President General Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide Ambassador George Obiozo has commended the Nigerian Army for its role in restoring peace to South East Region.
He made the commendation in Enugu when he hosted the General Officer Commanding 82 Division, Maj Gen Taoreed Lagbaja on a courtesy visit on Wednesday.
Ambassador Obiozo expressed his delight for the visit saying “without peace nations cannot progress and without the Armed Forces, we will have more problems. They are the pillars of Nigeria’s unity.”
He described the Nigerian Army among “the best in Africa”. He calls on troops to continue to do their best to ensure peace and security nationwide.
Responding, the General Officer Commanding described Ohanaeze Ndigbo as a key stakeholder in managing the affairs within the Divisions core Area of Responsibility.
He said the “Nigerian Army is an instrument of the state to safeguard peace, security and to ensure economic activities” hence the need to partner all stakeholders to achieve its mandate.
General Lagbaja commended the leadership of the group for their recent pronouncement against the threat of using force in enforcing secessionists’ planned weekly sit at home order.
He assured the entire residents of the region of security and warns troublemakers against any breach of security.
He extended the hand of cooperation of the Division to the group in areas of security in the region.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo is a socio-cultural organisation designed to provide a platform where Ndigbo, within and outside Nigeria come together for the purpose of nurturing better understanding and harmonious relations amongst themselves and with other ethnic groups in Nigeria and beyond.
The President General of the apex socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze, Prof. George Obiozor laid bare the need to restructure Nigeria to avoid consequent disintegration, if that opportunity is missed.
As a cerebral accomplished diplomat, he toed that line in a very spectacular manner but passed on the message diplomatically.
His address to the Senate Committee On Constitution Review is below.
AN ADDRESS PRESENTED TO THE MEMBERS OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE OF THE REVIEW OF THE 1999 CONSTITUTION.
AMBASSADOR PROF. GEORGE A. OBIOZOR
PRESIDENT GENERAL, OHANAEZE NDIGBO WORLDWIDE
Distinguished Senators and Members of the National Assembly, on behalf of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, I welcome you to this historic city of Owerri in the South East of Nigeria. Welcome to the South East zone and welcome to Igboland.
In our submission you will find that what Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide and Ndigbo in general are asking for are clear and simple.
Fundamentally what Ndigbo really want is some form of internal autonomy based on a restructured Nigeria.
That categorically stated we (Ndigbo) are of the view that the federation of Nigeria must be a union of equals and the composite units must have the ability to stand without begging the centre for survival. That is a federal system of government and with it characteristics of decentralization and devolution of power among the federating units.
Therefore, in the context of the imperatives and urgency of restructuring Nigeria, we should focus on getting the right things done for the right reasons, and at the right levels of government.
Indeed, what must be done and no longer what to do is to recognize that history has an iron law of seriality of which no country including Nigeria can ask for exemption or exceptionalism.
In fact, some countries are born with political tragedies waiting to happen. And our history shows that Nigeria is one of them. All signs of national tragedies foretold are present today in full force in Nigeria. In fact, it would require a restructured Nigeria to contain the present forces and tendencies towards a synchronized national crises and even a possibility of national disintegration.
Therefore as National Leaders, we must learn the lessons of history that in societies where truth comes last, tragedy comes first. And that the perennial problem or continuous dilemma in Nigerian politics has always revolves around the issues of Justice, Equity and Fairness. As I have said several times throughout history those denied Justice have had no interest in peace.
We would expect you at the end of this exercise, in the interest of the nation, its unity and progress, to conclude with decisions guided by love and not by hatred; and guided by our collective hopes and not by our fears.
Accordingly, for many Nigerians and groups,the 1999 constitution has left them with feeling like a caged lion over their relative capacities to develop their individual potentials, states and zones.
Therefore to many of these citizens across the country, states and zones restructuring Nigeria will be equivalent to releasing the lion from the cage and it can defend itself.
They called on the Chief of army staff to immediately stop the mass arrests.
The Professor George Obiozor led Ohanaeze in a statement signed by its spokesman, Alex Ogbonnia said: “The attention of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has been drawn to ongoing massive arrests of Igbo youths by the Nigerian Army.
The report indicates that “the military personnel, suspected to be led by the 34 Artillery Brigade, Owerri since Sunday have been arresting male residents and youths, particularly in Oguta and Ohaji communities and clamping them into vans and taken to unknown destinations”.
“The report adds that the army are “busy, carrying out raids, discreet searches and arrests of youths and residents who are suspected to be linked to the Indigenous People of Biafra and its security arm, the Eastern Security Network”.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Ohanaeze Ndigbo led by Ambassador Prof. George Obiozor is unequivocal about the use of firearms by unauthorized persons, bodies or groups. Democracy, all over the world vests the absolute authority for the legitimate use of force in government. We had admonished that the exclusive indulgence of AK 47 to the Fulani herdsmen as canvassed by Governor Bala Mohammed is antithetical to the ethos of a decent society.
“For the armed forces to arrest the Igbo youths without evidence of arms, means of violence or crime is cowardly, uncivilized and mostly unacceptable to Ohanaeze Ndigbo. It runs contrary to every sense of natural justice and rights of citizenship for the army to invade some Igbo communities in search of youths; most of whom are brilliant university graduates whose society has denied employment and sense of belonging. This is adding salt to festering injury.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo does not just wax lyrical about Igbo youths of all categories or dispositions.
“We condemn crime irrespective of the source. On the other hand, we stand on a firm wicket that it is ruthless to arrest any Igbo in the guise of membership of a terrorist organization unless there is sufficient evidence of crime or unlawful possession of firearms.
“We call on the Chief of Army Staff, Major General Ibrahim Attahiru to urgently stop the wave of arrests before it gives impetus to the proposal by the United Kingdom Visas and Immigration (UKVI) to offer asylum to person who actively and openly supports IPOB and likely to be at risk of arrest or detention, and ill-treatment which is likely to amount to persecution”.
…Says opinion of South East is to get 2023 President
…Laments that 2014 CONFAB was another failed attempt at remodelling Nigeria’s federalism
…Notes it can’t deny IPOB members,
…Throws its weight behind EbubeAgu
By Henry Umoru
AHEAD of 2023 general and Presidential elections, the umbrella body of South East people, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has asked Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the All Progressives Congress, APC, and other political parties to zone the presidency to the South East for equity, justice and fairness.
Addressing journalists yesterday in Abuja, the President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Professor George Obiozor, who noted that time is ripe for Nigeria to get a President of South East extraction in 2023, said the talent of Igbo is yet to be fully utilized and maximised by Nigeria.
Obiozor, who expressed optimism that the South East would get the Presidency in 2023, however, warned that many were called, and a few were chosen. It wondered why why people were beaming unnecessary attention on negative issues such as security challenges in the South East because Igbo Presidency had changed from probability to possibility.
Responding to a question on how Ohanaeze Ndigbo would achieve its purpose for an Igbo President in Nigeria’s multiparty system, Obiozor said: ‘’We have many politcal parties. We would appeal to them to nominate an Ibo man or woman as their Presidential candidate.
‘’That would do. That would be wonderful. It is found in the Bible, ‘many are called, few are chosen. Politics is a matter of selection. We would sort out ourselves. Just support us, including the press. I am soliciting the press. For now, just support a president from the South East, an Igboman or an Igbo woman.”
The Ohanaeze President General, who stated that Igbo leaders had already started consultations on the realisation of Igbo presidency, said it had been wonderful.
“The results of the consultations are in the papers of day before yesterday, yesterday and even today. Very sound, positive results. Wonderful responses. Have you listened to Edwin Clark or read him? One at a time. None is on the run. ‘’So we are taking it easy. We have given you wonderful example of the support. First outing, tremendous success. You read it, you saw it. Edwin Clark is not a frivolous man. He is a man of history and he is leading a people who have had experience in this country. ‘’In the politics of precarious balance in Nigeria, they have had experience. They know what it takes to support any group and they have done it.”
On political parties he said: “As many as they are, each one of those parties should nominate an Igbo man from the South East. As for who (candidate) it will be, it’s found in the Bible, many are called few are chosen.
“During the last Presidential election, all the major candidates were from the same zone. It was also so in 1999. So why are we trying to break our heads because it is coming to our zone. Give us, our choice will be made by us with your cooperation. That is what the Ibos are demanding. We deserve it and it is reasonable.”
On how the South East would speak with one voice to avoid a plurality of interests and aspirants, Obiozor said: “Other tribes are more divided than us, Igbo are more united. But because all of a sudden there is possibility of Igbo Presidency, some people want to label Igbo a terrorist zone.
‘’I advise the press and ourselves to avoid certain things that are not necessary. Nobody can divide us. This time around, we can get the Presidency from Igbo land. Probability of Igbo Presidency in 2023 has become a possibility.
“Igbo want peace, but not peace of the grave yard. Whatever every other citizen of Nigeria is enjoying, the Igbo need it too.”
According to him, a President of Igbo extraction will bring “capacity, difference and Justice and equity. It is sad that Nigerian does not want to use talent of Igbos. The Igbos are known for their divergent opinions. Is a true consensus possible?’’
Obiozor, who dismissed the claim that South East people were not united politically, said the notion that the zone does not speak with one voice reflects the plurality of ideas by what he termed an egalitarian people which would be harnessed by Ohanaeze.
He said: “Speaking with one voice is dictatorial and undemocratic. We won’t speak with one voice, Igbos will express themselves in different voices which will be articulated by a central leadership that knows.
“For the Igbos having variety of opinion is not a crime, no section has only one opinion on an issue. Igbos have different opinions and they all converge on president of South East in 2023.
“Divergent opinion is healthy in politics and politics is not a science of exactitude. It is not mathematics. Politics is considerably and consistently a matter of choices. So for the Igbos having divergent opinions is not a crime.
‘’No section of Nigeria has one opinion or has one leader. Do we have one opinion in the North East, the North West, even South South. Igbos have different opinions and they converge in Igbo President, President from the South East in 2023. That is the opinion.”
Asked to speak on members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, question, Obiozor said IPOB members are their sons that could never be denied.
“We won’t deny IPOB because they are our children, we can never never deny them. They are our people and they must listen to us just as we listen to them. Any area of conflict we will resolve as their father.’’
Answering questions on the 2014 National Conference, the Ohanaeze President hailed the conference as the best but faulted the refusal of the federal government to implement the recommendation of the conference, describing it as another lost opportunity.
“That confab was another failed attempt at remodelling our federalism. They didn’t want restructuring, they didn’t want federalism,’’ he said.
Responding to where the support of Ohanaeze laid between Eastern Security Network and Ebube Agu, Obiozor said: ‘’Believe me, an organization that is working for the security, peace, safety and interest of the Igbos is welcomed. Ebube Agu is formed by the government and governments of the South East.
‘’There is no comparison between Ebube Agu and any other organization. Any organization should come under the control of the government. This question is a very divisive one and we are a people tired of being divided by English language.
‘’Any organization that is fighting for fairness, equity and justice for Igbos is welcomed. If there is a difference, it will be method. It has to be harmonized. As the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, I don’t want any method that puts Igbos in harms way.
‘’That is inimical to our own safety, you get my point. In fact, every group in Nigeria is divided, some even more divided than the Igbos. Look around.
“Until recently, the South East used to be the most peaceful zone. Now all of a sudden, because the idea of a president from Igboland has moved from a probability to a possibility, people want to turn Igboland into a terrorist environment.
‘’Igbos are not nation breakers, we are not violent people. So we must find out the root of the recent spread of violence and Kidnappings and all that. So that is what I am trying to say. People should not use such a thing as the character of Igbo people. For all the things you can know Igbos for, Igbos are not known for getting money through laziness, like kidnapping. You kidnap your uncle, you get money.
“So my advice to the press, do not give publicity to things that do not merit it by comparing Ebube Agu with any other organization that is working in Igboland. Things have hierarchy. The governors of the states are the chief security officers of the states.
‘’So how do you compare them with organizations. Organizations are welcomed if they are working in the interests of the people and the nation. The people we are taking about are our children. They are our people.’’ (Vanguard News)
■Warns against encroaching on lands in Igbo land as lands are owned by people and deities
■ Asks government to stop a war it cannot win against nationalism bit seek peaceful solution
The apex Igbo Socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has warned those encroaching on lands in Igbo land that there’s no ‘No Man’s land in lgbo land’.
The President General of Ohanaeze, Prof. George Obiozor made this statement when he addressed the press at Ohanaeze Headquarters in Enugu on Thursday, 15th April.
Obiozor maintained that; “Land is a very sensitive issue in Igbo land because land has owners including some lgbo Deities. Those encroaching on land in Alaigbo are provoking Our people and our Deities.”
The Igbo leader also congratulated the governors of the South East for the setting up of the regional security outfit– Ebubeagu, the ban on open grazing and assured that they will rally Igbos across the globe.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo wish to congratulate the Governors for this milestone and assure them of the support of Ndigbo anywhere and everywhere for their eftorts towards the security of Alaigbo. Also, we congratulate them for their emphasis on ban on open grazing across Igbo land.”
Ohanaeze also called on the federal government to exercise caution in the handling of the agitations across the country and warned that the use of force won’t yield the desired result.
We all are aware that we are passing through one of the worse times in virtually all aspects of our national life.
“The Federal Government must therefore learn a lesson from history by not fighting an unwinnable war against nationalism but seek possible peaceful options that are the only solution that guarantees national unity and peaceful co-existence.
“I therefore urge the Federal Government to reconsider the use of force in resolving the present national crises. Again history shows that military and violent means to solve the national question is bound to fail as it leads to further national fractionalization, anarchy and eventual or inevitable disintegration, as in all Empires or multi-national state or countries.
“Nigerian political leaders must make haste and make careful and delicate choices on how to solve Nigerian problem which is Nigeria National question. Above all measures, the Federal Government itself must Conspicuously embrace the values of justice, equity and fairness in their true sense for real peace, progress, unity and development to thrive in Nigeria.
“The greatest problem for leadership anywhere in the world begins when the general public or citizens including members of the national political elite become conscious of the existence of governance based on selective morality, outrageous paradox and double-standard. And at that point, citizen alienation set in and the results are loss of integrity, prestige, diminishing legitimacy and authority of the government. No government should get to the point where the citizens will feel uncomfortable or doubtful about its decisions on matters of the national interest and destiny.
“It is time the Government and people start the healing process. Nigeria is in agony and pains, it is time for national healing,” Obiozor said.
The full press statement is below:
RESTORING THE DIGNITY OF MAN AND HEALING THE NATION
BEING A PRESS CONFERENCE DELIVERED BY THE PRESIDENT GENERAL OF OHANAEZE NDIGBO WORLDWIDE, AMBASSADOR PROFESSOR GEORGE A OBIOZOR AT THE OHANAEZE HEADQUARTERS, NO 7 PARK AVENUE, GRA, ENUGU ON THURSDAY APRIL 15, 2021.
I welcome you all to the headquarters of Ohanaeze Ndigbo worldwide. Let me thank all the journalists here for the very robust relationship and solidarity you have demonstrated since we came on board in January 2021 as the elected officers of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
It gives me great pleasure to once again address all of you on key national issues. I had assured you that from time to time we shall always assemble in this Ohanaeze Ndigbo Secretariat for an interactive session. It is my belief that a sustained partnership with the press will help to promote the lofty agenda of the current executive of Ohanaeze Ndigbo. You are welcome.
To begin with the greatest news I bring to you today is the heartwarming and overwhelming reception of Ndigbo of the news of the formation of Ebubeagu, a zonal security apparatus by the South-east Governors for the security of the south-east zone. Ohanaeze Ndigbo wish to congratulate the Governors for this milestone and assure them of the support of Ndigbo anywhere and everywhere for their efforts towards the security of Alaigbo. Also we congratulate them for their emphasis on ban on open grazing across Igbo land.
Once more, I state that there is no No Man’s land in Igbo land. Land is a very sensitive issue in Igbo land because land has owners including some Igbo Deities. Those encroaching on land in Alaigbo are provoking our people and our Deities.
We all are aware that we are passing through one of the worse times in virtually all aspects of our national life. General Murtala Ramat Muhammed over 4 decades ago succinctly captured the mood of our nation today in his message to the National Episcopal Conference of Roman Catholic Bishops held at Onitsha on September 9-14, 1975. “For too long we have paid lip service to the issue of remoulding our society, far too long, we have talked glibly in the past of the birth of a new nation while our nation continued to burn leaving big scars on our image as a people.
Now distinguished ladies and gentlemen, it is another critical time to rethink, reflect and to act before the prophecy of the late Chinua Achebe’s book “Nigeria: There was a country” becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of a national reality and a national tragedy foretold. Sub- national consciousness or ethnocentric nationalism which is a dangerous form of nationalism to national unity and empires has taken over Nigeria, the dream of Nigeria unity is receding and fading fast with violence, crises and conflicts.
The result of all these is the rise of ethnic militias, agitation for secession, self-determination, insurgency, banditry, etc. These are historical protracted and unwinnable wars by nations and empires and there will be no exception. And among every other issue in contest in Nigeria today, this situation has produced the state of insecurity throughout the country. Today, Nigerians have no place to hide and also since there is nothing new in history, history has solution for these national problems. The Federal Government must therefore learn a lesson from history by not fighting an unwinnable war against nationalism but seek possible peaceful options that are the only solution that guarantees national unity and peaceful co-existence.
I therefore urge the Federal Government to reconsider the use of force in resolving the present national crises. Again history shows that military and violent means to solve the national question is bound to fail as it leads to further national fractionalization, anarchy and eventual or inevitable disintegration, as in all Empires or multi
national state or countries. Nigerian political leaders must make haste and make careful and delicate choices on how to solve Nigerian problem which is Nigeria National question. Above all measures, the Federal Government itself must Conspicuously embrace the values of justice, equity and fairness in their true sense for real peace, progress, unity and development to thrive in Nigeria. The greatest problem for leadership anywhere in the world begins when the general public or citizens including members of the national political elite become conscious of the existence of governance based on selective morality, outrageous paradox and double-standard. And at that point, citizen alienation set in and the results are loss of integrity, prestige, diminishing legitimacy and authority of the government. No government should get to the point where the citizens will feel uncomfortable or doubtful about its decisions on matters of national interest and destiny.
It is time the government and people start the healing process, Nigeria is in agony and pains, it is time for national healing.
■Warns FG: Don’t push Nigeria to disintegrate, Ohanaeze warns FG
Ohanaeze Ndigbo has declared support for both the Ebube Agu security outfit formed by South East governors and the Eastern Security Network (ESN) floated by the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) to tackle security threats in the South East.
President General of the apex Igbo body, Prof. George Obiozor, stated this at a press conference in Enugu, yesterday, Thursday, April 15, 2021.
“He also assured that there would be no clash between members of Eastern Security Network (ESN) floated by Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and Ebube Agu as long as they worked for the protection of Igbo,” a report by Daily Sun said.
It quoted Prof. Obiozor as advising the Federal Government against the use of violent means to quell national questions by Nigerians as it could lead to more fragmentation and possible disintegration of the country.
Obiozor, according to the report, said the rise in ethnocentric nationalism has made the dream of national unity to be fading fast in the country.
He was further quoted as saying that Nigerians are passing through “one of the worst times in virtually all aspects of national life” citing the rise in ethnic militias, agitation for secession, self-determination, insurgency, banditry as having “produced the state of insecurity throughout the country.
“The Federal Government,” according to the Ohanaeze President General, “must therefore learn a lesson from history by not fighting an unwinnable war against nationalism, but seek possible peaceful options that are the only solution that guarantees national unity and peaceful co-existence. I urge the Federal Government to reconsider the use of force in resolving the present national crises. Again, history shows that military and violent means to solve the national question is bound to fail as it leads to further national fractionalisation, anarchy and eventual or inevitable disintegration.” (News Express)
On Sunday March 28, 2021, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide Elders Council met at the Imo State Government House to discuss pressing issues affecting Ndigbo. Although the gathering attracted big names including the WTO DG Ngozi Okojo-Iweala alongside some governors and the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, several strategic voices were inexplicably absent.
Law professor, politician, and member of the Board of the Nigerian Railway Corporation Nnamdi Obiaraeri joined Ukana Omon ‘TheKanon’ on The Agenda Monday morning on MyRadio 101.1 FM Owerri to bare his mind.
OHANAEZE TOO ELITIST; GATHERING OF OPPRESSORS
TheKanon: Professor good morning and thank you for your time.
Prof. Obiaraeri: thank you very much my brother and thank you listeners.
TheKanon: I wonder if you were present at the meeting yesterday (Sunday March 28, 2021) and what you made of it.
Prof. Obiaraeri: I was not invited and I was not present. I should have been invited, I should have been present. This is part of the Igbo leadership disconnect and deficit. If a professor of law of my standing and exposure is not invited to talk about Igbo cause as well as other well-meaning Igbo leaders, then I’m beginning to question the intellectual plank of this discussion.
TheKanon: Ok, we are filing this away for another debate but let’s go to the crux of the matter; this resolution that oh yes Ndigbo shall produce or perhaps to tame the language, should produce, Nigeria’s next president. You have been an advocate of this, have you changed your position?
OUTCOME OF 2023 ELECTION WILL DETERMINE WHETHER NIGERIA REMAINS ONE
Prof Obiaraeri: There’s nothing that will make me change my position. A Nigerian president of Igbo extraction is a must do in 2023. It is the only natural, equitable, and fashionable thing to do if we are still one Nigeria.
Nigerians from all segments of the Nigerian society should elect the Nigerian president from Igbo race to bolster national peace, progress and development. I say this very strongly because the outcome of the 2023 presidential election will challenge the theory of indivisibility and indissolubility of the Nigerian state especially when it is tested against the immutable natural laws and principles clearly etched in section 14 of the 1999 constitution. And for the avoidance of doubt, let me reiterate that this section 14 of the 1999 constitution as amended provides very clearly that the federal republic of Nigeria shall be based on the principles of democracy and social justice. Accordingly the composition of government shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity and also to command national integration.
So, if Nigeria will continue to be one; if Nigeria is going to continue to be indivisible and indissoluble, the time to do equity, natural justice and associated good conscience issues is now against 2023 for the Igbo race. We are not visitors in this country, we are clear stakeholders.
Other tribes, other geopolitical zones have had very clear shots at the presidency, so irrespective of who is advocating for it, irrespective of the fact that they are not particularly the Professor George Obiozor-led Ohanaeze Ndigbo is beginning to be more of a gathering of oppressors than an all-inclusive Igbo group; I think that call is germane.
TheKanon: I hear the tone of what you are not saying, that this group which met yesterday perhaps excluding certain principal voices. Let’s hear it professor, what do you think is the way forward in terms of pursuing the unity that Governor Uzodinma is clamouring?
Prof. Obiaraeri: Well, I hate to think that the agitation is being weaved around the person of Governor Hope Uzodinma, a serving governor of a state, a close friend and the governor of my state. This is an agitation of over 10 million or 15 million Igbos including our friends from other parts of the country who believe in equity.
We must begin to remove certain political office holders from this agitation so that it doesn’t become partisan. Because I heard you in the first instance when you said that the call should be made that APC should be embraced, I don’t agree with that completely. I’m of the APC but I do not think that it will be wrong to have all other political parties come to Igbo land and take their candidates so that we can be sure that whether PDP, APC, APGA whatever other political party an Igbo man is having the ticket, that is the way to have it. But if they begin to make the agitation to appear that a section of Igbo elites who I’ve already termed oppressors, who do not recognize the intellectual class, are now beginning to push this agenda, then it is going to lend itself to big sabotage and I don’t pray that that happens.
TheKanon: I suspect that many would say well governor Uzodinma is within his rights to call for a bombardment of the APC by persons of Igbo extraction because the PDP’s committee on reconciliation or strategy r something headed by Governor Bala Mohammed came up with this report insinuating or even inferring that they are throwing open the bid for the 2023 presidency. So it’s not zoned to any particular geopolitical zone however germane their clamour, or ambition or reach for it might be. Some Igbo leaders said ‘well this is an open insult and a slap in the face of Ndigbo considering our steadfastness with the PDP since 1998’. Don’t you think ‘well let’s look towards the APC since they have been more friendly towards Ndigbo’ according to Governor Hope Uzodinma?
MANY ROADS LEAD TO THE BUSH BUT ONLY ONE WILL LEAD TO THE SHRINE
Prof. Obiaraeri: I don’t want to demarcate my party. I’ve told you very clearly, I’m of APC, I have clear sympathy for APC, but I think that is a very narrow way to pursue the legitimate aspiration of Nigerian president of Igbo extraction. There are many roads that lead into the bush but only one will lead into the shrine. So localizing it and making it an exclusive preserve of the APC is not right. I want to think that insinuations of the PDP are mere proposals as far as I know that’s what they are and you know that 24 hours is a lot of time in politics. When they see the agitation that it is coming from a united coercive Igbo race, every political party would begin to look towards the Igboland.
What should concern us and particularly Senator Hope Uzodinma the governor of the state is how to unify the Igbo race. That Ohanaze Ndigbo meeting that they held inside Government House. Is that where it is supposed to hold? Is that not an audio Ohanaeze meeting?
Why would we have an Ohanaeze that is going to government instead of government coming to Ohanaeze. Why is the Professor George Obiozor-led Ohanaeze being run in such a manner as to see it as an appendage of a few political players?
On the same day that this meeting held, there was also, I hope you know, there was also another meeting of factional Ohanaeze led by Chief Chidi Ibe. In Enugu there was also another group that call themselves South east Leaders Forum. So, if you have a meeting of Ohanaeze-Ndigbo and you exclude key players, those who should talk… on that same day there was an election, a bye-election in Abia State. So where was the Governor of Abia, where was the governor of Enugu, where was the governor of Anambra, where are all the senators, where are the key players? Can you really be talking of Ohanaeze Ndigbo when you don’t have the input of Senator Rochas Okorocha? Let’s not pretend about it? If you don’t have the input of Orji Uzor Kalu, if you don’t have the input of Senator Abaribe, and you don’t have the input of professor Obiaraeri into it? So it should be a mass movement as opposed to clique business.
So I think the whole idea of making it appear that some people are in the forefront will lead, I’ve warned again, will lead to sabotage. Because if people feel uncomfortable especially if it is something that should be of aggregate interest and a few others are localizing it. I have a lot of respect for professor Obiozor: he’s a respectable statesman, I share a lot of things in common with him; he’s a colleague professor. I’m of the same Ivy League background with him; we all have a Columbia University exposure, so he knows what goes into that kind of exposure and accomplishment. If he has a meeting and he wants to exclude me, why would I be the one to support him? I hope you understand; it’s reciprocal. He’s an intellectual; he understands the basis of intellectual planking in things like this.
So Ohanaeze should be made to be one that is talking about contemporary issues in Igboland, so that we can win the support of our people. Why are the bombings, the killings going on in Orlu, in Imo, in Abia, in Ebonyi, why are our people being killed in our home front? Is Ohanaeze speaking about it? Is Ohanaeze talking about the carnage, the loss of lives in our system? I think Ohanaeze should move away from this elitist tendency and come down and challenge the issues of now.
What has Ohanaeze led by Prof Obiozor done to bring Nnamdi Kalu into the picture or you think he is not important?
OHANAEZE NDIGBO SHOULD REACH OUT TO NNAMDI KANU, RALPH UWAZURUIKE AND OTHER AGITATORS
TheKanon: Can calls for secession and calls for the production of a president of Igbo extraction ever meet?
Prof. Obiaraeri: They can meet. That’s what I’m saying, there’s no need pretending about it. Governor Uzodinma, Governor Umahi, these are big time players, these are respectable Nigerian leaders, but they do not, with respect, trump the relevance of Nnamdi Kalu and Ralph Uwazuruike in the scheme of things now. You live in an Igbo area; you understand what I’m talking about. If they doubt it let them go on a popularity walk with Nnamdi kalu on the streets of Owerri and see who will get more respect and more followership. So the truth is, to tone down the level of agitation from these people. And how do you do it? You must carry them in and their sentiments because Ohanaeze means ‘Oha’ and ‘Eze’, Ohanaeze. It is not a matter of those who have protection, those who have access to government house meeting. It is not a government House meeting.
Ohanaeze should be found in primary schools, in secondary schools, in tertiary institutions. Go to Imo state university, go to Federal University of Technology Owerri, go to Abia, ask them do they know who the president of Ohanaeze is, they will tell you that there are two leaders of Ohanaeze. So, the issue of secession, is still part of the right to self-determination. It can be discussed; it can be discussed and agreed upon. What everybody is not agreeable, is that it should be by use of violence. So those who dismiss Nnamdi Kalu, Ralph Uwazuruike and those of us who have very clear opinion on this matter are themselves. Nigeria is on a brink of collapse. Anything that can be done to bring it together, beginning from the Igbo spread should be encouraged.
So this is no longer time to bring in Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the rest of them: these are respectable people but they have no bigger regard, they have no bigger respect than any other person on this matter. If Nnamdi Kalu declares Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala today a persona non-grata in Igboland, she will find it very difficult to operate. You know that much. Not because he may be right but because he has followership. And one man’s thug is another man’s supporter. One man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist. So we must balance this narrative and that’s why government must be careful the way they are running and pushing the people so that those of us who are intellectuals, who have open mind about this issue, should not be forced, by reason of non-inclusive politics, to join the other tendencies.
OBIOZOR SHOULD BUILD STREET CREDIBILITY, OHANAEZE SHOULD FORM CLUBS IN SCHOOLS, UNIVERSITIES, CHURCHES
TheKanon: Is it possible that we can invite people from every shade of opinion into a room?
Prof Obiaraeri: It is very possible. We are talking about autochthonous nature of leadership. The Igboman is predominantly democratic in nature. You don’t force or hoist leadership on an Igboman. It’s never done anywhere, so if the Ohanaeze that we are thinking about, the first thing is let professor Obiozor as respectable as he is reach out to the other faction, let them withdraw all the cases in court. Sort these things out in house, then come out with a blue print that will take the intelligentsia. You go to universities you form these group, you go to the polytechnic you form this group, you go to secondary school, you have this group, primary schools, churches, and the rest of them.
If you are having Ohanaeze and the big time church leaders or religious leaders of Igbo spread are not part of it, what Ohanaeze are you talking about? What Ohanaeze? What is professor Obiozor’s constituency in the first instance? If he goes into Ariaria Market can they recognize him? If they recognize him, will they listen to him? So these are the issues. At the end of the day, we use this mechanism to begin to speak as one voice forgetting about who will take the office. But the problem we have now is that people are placing the cart before the horse.
They are trying to say who will take the office as opposed to let us get this thing into the Igbo spread and let the Igbo man that has national appeal, that will be accepted and loved and supported by other Nigerians take this office and that is part of what is going on in Igbo land where people are taking a lot of rough measures to bring others down even though as I’ve always said power belongs to God. (TheKanon)
Ohanaeze names members of Alaigbo Stabilization Fund
By Chris Njoku, Owerri
Imo State leaders picked former Nigeria Ambassador to the United States, Prof. George Obiozor as their consensus candidate for the next president general of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
Just as the state Governor Hope Uzodimma warned that Ndigbo would not achieve their desire of becoming the president of the country through confrontation.
Prof Obiozor, who hails from Awo-Omamma in Oru East Local Government Area of Imo State was presented to the State Governor Hope Uzodimma at the Exco Chamber Government House, Owerri, as likely successor of the outgoing President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo.
Making the presentation, the Chairman of the Delegation Committee, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, said that many candidates indicated their interest to contest for the position, adding that the committee of 200 eminent Imo leaders picked Prof Obiozor because of his vast experience and acceptability.
“Over 200 Imo leaders met to evacuate the candidates we did a very thorough job and found out that Obiozor is the one that can do the job.
Chairman of CAN, Rev. Eches Eches while confirming the candidate said that the churches were involved in the process adding that there was forthrightness in the process of selecting Prof. Obiozor
Eze Sam Ohiri said from the traditional institution, that the job was sort of a challenge to find somebody that would match the qualities of outgoing president general.
“We asked them to submit their CVS and qualities and saw intimidating quality fixations but after scrutiny we found out that Prof. Obiozor was eminently qualified.
One of the contestants and former Inspector General of Police, Mike Okiro said that we decided to pick the best among the best,
All of them were almost qualified but we were looking for the best we were able to spot Prof. Obiozor whose CV was intimidating. We chose him and everybody accepted our choice”.
In his acceptance speech, Prof. Obiozor thanked Imo people and all stakeholders. He said the decision to contest was a decision not based on self-aggrandizement, adding that his most concern was service to the people.
In his response, Governor Uzodimma said that the decision to present a consensus candidate for the organisation is very laudable.
“The decision of the Imo State chapter of Ohanaeze to present the consensus candidate of this organisation is very laudable, I was taken unaware by their actions, I had no choice but to follow their part.
“By constitution it’s the turn of the State to produce the President General, choice of professor Obiozor is welcomed, he is eminently qualified, by his wealth of experience, his adoption is coming at a critical time in the history of Ndigbo in Nigeria.
He advised Ndigbo to go about seeking for Igbo president with diplomacy and shun confrontational means.
“Igbo is beginning to be aggrieved but we can speak with one voice, I thank you for speaking with one voice, every generation has its own challenges, Ndigbo must navigate with wisdom of Solomon, to achieve this we must be diplomatic and accommodating, a point can be achieved without firing a shot in the air, Yoruba did it without war, they did it with diplomacy, Igbo will not go to war but will pursue it with diplomacy,” Uzodimma said. (The Nation)