players in a much bigger game and a much wider picture.

Permit me to cross the “t”s, dot the “i”s, consider the background and look at the facts.

In the last one year alone no less than three prominent Igbo businessmen have been arrested, humiliated and detained by the Buhari administration.

All three are major employers of labour who fared extreemly well under the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan and whose companies have become household names.

The first is Cletus Ibeto of Ibeto Cement, a humble, charming, hard-working, low-profile and exceptionally profound and insightful man who I met when I was in detention last year.

The second is the ebullient, young and vocal Ifeanyi Uba of Capital Oil and Gas, who later joined politics and who was indeed a member of President Goodluck Jonathan’s campaign organisation in 2015 where we worked closely together.

The third is Innocent Chukwuma, the owner of Innoson Motors whose company is the only one in Nigeria that produces cars, who I am told is an absolute gentleman and whom I have never met.

These three men are amongst the five biggest and most prominent Igbo businessmen in the country today. The remaining two are Arthur Eze of Atlas Oronto Petroleum International and Emeka Offor of Chrome Oil both of whom have done very well but that have also had their own fair share of persecution and travails over the years.

I made a point of doing the research in the cases of Chukwuma, Ibeto and Uba and why they were having issues with the EFCC and the SSS respectively and I came to the conclusion that not only had they done nothing wrong but they were being targetted simply because they were perceived as being “Jonathan men”, because they were deemed as being sympathetic to the PDP, because they were Igbo and finally simply out of envy from ruthless competitors.

Given that it came as no surprise to me when, just yesterday morning, I was informed that Chukwuma’s home was raided and tear-gassed by the EFCC and he was arrested and detained in what can only be described as brutal and questionable circumstances.

I was reliably informed that officers of the EFCC and the Nigerian Police not only injured many in his home but that they also slapped his wife.

Never mind that he was later reportedly offered bail after what can only be described as a gruelling and harrowing period of torment and trauma: the fact is that his home should never have been raided and he should never have been arrested, detained and subjected to this brutal affront and indecorious indignity in the first place.

Such was my concern for him and the way in which the security forces had behaved at his home that I was constrained to post the following on both my twitter handle and Facebook page on that same day. I asked,

“Why should anybody be surprised about the arrest of the owner of Innoson Motors? They did the same to Cletus Ibeto about a year ago.These people come from the “wrong” part of the country and they are providing a service and employment for Nigerians. They must be punished for it!”.

I went further by offering some gentle and wise counsel to an old and dear friend by also posting the following:

“I have known the MD of GTB, Segun Agbaje and his two older brothers, Femi and Jimi, for close to 40 years and I have immense respect and deep affection for them. I urge him not to expose himself to the shark infested waters of politics by allowing himself to be used by these barbarians to destroy Innoson. If he does he will regret it”.

Yet it does not stop there. The matter goes much deeper and further than just the travails of Innocent Chukwuma of Innoson Motors or indeed those of Cletus Ibeto and Ifeanyi Uba.

It goes to the very heart and foundation of the fundamental problem of what Nigeria has been turned into by those who believe that they own her.

It touches on the nationality question, the quest and struggle for equal rights and opportunities for the various ethnic naionalities that make up Nigeria and the unofficial and unannounced policy of the Buhari administration to treat southerners as slaves and to discredit, crush and malign any Igbo person who aspires to excellence and greatness and who is a source of pride and inspiration to their people.

To those that doubt this grave assertion I have one question to ask: can they, under ANY circumstances, imagine or envisage Aliko Dangote of the Dangote Group or Abdul Samad Rabiu of the BUA Group , both of whom are highly successful, extreemly wealthy and very well-known northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani businessmen, being treated in this way by ANY Nigerian government let alone one like Buhari’s that was established by the Fulani and solely for the interests of the Fulani? The answer to the question is a resounding “no”.

Yet for the southern businessman and particularly for the Igbo one the rules are very different and the treatment that they get from the government and its security agencies are a world apart.

As a matter of fact they are unfairly deemed and insidiously labelled as the “fatherless ones” and the “orphans of the corporate world” simply because they are on their own and they have no favour or protection from government.

It is clear that any Igbo man that has the temerity and the fortitude to shine and to rise up by dint of conviction, vision, passion and hard work must be humiliated, demonised and denigrated.

The story and the theme appears to be a never-ending one and it touches on all spheres of human endeavour in Nigeria. The policy, principle and practice is the same: as long as you are Igbo you are in trouble and in order to survive you must sing the praises of the Buhari administration, bow and grovel to the Fulani, accept your servitude and slavery with stoic ignomy and “bend the knee”.

In the field of the struggle for self-determination and the quest for the establishment of the independent and sovereign state of Biafra the powers that be did it to the great Nnamdi Kanu, to his IPOB and to MASSOB.

In the field of business they have done it to the Chukwumas, the Ubas and the Ibetos of this world.

In the field of partisan politics they have done it to countless Igbo elders and leaders who have refused to bow to the Fulani hegemony that the Buhari administration represents.

In the field of the Armed Forces, the Nigerian Police Force and the various security and intelligence agencies they have done it as countless Igbo career officers have either been denied promotion and operational command or they have been prematurely retired.
Yet all this pales before the fact that thousands of young Igbo men and women have been secretly slaughtered, have been subjected to mass murder and genocide and have been buried in mass graves by agents of the Buhari government and security forces over the last two years and six months.

I have written about this over and over again simply because I believe that an attack on the Igbo is an attack on the whole of the south and is indeed an attack on humanity and all right-thinking people.

It is also an attack on the Christian faith of which I am a member because virtually every single one of the 50 million Igbos in Nigeria are Christians whilst those that are waging this unofficial and undeclared war against them are predominantly Muslims.

That is why the meeting between the Igbo and the Yoruba leaders slated for Jaunuary 11th in Enugu, under the auspices of Nzuko Umunna and which will be attended by the Obi of Onitsha, the Ooni of Ife, Afenifere, Ohanaeze and all the key Igbo and Yoruba leaders, intelligensia and politicians from all sides of the political divide is so crucial.

The Igbo and the Yoruba must set aside our dfferences, look at these matters, speak the bitter truth, come together and agree on how to move forward and protect our collective interest.

Whichever way it goes and whatever happens the matter shall come to an expected end because the God of Heaven will not sit by idly and allow this injustice and wickedness to go on for much longer.

I say this because the blood of the innocent cries to Him in heaven for vengeance and sooner or later He will hear their cry and both deliverance and judgement shall come.

In the meantime when I heard about the injustice that Innoson and his family had been subjected to I wrote the following words which came to my spirit and which burn in my soul right up until this very moment.

It is a heart-felt and powerful lamentation and it reflects the way virtually every right-thinking and sensitive southerner feels and thinks today about what is happening in Nigeria even though they may be too scared to voice it.

“O Igbo what have you done to the sons of Futa Jalon? Why do the heathans rant and rage? Why do the cow-loving aliens and foreign invaders seek to subjugate you and wipe you off the face of the earth?

In silent whispers they claim that they have cursed you, that you are not fit to rule or lead and that they hate you with a perfect hatred. Yet in 1966 you saw all this coming.

You warned us about what would happen and you tried to do something about it. Sadly we would not listen and we laughed you to scorn. You saw what we never saw. You knew what we never knew.

You suffered what we never suffered and you shed the tears that we never shed. 51 years later nothing has changed. They still kill you and rape your women. Only now they have widened the circle and it is no longer just you.

They have enslaved the rest of us as well. They kill us too and rape our women. Those of us from the South West, South South and the Middle Belt that joined forces with them to kill you and starve your children to death have now been turned into their slaves and serfs.

They kill us too and rape our women as well. They also take our land, shame our children and hate and denigrate our faith.

Yet we look on sheepishly and helplessly all in the name of keeping the peace and political correctness: we accept our pitiable plight and we suffer in silence.

The Bible asks, “what can flesh do to me?”, yet we ignore this divine injunction and holy scripture and bow our heads in trepidation and shame.

Our men have become women and we mask our accursed fear of death, destruction and incarceration and our inexplicable awe of our collective oppressors with a shameful and cowardly smile.

We readily accept every shame, every insult, every indignity and every act of savagery, brutality, barbarity and callousness that they inflict on us all for the sake of an illusionary, ephemeral, undefined and far-fetched concept known as “one Nigeria” which bears false and delusionary pretentions and claims of nationality and nationhood.

We even thank our collective oppressors and captors and we rejoice with them when they denigrate our faith and when they slaughter our children and our beloved in the fields and in the streets.

O Southern Nigeria: who has bewitched you? Cowardice is thy name.”

May God deliver us!

http://www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

Fani-Kayode Pens Down A Poem Concerning Innoson Group Travail In The Hands Of EFCC

 

Femi-Fani-Kayode4

Former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode

“O Igbo what have you done to the sons of Futa Jalon? Why do the heathens rant and rage? Why do the cow-loving aliens and foreign invaders seek to subjugate you and wipe you off the face of the earth?

In silent whispers they claim that they have cursed you, that you are not fit to rule or lead and that they hate you with a perfect hatred. Yet in 1966 you saw all this coming.

You warned us about what would happen and you tried to do something about it. Sadly we would not listen and we laughed you to scorn. You saw what we never saw. You knew what we never knew.

You suffered what we never suffered and you shed the tears that we never shed. 51 years later nothing has changed. They still kill you and rape your women. Only now they have widened the circle and it is no longer just you.

They have enslaved the rest of us as well. They kill us too and rape our women. Those of us from the South West, South South and the Middle Belt that joined forces with them to kill you and starve your children to death have now been turned into their slaves and serfs.

They kill us too and rape our women as well. They also take our land, shame our children and hate and denigrate our faith.

Yet we look on sheepishly and helplessly all in the name of keeping the peace and political correctness: we accept our pitiable plight and we suffer in silence.

The Bible asks, “what can flesh do to me?”, yet we ignore this divine injunction and holy scripture and bow our heads in trepidation and shame.

Our men have become women and we mask our accursed fear of death, destruction and incarceration and our inexplicable awe of our collective oppressors with a shameful and cowardly smile.

We readily accept every shame, every insult, every indignity and every act of savagery, brutality, barbarity and callousness that they inflict on us all for the sake of an illusionary, ephemeral, undefined and far-fetched concept known as “one Nigeria” which bears false and delusionary pretentions and claims of nationality and nationhood.

We even thank our collective oppressors and captors and we rejoice with them when they denigrate our faith and when they slaughter our children and our beloved in the fields and in the streets.

O Southern Nigeria: who has bewitched you? Cowardice is thy name.”

May God deliver us!

http://www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

Igbo Must Invest At Home, Says Senator Oduah |The Republican News

STELLA-ODUAH

Former Minister of Aviation, Senator Stella Oduah

By Fred Itua, Abuja

(fredo.itua@gmail.com)

Senator Stella Oduah is a former Minister of Aviation. Currently, he represents Anambra North in the 8th Senate and heads the committee on Cooperation and Integration. She was also a governorship aspirant in the just concluded Anambra State poll. She ran on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), but withdrew few days to the primaries.

In this interview with Sunday Sun, the lawmaker explained why Igbo must bring their investments to the South East. She spoke on other key issues.

You have been championing the campaign on the concept of “Aku Lue Uno” (The wealth should get to the home). What is this new campaign about? What does it hope to achieve?

Aku lue uno is a concept that encourages indigenes to think of their homes in their investments. It works in tandem with what World Bank is preaching, “shared prosperity” because the wealth of a man in now being measured by the level of poverty within their environment. It is not just the right thing to do, it is economically viable to invest in our homes, particularly for those from the South East and Anambra in particular.

We have the enabling community, we have the population and current government initiatives have provided enabling environment. So what we need is to plough back our investment and our commercial ability. What we have outside the South East zone should be replicated in the zone. We need to start domesticating our investments so we can help our people. We would help in improving the poverty level, we will help in creating jobs, we would help in growing our domestic economy. Most importantly our people will feel that accomplishment we have. In doing so, we would be doing what is termed shared prosperity, in doing so we are doing what is termed “Aku Lue Uno.

Statistically, one out of every four industries belongs to an individual from Anambra and one out of every importer or exporter is from Anambra. We also know that one out of every five successful business man or woman is from Anambra. Can you imagine the magnitude of that investment if we can just channel just 10 per cent of that home? We would create massive employment, we would create massive mentorship for the young ones and we would have a society that will be the envy of all.

So my advocacy is to encourage all Anambarians, all South Easterners to think backwards (home) on their investments. I am not saying uproot your industries. I am saying start divesting and think homewards so that our people can feel your impact and so that our people can grow. It is only by doing that that you can in all conscience say that you are a wealthy man because it is only by doing that that you can say yes I am an igbo man and I have made it. In my book, you have not made it if you have not invested what you have invested outside in your community.

There must be a semblance of that in your state. We must help the state to grow, we must help our people to grow, we must share our prosperity, we must be involved in Aku Lue Uno concept. It is not only when people die that they remember that they have homes. It is not only when you build big mansions in your village that your people will know that you are a wealthy person, but when you help in growing the wealth within your locality, within your community, within your state. Then if you say you are wealthy, even your community will applaud you that you are indeed wealthy.

Let us collectively and individually ensure that we bring our wealth back home. If you are a professional, make out time to share that talent, share that skill. That is prosperity. Any wealth that does not reach home is a lost wealth as far as I am concerned and it is a useless one. (Any “aku” that does not “lue uno” is a lost aku)

The average business man or woman only thinks about making profit. They are not in the business to be charitable. What should motivate them to come to the East to invest and what is the guarantee that it would be a profitable move?

The states are putting enabling environments for their people to come and invest. There are tax incentives that are in place. Most importantly, there is security. We have better security in Anambra than you have in Lagos. In Anambra, you do not have violence like you have in Lagos.

We have lacuna on infrastructure- rail, airports and so on, but then the state is in joint venture to build the cargo airport. Above all, we have one in Enugu. Enugu has an international market so you can export. The Federal Government needs to put inland container terminal in Onitsha so that importers can from Onitsha get their goods without having to go to Lagos or Port Harcourt.

When that happens, we will have access to international markets. You would be amazed at the number of vehicles that go to other African markets from Onitsha.

We are currently re-exporting in an informal market. That should be formalised. Alaba and other markets in Lagos are our people’s market. We should have a huge portion of that domesticated in Onitsha. That is where it should rightly be and rightly belongs.

There is also the problem of Pull Him Down Syndrome. It is the fear of many South Easterners that people are envious of their success and may want to stop them at all cost. Could that be the reason many prefer to invest outside their homes to avoid such envy?

There is no society in Africa where you do not have that pull him down sysndrome. It is just a question of poverty. Wherever you have poverty, wherever you have disparity of wealth, there will be envy, there will be jealousy. It is human nature. Therefore, to eliminate that, we must create something that will meaningfully and gainfully employ people and engage them.

When people are engaged, they are less “devilish” than when they are idle. If they are idle, and then they see you in this wealth and they can barely feed, it only takes an animal not to react and ask why you, why not him.

So, it is not peculiar to the Igbos. It is just human nature and again like i said, we can stop it. We can eliminate it by creating economic activities that will engage people particularly the young ones.

So are you saying that if the South Easterners bring back their wealth like you have advised, there may be no need for government to intervene?

I think the government should meet us half way. Government ought to provide a lot of the infrastructure that are lacking in the South East: the roads, rails and very importantly an inland container port in the region. South East is a commercial region. What we do best is trading, what we do best is industrialisation and so that that is innate in us. For us to be able to enhance it and export it, we must have global access and global market. We already have an international airport and that is one, the second one will be to have a cargo airport and that is why the inland cargo terminal is important. Unless we have that, it means that for every cargo, every transaction, import or export will have to be through Port Harcourt or through Lagos.

It means that accident rate that has been accelerated all these years because of bad roads will continue to be on the increase because for a trader to have his goods either imported or exported you have to go to Lagos or to Port Harcourt. So the road accident is something that the trader has to go through. For me as a South Easterner, I think it is the right thing and government must do it, not just one but a minimum of three container ports.  (The Sun)

http://www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

Ndigbo Will Back Any Party With Igbo As Presidential Candidate – Udeogaranya |RN

By Onyedika Agbedo

Chief Charles Udo Udeogaranya is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC). A former Lagos State chairman of the defunct African Renaissance Party (ARP) and former chairman of Lagos League of Political Parties (LLPP), he speaks on sundry issues in the polity including his 2019 presidential ambition, which he says was engineered by the need to have a youth at the helm of affairs in the country.

Two and a half years into the life of this administration, the politics of 2019 has started in earnest.  Many people consider it as a distraction to governance.  What’s your take?

  I consider it a noble idea for one to seek to serve his or her nation in an elective position. However, for you to serve, you have to be elected and for you to be elected, you have to convince the electorates on what they stand to benefit. So from here, you can see that a rigorous and lengthy time is involved. This is the simple reason why in the United States presidential election, it takes almost two years from the time the candidates announce that they are running to the day that one of them will be sworn into office. This is to allow the candidates to sell themselves properly to the electorate and I am happy that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) understands this and has just directed that all party primaries for the 2019 general elections be held before May 15, 2018. So, we are even running late and it shouldn’t be distractive to a government that ought to have a good understanding of this.

You are contesting on the platform of the APC and from every indication, President Muhammadu Buhari appears to be gearing up to seek re-election. What are your chances?

  My chances are very good in winning my party presidential primary election because my candidacy holds 100 per cent chance of winning the general elections and the reasons are not far-fetched. Nigerians need a young president with vibrant and creative ideas that will convert Nigeria into a producing nation, rather than a consuming nation. This is not the same with my good friend, President Muhammadu Buhari, and other interested aspirants, who are not as young as myself and cannot spring the quality of creative ideas that I can. In summary, any other candidate except my humble self will put the party’s chances at the general elections at a very high risk.

How would you react to the recent statement by Ohanaeze Ndigbo that in 2019, the South-east will only support a presidential candidate that pledges to hand over power to the zone in 2023? They appear ready to trade off the chances of the zone in 2019?

  That was not the position of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and could not have been because Ohanaeze Ndigbo is pained and unhappy that since 30 years of our democracy and 50 years from the civil war, no Igbo has been elected president or have been allowed to preside over Nigeria in any settings, in spite of our contribution to national development and population size. So, your interpretation is flawed.

So, what is the correct position of Ohanaeze?

  The correct position and interpretation of Ohanaeze is that if APC nominates me, who is a South-easterner as their presidential candidate, then Ohanaeze will back APC and would not need to enter into an agreement with the party any more because Ohanaeze wants a Nigerian president from the South-east, if possible tomorrow morning.

The clamour for the involvement of youths in governance appears to be getting momentum by the day.  How does that rob off on your aspiration?

  Times without number, I have said it that Nigeria needs a young man as president. I understand that just being a young man is not all that is required but when one is endowed with exceptional leadership qualities and have a good understanding of his people and willing to serve them, then creative ideas of solving problems would be at home with him. That’s why the holy bible says that young men shall see visions but old men shall dream dreams.

Nigeria today doesn’t need dreamers like Atiku, Abdulsalami and Buhari. They need a young president like my humble self. However, I would still work with our old men, present my visions to them and listen to their counsel in order not to repeat their mistakes for the good of all Nigerians.

You recently called for the amendment of the Electoral Act to include a provision that requires full medical report of governorship and presidential aspirants. Why?

  Yes, I strongly urge members of our National Assembly to consider the need for our Electoral Act to contain a medical qualification standard for presidential and gubernatorial aspirants above the age of 55 years in the 2019 presidential elections and beyond. Nigeria has suffered severe costs and precious governance time on medical-related issues on their president, past presidents and governors that ought to have been minimised with a stroke of legislation. There is no justifiable reason for one to run for a public office if he or she does not have a standard medical fitness to address the needs of a wonderful and great people of Nigeria.

Finally, sir, what is your message to Nigerians in the face of the current state of the nation?

  I encourage all Nigerians to still have hope and faith in Nigeria. I believe that God has not forgotten us and that we should do the right thing by voting in a leader that can truly bring a change and give us a new Nigeria that we all desire. You cannot vote in any of those that made Nigeria a nation you dislike and expect to have a new nation you desire. For a new nation you desire to occur, you must vote in a new president who is not part of the old order, a president that is his own man and not a surrogate of the old order and that president in waiting is me. But it is in your hands to make it happen.  (The Sun)

http://www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

2023: The Igbo Have Better Chance In PDP, Says Umahi |The Republican News

Chief-Austin-Umahi

Chief (Deacon) Austin Umahi is the National Vice Chairman (South East) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In this interview with our Correspondent, Obinna Odogwu, in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State capital, he spoke on the aspiration of the people of the South-east geo-political zone to be president by the year 2023 and the best way to achieve it. Excerpts.

 

The Ohanaeze Ndigbo has rekindled hope for the Igbo to be president by the year 2023. How can this be realized?

Well, it is God that actually gives life and the year 2023 is still very, very far. But our hope and our strong belief is that we are integral part of this country. It is a sub-system in a system of the Nigerian nation and for fairness and equity to prevail and to be seen to prevail, the aspiration is not a bad one. It is something that is realizable. But we the Igbo have a task; a task of unity, a task of love, oneness; a task of identifying with ourselves, a task of not pulling ourselves down once it is not you. So, the onus lies on us.

Are you saying in essence that the 2023 aspiration of the Igbo to be president is not something that you people can pull yourselves together and work strategically towards achieving?

No, you did not get me right. I said that it is something realizable; something we can achieve by coming together with unity of purpose, love and then shun this attitude of pull-him-down-syndrome. It is something achievable and we have all it takes to achieve it. But most importantly, we must have to come together because the Bible queried in Amos chapter 3 verse 3: ‘can two work together except they agree?’ The most important thing is the agreement; and agreement is all about unity and unity is all about love.

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is making spirited efforts to sack President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from power. Now, if PDP succeeds in its quest, there is likelihood that whoever that emerges will gun for second tenure. That would threaten the Igbo aspiration by 2023. But if Buhari returns, the Igbo have fair chance of realizing their aspiration. What would you make of this?

Well, the truth remains that you can’t negotiate some of these things. It is not a straight jacket thing. It is something that can be done not by war but by jaw jaw. In a round table discussion, we can agree on the way forward. And the way forward is all about fairness, equity; it is to recognize a geopolitical zone like the South-east as a major entity of this country. The South-east is a formidable entity for that matter. For that, the issue of the PDP comes on board in 2019, whether it will jeopardize the Igbo aspiration for 2023, everything is in the hands of God. And I believe that these things we can sit down and negotiate. This is because the PDP is the party that has the depth, and understanding of this country and the politics of Nigeria.

Recently, the Chairman of the South East Governors Forum who also is the Governor of Ebonyi State, Chief David Umahi, said that whoever the Igbo would support must spell out in clear terms what he has for the people. Do you agree with him?

I agree with him 100 per cent. I agree with him as the true son of the soil, Igbo. I agree with him because we are part and parcel of this great country. The era of following sheepishly has to be discarded. As a geopolitical zone, there is need for us to know the cake that is on top of the table and how we are going to share it. What is the take of the South East? It is not a question of you become a ‘follow follow.’ You should be able to identify because any mistake we make now will affect our children. It will affect the younger generation. And so, I stand by him. Whatever you are discussing that you don’t factor the South East interest, my brother, I will personally as the zonal chairman of the PDP fight it. I won’t support it. And that is why, even the emergence of the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, we made it clear that we as a geopolitical zone must be factored in.

Since you agree with your brother, does it mean that if President Muhammadu Buhari who is in the All Progressives Congress (APC) presents a better offer for the people of the South-east; that you and your brother, being members of the PDP, will work for Buhari’s re-election?

No! You are not talking like a politician. I am a zonal Chairman of the PDP and my greatest desire is that we come on board in 2019 as a party 100 per cent. So, the issue of anti-party is completely out of it. But I will speak for my people. I am here to speak for my people. I will stand firmly for my people. I can never have it better, and the Igbo can never have it better in any other party than the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Let us be realistic with ourselves. So, it is not a question of propaganda or fake promises. It must have to be concrete. And I believe that the PDP is a party we can negotiate our tomorrow with and then it will stand.

Sir, I don’t think you got my question… (cuts in)

I got you 100 per cent right. You said assuming Buhari decides to make a better offer to us and I say that there can never be a better offer in the All Progressives Congress (APC). And I stand bold to say it. I am a PDP man blood, flesh and in spirit and I don’t have any fear about that. I stand firm to declare it. And there is no place the Igbo can have it better other than the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). So, we stand by the PDP. We will negotiate what will be our better stake and I assure you that we will get it. As a geopolitical zone, we can never be deceived by lies.

What practical steps are the South-east leaders which you’re one of them taking to realize your aspiration of presidency come 2023? Are there modalities being put in place ahead of the time?

The Bible, in the book of Lamentation said who is he that sayeth to pass when the Lord has not commanded. We can only make efforts as mortals. All powers belong to God. But most importantly, if this is the agitation of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, I stand by them 101 per cent. And as a party leader, I will work very hard to ensure that our party respects that.

What if by 2023, the people of the South-east begin to champion this cause and the northerners and perhaps some other regions begins to kick against this aspiration, what are you people going to do?

My brother, power is not given; power is taken. That is the simple truth. You should go for it because the Bible says that whatsoever our feet should tread upon, we should posses it. And that implies motion; it implies movement. We have to move to posses that land. And by doing that, we must have to appeal to the conscience of other geopolitical zones. We must have to make them to see reasons. If we belong to this project together in Nigeria, that is right and fair; that this is all about equity. We must have to work very hard for it. Nobody dashes power. Nobody gives power except the Almighty God.          (The Sun)

http://www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

Biafra: The Great Men Of Ideas And Inventions From Igbo West Of The Niger

By Mr. Emma Okocha

“From time immemorial, the people that are called Igbanke today were known and called Igbo-Akiri. It was in 1967 when Ogbemudia became the military governor of the Midwest State that he changed the name of the town from Igbo-Akiri to Igbanke…

It would have been unthinkable at that time to reveal that an Ibo man or an Ibo town produced the military governor of the Midwest State…. Ogbemudia, including the prominent Evangelist Rev. Isaac Idahosa are all Ibo and they hail originally from Igbo Akiri.”

(See Blood On The Niger, Gomslam Books 2012 pages 33, 216)

Captain Fred Anuku, the Commander of the Biafran Navy was the first Nigerian naval graduate from Dartmouth. While his fellow Ika-Ibo Brigadier Samuel Ogbemudia joined the Federal troops, Fred, who was married to a Caribbean, fled Lagos during the 1966 Igbo pogrom and was offered the command of the fledging young Navy by the Biafran high command.

At the same time, Major Nzeogwu’s involvement in the January 15, 1966 Revolution brought suspicion and calamity to his own people of Asaba, Okpanam and environs. As we prepare to organise a programme for the Anioma and Asaba 50th Year Genocide Anniversary, we shall today mention some of the top actors, commanders from the western Ibo nation of both forces whose roles led to the genocide in Asaba, Isheagu, Ogwashi, Igbodo, Ubulu Kingdom, Ibusa and Ndi Oshimili.

These prominent Commanders include Major Kaduna Nzeogwu, Col. Conrad Nwawo, Col. Joe Achuzia, and Captain Fred Anuku on the Biafran side. On the Nigerian side, we shall record the memorable activities of Brigadier Samuel Ogbemudia, General Godwin Alabi Isama, General Cyril Iweze and Commander O.Z. Chiazor, the first black man to be commissioned by the Queen in the Royal Canadian Navy.

Significantly, at this time, charismatic Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu had been released from the Calabar prison. He had disagreed with Ojukwu’s war aims and military strategy, and obviously discountenanced the declaration of Biafra. He advised that the East should resist for, at least, four months, cultivate foreign and local support and then prepare and get into the position with more arms and training to resist a total war.

He opposed any frontal engagements against the superior-armed federal troops at that initial stage of the war. At the 1967 Abakiliki military exercise, Nzeogwu demonstrated his extraordinary military acumen and proved beyond doubt that he was the Rommel of the Nigerian Army. A commander’s dream, endowed with a peculiar knowledge of the sub-savannah battlefield terrain, he exuded a rare combat capability and commanded the battle simulation with such confidence and precision that he drew tears of adulation from the awed subalterns.

He inspired most of the officers with his unmitigated improvisations. To most of the top brass of the Biafran Army, who were seeing the dawn of real combat action for the first time, this fighting leatherneck was a military institution all by himself, a study in combat readiness and tactics.

After his release from Calabar, Nzeogwu managed to reach his boys still in the Nigerian Army in the Midwest and in the West. The plan to enter the Midwest was originally his and that was his own way of setting a stage for the cessation of hostilities, an end to the war, and the restoration of the ideals of the January 15 Revolution.

To this end, he was disappointed by his friend, Major Olusegun Obasanjo whom he had not heard from and whom he learnt had gone back to Kaduna. On the other hand, he was confident in, and had some respect for Major Samuel Ogbemudia, his colleague at the Nigeria Military Training College (NMTC), Kaduna.

Furthermore, Wole Soyinka revealed that the Westerners had agreed on the opposition against the North but also disagreed with Ojukwu on the declaration of Biafra, and for that matter, the declaration of Benin Republic. Declaration of Biafra, the Revolutionaries reasoned would isolate the Easterners and put the West and the Midwest in a bad position whereby sympathies from the West and the Midwest would end up being restrained.

They would do better fighting as Nigerians. Whatever was the final consensus, Ogbemudia turned tail. He was next heard of leading the triumphant entry of the Federal Forces into Benin.

Few days after the war, the Biafra Research and Production Bureau made two secret and instant contacts with the high command of the Nigerian Army. Willy Achukwu, the Onitsha-born multi-talented improvising scientist, led one team to the Commander of the 82 Division, Enugu. Before the meeting, a team of Biafran Scientists were directed to put down sketches of the scientific equipment, designs, take measurements of the weapons, guns.

A special house with good illumination was erected to keep safely all the Biafran designs and prototypes. They also produced a new Ajuala flying Ogbunigwe to supplement the ones produced at Awo Idemili. Research at this time resumed on what I might term the first world “Smart Bomb” was redesigned as the much needed facilities and spare parts, lacking with the exigency of the war were becoming available after the war. (Pse., see Biafra, a Legacy Lost TELL Magazine Special Report No. 14 April 8, 2002. Page 37)

While Willy Achukwu led one group to the Commander 82 Division Enugu, Professor Ezekwe and Professor Nwosu went to Benin and handed over their Biafran scientific designs to Governor S.O. Ogbemudia. Ogbemudia raced to Lagos and desperately tried everything to convince General Gowon to seize the opportunity and convert that Biafran scientific ingenuity and like the Americans absorbed the German-Jewish war scientific breakthrough; and transform Nigeria to a modern powerful black nation. Gowon shillyshallied and meanwhile the Willy Achukwu group were lucky to escape the gallows.

General Bissala the Commander of the 82 Division before their tearful eyes, poured gasoline over the designs and materials, brought out a box of matches and set the huge collection of scientific fabric of Black civilisation on fire!

Ogbemudia’s shock and depression on learning of the outcome of the meeting with the GOC and the burning of the Biafran war prototypes and designs was enough to transform him from Saul to Paul.

For the third time, the Brigadier deflected and returned to his original base and more than any other post war governor was very prominent in the rehabilitation projects to return the war-weary Igbo to Jerusalem. He offered grants to poor students, donated buses to the University of Nigeria and rehabilitated the former Biafran Army officers, returning home to Bendel.

All the same, he cannot run away from the serious war crime charges of changing the name of a whole community, the heritage of his people Igbo Akiri to Igbanke. To this day, the people of this community yearn to return to their kith and kin in the Ika province of Delta State.

On his triumphant entry into Benin, in company with the Butcher of Asaba, General Muritala Mohammed, can he absolve himself and other officers and men of the Federal Second Division, of complicity in the wanton killing of Igbo in Benin that started in September 21, 1967 to the end of that war.

The Republican News

http://www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading