The Resolve of Ohaneze Nd’Igbo As A Path To Reintegration And Equity
By Sir Don Ubani; KSC, JP (Okwubunka of Asa)
Long before the independence of Nigeria as a political entity, the Igbo had appreciated the importance of coming together as a united body to pursue a collective agenda. It was this understanding that gave rise to the formation of Igbo Union.
Igbo Union was not set up for a jamboree. It had well articulated programmes. As a Union of a dynamic and entrepreneurial people, its programmes were as well diverse. They ranged from commerce, industry, co-operatives, education, agriculture and even politics.
The leadership of Igbo Union knew the importance of functional education and that was why it built the Ibo National College, which is National High School today, at Aba in the fifties.
It was through the untiring efforts of the Igbo Union that the Co-Operative and Commerce Bank, CCB, was built in the defunct Eastern Region of Nigeria. Of course, many prominent members of the Igbo Union were prominent stakeholders in the establishment of African Continental Bank, ACB.
In politics, the Igbo Union did not sit on defence. Its enlightened leadership was ever conscious of the fact that meaningful development could not take place if a people isolated themselves from the dynamics of contemporary politics. The Union, therefore, rallied round Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe and the National Council of Nigeria and Cameroon, which later became National Council of Nigerian Citizens, NCNC.
That the defunct Eastern Region had the fastest growing economy in Sub-Sahara Africa could not be separated from integrated roles played by the Igbo Union.
With passage of time, the Igbo Union transformed into Ohaneze Nd’Igbo, making it holistically Igbo in nomenclature, philosophy and presentation.
Indigenously-speaking, the Igbo have their origin in seven states of Nigeria. The States of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo are completely made up of the Igbo, except non-Igbo residents or visitors in them. Delta and Rivers States have some considerable percentage of indigenous Igbo people.
So, basically-speaking, the leadership of Ohaneze Nd’Igbo is drawn from the seven states where the Igbo are indigenous to.
Though a cultural umbrella, the Ohaneze Nd’Igbo should not and can not afford to be indifferent to national questions that affect the collective interest of the Igbo in particular and Nigeria in general.
Who governs Nigeria and how it is governed stands as a matter of importance to Ohaneze Nd’Igbo. President Muhammadu Buhari has never hidden his discriminatory policy against the Igbo. This was made clear when he stated that regions that gave him only 5% of their votes should not expect more than a correspondent percentage of reward from his government. His appointments on strategic positions have since confirmed his stand. The Igbo are the victims of his government.
For 2019 general election, Ohaneze Nd’Igbo, like their other regional counterparts; Afenifere, Arewa Consultative Forum, Middle-Belt Forum and South-South Peoples’ Assembly, has dispassionately articulated her interest and weighed her options. Politics is all about interest. Where one is convinced one’s interest would be protected, one goes. It could be precarious and even risky but a decision and its attendant action must be taken.
This week, at the Coal City of Enugu, the leaders of Ohaneze Nd’Igbo congregated to make public their stand on 2019 presidential election. The Igbo apex socio-cultural organization, ably led by Chief Nnia Nwodo, let the world know that the Igbo has chosen to stand solidly behind Alhaji Atiku Abubarkar as Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in 2019.
The reasons behind this declaration are not far fetched. The first is that Atiku Abubarkar has expressed open support for restructuring of the Nigerian State, an agitation that has been in the front burner of national politics for some time now and championed by four out of the six regions of Nigeria. Again, Atiku Abubarkar, by his bold unsolicited action, has shown sensitivity to the complaints of marginalization by the Igbo, by choosing Mr Peter Obi as his running mate. Thirdly, the Igbo, being business and commercial adventurers, naturally will anchor their confidence in and support for a potential President whose administration would not be hostile and inimical to business climate, including security of life and property in the country.
The adoption and endorsement of Atiku/Obi presidential ticket for 2019, is one of the most dispassionate and wisest decisions the Ohaneze Nd’Igbo has taken in the recent time. This decision should be supported by every Igbo, irrespective of political, religious or any other distinction. It is the best thing that can happen to the Igbo in this 21st Century.
In the same manner and description, the leadership of Ohaneze Nd’Igbo, Abia State Chapter, must be commended for rising in defence of Abia Charter of Equity by adopting and endorsing Governor Okezie Ikpeazu for a second tenure, come 2019.
Any person in Abia State that is fairly-minded, would not hesitate to admit that Governor Ikpeazu has performed very well, taking into consideration the challenges that were forcefully thrown at him.
For those who think, no, feel that Ikpeazu has not done well, they should be able to outline their indices and indicators for measurement and evaluation of an administration. They should let the electorate know their assessment of the Governor on Infrastructure, Health, Education, Agriculture, Trade and Investment, Security, Integration, Unity and Peace in the State.
Their impartial evaluation of the Governor’s performance in these critical sectors of administration and the attendant cumulative score will educate them on the justification of their stand or otherwise.
As the human he is, Governor Ikpeazu is not and can not be perfect. Any body expecting he will be 100% in performance and achievements, is only being both unreasonable and unrealistic.
Despite expected and acknowledged man’s imperfection, the Governor has performed very well, when cumulatively and critically assessed.
Apart from the advantage of good performance to his credit, equity, which is the principle basis upon which Abia State was sought for and created, demands that Governor Ikpeazu, like the immediate-past two Governors of the State; Chief Orji Uzor Kalu and Senator T A Orji who hailed from Abia-North and Abia-Central, respectively, should not only be allowed but massively supported to do his second term which is permissible within Nigeria’s Constitution.
The Peoples Democratic Party in Abia State, therefore, commends the national leadership of Ohaneze Nd’Igbo and its leadership in Abia State for boldly taking the path of Reintegration and Equity.