Don’t Join Protests Against Hardship In The Country, Ohanaeze Tells Igbos

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THE apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has warned Igbos against joining protests against hardship in the country.

This was conveyed in a statement signed by the President-General of the organisation, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, and titled “Message To All Igbos Worldwide”. 

It was noted that Igbos have been “victimised” over the failure of APC to win in Lagos and Abuja, and there is a conspiracy to “cripple Igbo business enterprise in Lagos, Abuja and other parts of Nigeria.”

It read; “I write as your leader at this critical period in our country, Nigeria. Events in Nigeria today are no doubt very disturbing. The economy has turned very bad, a sceptre of frustration is everywhere.

“I have received many entreaties from many parts of the country requesting me to call Igbos to join in demonstration and violent action in the country against the government.

“As your leader, I am directing that no Igbo group or community in Nigeria or the Diaspora should join in this action. I am still studying the situation. I have asked Nigerians who approached me the following questions, what did they do when the past government disfranchised Igbo land?

“Most of the Igbo are in the South East and the South-East is very sadly marginalized in all ramifications. We are the only geopolitical zone that has only five (5) states. This situation has cost us billions of financial losses. It has also cost us losses in both political appointments and legislative representations. 

“In 2005 and 2014, we raised this issue at various political conferences. All men of goodwill at the conference agreed that it was unfair for the South-East to have only five states and recommended that an additional state be created in the South-East but up till today, this has not been done. I have severally drawn the attention of the federal government to this injustice against the South-East. This statement should serve as a notice that if no step is taken by the federal government and the National Assembly towards the creation of an additional state in the South-East, I will have no choice but to go to court.

“In the 1999 Constitution (as amended), we all endorsed a federal character. Igbos, by nature, would have preferred the free competitive process rather than a federal character paradigm. But we realised that Nigeria is a federation comprising so many ethnic nationalities and as part of our sacrifice towards the unity of Nigeria, we accepted the federal character option but unfortunately, it has been used to manoeuvre the Igbo out of most critical positions in government. For Example, former President Muhammadu Buhari openly confessed that he didn’t give us our due because we didn’t vote for him.

“Youths all over the world are very restive and sensitive to any issue affecting their future. In Nigeria, Igbo youths and youths from other tribes at various times expressed their dissatisfaction with events in the country. It is clear to us that when youths from other tribes of the country are involved, they are reprimanded and forgiven; but when the Igbo youths are involved, they are arrested, incarcerated and even charged for serious offences. “For example, the arrest and detention of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu generated a lot of problems for the Igbos. Many Igbos, including governors, members of the National Assembly, religious leaders, traditional rulers, and business leaders pleaded with Mr. President for the release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu but without success. “Also, there are many Igbo youths detained in various correctional centres for flimsy excuses. For example, there is a case of Eze Fredrick Nwajiagu who has been in detention in Lagos without any justifiable reason.

“Since after the 2023 general election, Igbos have been victimised over the failure of APC to win in Lagos and Abuja. It has been brought to my notice that there is a conspiracy to cripple Igbo business enterprises in Lagos, Abuja and other parts of Nigeria. All these are aimed at incapacitating the Igbos from all future political activities.

“In some parts of Nigeria, Igbos who answer Igbo names, who are raised in Igbo culture and tradition, continue to deny their Igbo heritage. This is because some people outside eastern Nigeria who assume the monopoly of political power, have continued to brainwash this set of people and turned their minds against their kit and kin, the Igbos. For example, after the Civil War which was fought by the entire eastern Nigeria, this group of people profiled it as if it was a war by a few Igbos and they influenced our kit and kin in Rivers State to seize our assets in the name of abandoned property. 

“Remarkably, the end of the Civil War was based on 3Rs Reconciliation, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction. Most unfortunately, the 3Rs were never implemented in the war-torn areas.  History will always record the contributions of General Yakubu Gowon, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, and General Obasanjo towards the peaceful conclusion of the Civil War based on no victor, no vanquished. It is regrettable that up till today, in spite of the efforts of Igbos to demonstrate their commitment to one united Nigeria, Igbos are victimized in many parts of the country and people profile them wrongly at various times.

“It is clear to me that Igbos must work hard in order to succeed in Nigeria. It is no secret that most contracts executed by Igbo businessmen in Nigeria are bought from original awardees. In terms of political power, the Presidency of Nigeria was zoned to rotate between the North and the South. We accepted it. The last election was a defining moment in the country when in fact Igbos generally believed it was their turn to produce a president but some groups of Nigeria ganged up against Igbos and we failed in this quest.  

“We once more thank all Nigerians who have shown their patriotism and love for one united Nigeria by supporting a very credible Igbo candidate, Mr Peter Obi. These Nigerian leaders are too numerous to mention but we cannot fail to express our thanks to Chief Dr Edwin Clark, the Leader of the South-South region, Pa Ayo Adebanjo the Leader of Afenifere and Dr. Bitrus Pogu the Leader of Middle Belt Forum for their courage in supporting an Igbo candidate.

“It is important to remind all Igbos that the 2023 presidential electoral matter has reached the Nigerian Supreme Court where they declared President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, the winner. We don’t have any personal issues against him. As a governor of Lagos State, he was good and charitable to Igbos. We have therefore decided to support him. We expect him also to reciprocate this gesture by giving us what is our due in the federation. We are not asking for another person’s position.

“The economic crisis in Nigeria is very unfortunate. Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide intends to convene a meeting of Igbo top economists and experts in diverse fields to strategize on how to overcome the hardships. We will also proffer advice to President Tinubu on the economy. It is important to note that the best thing for us as Igbos is to rally round President Tinubu and to do what we can to enable him to complete his tenure. Igbos are opposed to military rule. We prefer a democratic government where we can express our views”.

 

Eighteen-Eleven Media 

 

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