Ohanaeze

Ohanaeze Commends Jonathan over Price Reduction

By Victor Efeizomor

President-General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Mr. Raph  Uwechue, has hailed the decision of President  Goodluck  Jonathan  to reduce the  pump price of fuel from the current  N145 to N97 per litre, saying the action  demonstrates  the hallmark  of a leader who has a listening ears.

Uwechue also called on the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and other Civil Society Organisations  to  suspend the ongoing strike action,  in view of the Federal government decision, in order to mitigate the  economic loss occasioning by the civil unrest, so that the  country  can  move forward.

Uwechue, who spoke exclusively to THISDAY Monday in Asaba, said: “What the president has done is commendable, he has shown a spirit of compromise and we think that he has not met the total demands of Labour but he has shifted grounds, so my advice would be that Labour should go back to work while other details would be sorted out if there are more thing they want to be done, but not to continue with the strike which is destroying the economy.”

He stated that: “The president does not own the economy, it’s the population that owns it, and if you destroy it, it’s the population’s property you are destroying, not President Goodluck Jonathan private property.

“So we recognise Labour’s right to use strike but normally, strike is suppose to be the last resort, you don’t start with it, its when nothing else works, we are saying that if government has shifted its ground, our advice is that Labour should also shift it ground especially to resume work  while  they may continue to discuss   further details of the needs.”

He described as “heinous crime” the killing of innocent and defenceless people by the Boko Haram sect in some parts of the North and called on the Federal government not only to step up security of lives and property in the country but to also bring to book those found to be behind the atrocious acts.

He further described as “rubbish” the call by Boko Haram sect on Christians,  to leave the North , saying the country belongs to all of us, and that  Nigeria is a joint venture and as such a Nigerian should be able to leave where he choose to leave.
Source: This Day, 17th January 2012.

 

Ohanaeze cautions on insecurity as northerners flee Enugu, others

FROM LAWRENCE NJOKU, ENUGU

A FRESH dimension may have been added to the parlous security situation in the country, as non-indigenes especially from the Northern parts of the country have begun fleeing the South-East in droves.

At Lokpanta on the Enugu-Port-Harcourt highway, Ugwuoba and Artisan village, all in Enugu State occupied by Hausa communities, several lorries were noticed over the weekend being boarded by fleeing northerners with their luggage.

The development came as the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, said yesterday that the recent call ascribed to Boko Haram elements on Christians and southerners to vacate the North had brought the security crisis of the country to a dangerous climax.

The massive movement of northerners from the South-East further heightened fears among the state residents as the issue has become a subject of discussion in various circles.

Although none of the fleeing northerners was ready to speak, the development, however, might not be unconnected with the 14 day ultimatum issued by an Igbo group, the Ogbunigwe Ndigbo, which had last week in a statement urged the non-indigenes to vacate South-East or risk being attacked.

The Guardian also gathered that the relocation of the northerners to their home states was as a result of the directive from Muslims for their members in the South-East to return to the North.

Responding to the threat by the Ogbinigwe Ndigbo, the General Officer Commanding the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Enugu, Maj.- Gen. Sunday Idoko, had restated the readiness of the Army to combat any uprising or reprisal from any group in the South-East.

He had asked residents to go about their normal duties, stressing that such threatening text messages if allowed to continue, could lead to serious breakdown of law and order. He pointed out that security challenges facing them could call for information gathering and sharing among security agencies.

Meanwhile, Ohanaeze Ndigbo in a statement signed by the President General, Ralph Uwaechue, recalled various bombings and killings targeted at Christians and Igbos, explaining that enough was enough.

Ohanaeze said: “When in 2011 the United Nations Building in Abuja was bombed with massive loss of lives, Ohanaeze Ndigbo condemned the dastardly act as they did and many others preceding it and asked the Federation Government to take effective steps to stem the tide.

However, in spite of the government’s efforts, the only change has been for worse. 

“It is now clear that unpatriotic political and religious elements are bent on making our country ungovernable.

“Ohanaeze Ndigbo is convinced that enough is enough and while reiterating its urgent demand on the Federal Government to arrest this dangerous development capable of destroying this nation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo calls on the Moslem leaders of our country to take immediate steps to rein in their hawks to prevent irreparable damage to the delicate ethno-religious harmony that all well-meaning Nigerians are strenuously striving to maintain.”
Source: The Guardian, 9th January 2012.

 

New refineries: Ohanaeze condemns exclusion of South-east 
By PETER ANOSIKE

Ohanaeze Ndigbo has condemned the exclusion of the southeast in the proposed refineries to be established by the federal government.
The Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, had told aviation correspondents that government would use the money realized from the removal of oil subsidy to rehabilitate the existing refineries and then build new ones in Bayelsa, Kogi and Lagos states.

president of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Lagos State chapter, Chief Oliver Akubueze, said that the exclusion of south-east from the states where the new refineries would be located is not fair.
According to him, Southeast should be considered for the location of the refineries, going by the fact that it is also oil producing geo political zone and has the least of federal presence among all the geo-political zones in the country.
He urged President Goodluck Jonathan to ensure that the neglect of the southeast, which has been the trademark of successive governments does not continue.

Akubueze said that southeast deserves one refinery among other numerous federal presence.
His words,” It is very disheartening to hear from the Minister of Information Labaran Maku, that how the revenue to be generated from the proposed removal of oil subsidy would be shared has been concluded without a mention of the southeast. I want to say that this is not acceptable to us. The time has gone when Ndigbo are relegated to the background. President Jonathan should make sure that Ndigbo is involved in the scheme of things in the country. What is the basis of selecting Bayelsa, Kogi and Lagos for the location of new refineries while no state in the southeast was selected. For how long would they continue to remind us that we were vanguished? Ndigbo has a very big stake in this country and we urge president Jonathan to make sure that there is equity in the distribution of federal government presence. What is good for the goose is also good for the gander. Nobody is more Nigerian than the other”.
On the proposed removal of oil subsidy, he advised government to make sure that the interest of the masses is protected in any programme it wants to come up with.

“The essence of government is the happiness of the greater number of the populace. Based on that, government should make sure that whatever decision it wants to take with regard to the removal of the oil subsidy is mass oriented. We don’t want policies that would be in the interest of only a few people. 

The interest of the majority should always be protected. If government feels that removal of subsidy should be the best for the country then it should go on to convince the masses. For now, I think that it is only the elites that have understood it. Government should take the message of how removal of subsidy would change their lives for the better to the grass roots using the appropriate channels. “he said
Source: Sun, 22nd December 2011.

 

2015: Igbo’ll be President –Uwechue

From EMMANUEL UZOR, Onitsha

Ambasador Ralph Uwechue

Love him or hate him, Ambasador Ralph Uwechue, the President General of Ohaneze Ndi Igbo an apex social cultural group of Igbo extraction is a man who stands by his word. His role during the election of President Goodluck Jonathan elicited many controversies among Igbo race who questioned his interest in electing a man from the South South geopolitical zone of the country instead of supporting the emergence of Igbo man as the President of Nigeria. 

In this report, EMMANUEL UZOR writes on the true situation of things among Ndi Igbo including the recent marriage between South East and South South ahead of 2015.

The true position 
As the head of Ohaneze Ndigbo, the overall caretaker of Igbo interests worldwide, I am taking the opportunity of the solemnity of this occasion, firstly to nip in the bud, incipient but potentially dangerously divisive controversy involving some political highly placed Igbos vis-a vis the position of Igbo nation on the vexed question of South East Presidency. 

The stand of the Igbo nation on the issue of South-East Presidency was made abundantly clear in the statement issued by Ohaneze Ndigbo on 15th October 2010, titled presidential election and zoning which stressed inter allia as follows. Ohaneze Ndigbo firmly believes in the reality and absolute equality of the six geo political zones and strongly holds the view that the topmost executive office in the land-Prime Minister or President which has eluded the two geo political zones of South East and South-South since the birth of our nation half a century ago should now go to them in turn of unbroken succession as a mater of national priority, before any other zone can justly claim the right to second or even third turn

Why Ndigbo voted President Jonathan 
This said it all, the overwhelming Igbo support at the elections last April, was for a hitherto politically deprived South-South zone, with President Goodluck Jonathan, already on seat, as its providential pre-positioned flag bearer. On an issue of such national importance and of special interest to Ndigbo as securing the presidency for the South-East, the Igbo nation expects its politically active sons and daughters, no matter how highly placed to respect and comply with its clearly defined goal, as set out in that statement endorsed by Ohaneze Imeobi and approved by the General Assembly, which met at Enugu on 30th October 2010 and 6th November 2010 respectively.

Ethnic plurality 
Nigeria , with over 300 ethnic and sub ethnic units, brought together by the force of British Imperialism to forge a modern nation, is still in the process of nation building, struggling to blend together and harmonize the various very rich but differing traditions, customs and cultures of people. The recognition of the significance of ethnicity was clear at the birth of an Independent Nigeria in 1960. The larger ethnic units of Hausa/Fulani-Igbo-Yoruba formed the basis of the three regions North-East-West. The conception of the six geopolitical zones is also based, with three zones accorded to the larger ethnic groups, to balance term out, three also to be conglomerate of the smaller ethnic units.

The lesson from this structural arrangement is that the ethnic units are recognized and acceptable as veritable building blocks in the on going construction work and nation building process in Nigeria . So in our socio-political economic intercourse, all geo political groups big or small must be allowed free play and equitable access to our country’s resources and strategic political command posts, including particularly the presidency. Sustained imbalance in sharing responsibilities and the ‘national cake’ could conceivably induce those units aggrieved a re-think of the value to them of much vaunted national unity.

The marginalization of Ndigbo 
Today, there is a general feeling within the Igbo nation especially among the young up-coming generation, that as a people, Ndigbo are being deliberately sidelined particularly in the sphere of political leadership of the country. No Igbo person has so far been deemed suitable to be put at the helm of affairs, at the apex management position of Nigeria since Independence in 1960. Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Nigeria ’s pioneer titular head of state, took a shot at the real thing-the executive presidency, in 1979 and in 1983. In spite of this nationally acknowledged role as the foremost crusader for our nation’s Independence, he scored abysmally in both electoral tests. Dr. Alex Ekwueme fared no better, even as he teamed up with a scion of Northern Oligarchy- Alhaji Shehu Shagari. Their joint ticket under the National Party of Nigeria, (NPN) won presidential slot in the successive elections of 1979 and 1983.

Somewhat like today Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the National Party of Nigeria NPN was the dominant party at the time. Securing its presidential candidate’s nomination was as good as clinching presidential position. Dr. Ekwueme was poised to replace Shagari at the impending end of his second tenure as the party’s presidential flag bearer come next election. He was eminently qualified and was clearly favoured by Shagari himself for the presidential job ahead. He had to be stopped, hence the coup of 31st December 1983 carried out by a tiny crop of ambitious anti-Igbo and anti-Shagari military elements.

This event denied Ndigbo, perhaps the largest ethnic group in Nigeria , their federal character chance of producing an executive president and their constitutional right to exercise presidential powers for a possible eight year period of two terms. The callous and contemptuous treatment meted out to Ndigbo is in clear contrast with the compassionate concession, massively supported by Ndigbo, given to Yoruba South-West in 1999 to field the two Olus-Obasanjo and Falae, from three different political parties, the (PDP) and joint ticket of All Peoples Party, (APP) and Alliance for Democracy, (AD) respectively for the universally acknowledged South-West presidential slot missed by their kinsman, Chief M.K.O Abiola in 1993.
Source: Sun, 5th December 2011.

 

Ohanaeze Youths Blame Politicians Over Ezekwelu’s Travails At Tribunal

FROM UZOMA NZEAGWU, AWKA

THE Ohanaeze Youth Council has condemned activities of some political leaders in Anambra State, saying they were behind the removal of Tony Ezekwelu of APGA from the state House of Assembly by the election tribunal sitting in Awka.                 

The Justice Y. A. Adesanya-led tribunal had in a judgment delivered November, 10, 2011 in Awka, declared Ebele Obi of ACN winner in the April election, to represent Idemili South constituency in the state House of Assembly, thereby voiding the earlier announcement of Ezekwelu by INEC.

Reacting to the development in a press statement made available to The Guardian yesterday in Awka, the Secretary General and a member (BOT) Ohanaeze Youth Council, Uzochukwu C, Uzochukwu and Mazi Okwu Okwu respectively condemned what they termed mischievous activities of some politicians in Idemili South constituency, who swore not to see Ezekwelu get into such leadership position.

They viewed appeals from various quarters for active participation of youths in governance at all levels as insincere, arguing that society lacks mechanism that encourages and guarantees political empowerment of youths.            

Though they did not mention names, they warned such politicians that Igbo youth would use all arsenals within their disposition to protect their mandate.                      

The group declared that the election in which INEC announced Ezekwelu winner was peaceful, fair and credible, regretting that efforts were being made to frustrate the APGA candidate out of the system.
Source: The Guardian, 20th November 2011.

 

2015: Igbo on the march again

By Augustine AVWODE

Even though 2015 is still 42 and a half months away, the quest of a Nigerian president of Igbo extraction is already gathering steam. The fire was stoked  recently when the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex pan-Igbo cultural and socio-political group, in conjunction with the Igbo World Congress (IWC) held the Igbo Day celebrations in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, between September 26 and 28, 2011.

Anyim Pius Anyim and Ohaneze President

 Not unexpectedly, the event, boasting of the presence of notable Igbo sons and daughters at home and abroad, turned out to be a forum for the examination of the possibility of the emergence of an Igbo as president in 2015.

Though many people have argued to the contrary, the Igbo, one of the major tripodal ethnic groups upon which Nigeria stands, has only had a shot at the highest political office in Nigeria since independence, for barely six months, January to July 1966, under the late Major General J.T. U. Aguiyi-Ironsi, a purely military regime.

Those who disagree, however, claimed that the late Nnamdi Azikiwe, an Igbo, was Nigeria’s first president. Ever since then, the Igbo have been sidelined. Apart from these two, the most the Igbo have risen politically ever since then has been the office of the Vice President to which Dr. Alex Ekwueme was elected during the administration of Alhaji Shehu Shagari during the second republic from 1979 to 1983. 

The second of its type was Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe when he was appointed the Chief of General Staff, and, therefore, the second in command during the early part of General Ibrahim Babangida’s administration. However, it was not for a long time.

At the Abakaliki event, Senator Uche Chukwumerije, (PDP Abia North), who headed the propaganda desk during the Biafra war and later held sway as Secretary of Information (Minister) of the Federation, passionately canvassed a path that he believed would ensure the realisation of presidency for the Igbo.
In a lecture he delivered titled “Wake up call: Path to Igbo self – Realisation”, Senator Chukwumerije posited that other major ethnic groups were able to make it because they took a rather unorthodox route to the presidency.
 

According to him: “It was the Niger Delta militancy that ensured that President Goodluck Jonathan became President of Nigeria, while the Boko Haram sect is being used by the North to achieve its presidency bid in 2015,” he said.

He also argued that the Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, used the Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC, to achieve the presidency 12 years ago. “The Igbo should, therefore, incorporate the MASSOB into its system to ensure that an Igbo emerges as President of Nigeria,” he argued.

Yet, he acknowledged, even tacitly, the daunting challenge realising this dream poses. He stated that: “The dialectal pendulum of Nigeria’s power politics may swing the presidency to our side sooner or later, but such opportunities can only come if we unite as a group. My submission is that the Ohanaeze Ndigbo should take up its fatherly duty of devising means of constructive engagements with our youths to achieve this ultimate objective. As members of one large family, we must stop behaving like the proverbial victim of a bee sting who flees at a mere hum of a house fly.”

And with all the emphasis at his disposal, he submitted that  “Igbo nation must produce the Presidency in 2015 and all hands must be on deck to achieve this noble task. To   implement this, a 20-man committee should be constituted, including the five Eastern governors, to look into the challenge of getting Igbo presidency in 2015.”
That was in September and less than two months after that declaration to the admiration of many youth groups in the South East geo-political zone, another reputable voice upped the ante last week.
 

Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife, one-time governor of Anambra State and erstwhile Political Adviser to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, declared in an interview he granted to newsmen that only Igbo can stop an Igbo from becoming president in 2015. A statement many think is heavily pregnant. It is at once a veiled threat to those who may be working on other alternatives as well as a clarion call to Igbo to unite, knowing full well that the issue of forging a united front has always been the major political Achilles heels for the Igbo in this regard.

According to him, realising the Igbo presidency dream “depends on every Igboman. Nobody from outside Igboland can take away the presidency from us in 2015, if we truly want it because we are comprehensively justified to fight for it. The God of justice must be with us. By the time Jonathan finishes his tenure, every zone should have supplied Nigeria with a president for at least five years, except the South East”. 

Referring to the Gen Ironsi administration that was followed by a tragic 30-month war, Ezeife said: “What we had was a coup that lasted for six months and two million people buried with it. God knows about it, Nigerians know about it. Therefore, when I was the chairman of power sharing committee of the national political reform conference, the members of the committee agreed that there should be rotation by geopolitical zones for presidency. Since every zone has had it, except the South East, what reason can anybody give for the Igboman not to fight for it?”, was his question.

He made it clear that the Igbo would view a denial to produce the president in 2015 seriously. In his words “By virtue of rotation, we should demand and get the presidency. Refusing it, to us, means refusing us membership of Nigeria, and that is when they will play into the hands of those agitating for Biafra. For us advocating for one Nigeria, we are gradually finding it harder to continue our advocacy, if there is persistency in injustice and unfairness”.

Payback time
More than anything else, some Igbo leaders think that apart from the demand of fairness and justice, it is only proper to expect some reciprocal behaviour. During last year’s tussle for the presidency, a section of the South East, especially the elderly ones and the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, categorically threw their weight behind President Jonathan with the understanding that in 2015, he would support the zone to produce the president. In equal measure, the Igbo Political Forum (IPC), described as young political turks from the zone, threw its weight behind the North and was ready to back whoever emerged as the consensus candidate from the North on the understanding that in 2015, the South East would be supported to produce the next president. In the ensuing political clash, President Jonathan prevailed.     
 

Divided house 
The events that culminated in the emergence of President Jonathan as the presidential flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in December 2010 clearly suggest that as a zone, the South East and as a people, the Igbo, still have a lot of home work to do in the art of forging a united front and speaking with a common voice.
Ezeife narrated a moving drama that graphically illustrated this. Hear him: “I was the chairman of a think-tank formed by Senator Pius Anyim and myself, whose aim was to talk to the North and South-South, collect their aspirations, go to Owerri to talk to our people and get their mandate. Before then, the North had already invited us. We had been Vice to them already, and if they were ready to support us, we were ready to talk about it.

“We agreed before we left for Yar’Adua Centre that fateful August that the discussions would be preliminary and exploratory. In no way, were we going to issue a communiqué or make commitments to anybody. Along the line, some of our delegates started taking the position of the North. I was flabbergasted; I wanted to challenge things, but discovered that some people were pre-lobbied before we came. 

“They started lobbying for Vice-Presidency, and barely one week after that meeting, names of people appeared as members of the Babangida campaign group. Our own chairman even gave way to the Northern chairman. No Igboman with any sense of history will prefer at that stage to support the North instead of the South-South. But, unfortunately, this communiqué was published, supporting the North. Some people quoted me as saying it was a political ambush. Those who knew my politics were shocked, and called me. I had to tell them the truth.

“So, at the Igbo summit in Enugu chaired by Mbazulike Amaechi, six days after, we endorsed Jonathan unconditionally. We did this in order to give our people a clear sign of where we were going. Gradually, all Igbo abandoned the position of the pre-Northerners and we dumped all our eggs in Jonathan’s basket”.
The fact is that long before now, and given the developments that took place in 2007, the South East has all along been eyeing 2015. That was before the untimely death of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua. His demise paved the way for what some people called “divine zoning”.
 

The South East region was, therefore, content with play the “beautiful bride” or if you like being the “king maker,” while making it clear that 2015 would be its own turn. It was little wonder, therefore, that all the presidential aspirants, particularly those of the PDP, courted the zone with all the attention it deserved.

This was reinforced by the suggestion that in 2015 the South East in the light of the party’s zoning arrangement, would produce the president  and that Jonathan’s participation in the primaries was not because the party had jettisoned the zoning arrangement, but because of his constitutionally provided right to contest as a sitting president. 

And while the Ohanaeze and other political stalwarts backed Jonathan, ahead of the 2011 elections, the Igbo Political Forum, IPF, (a group of Igbo elders that insists on zoning) weeks later, met in Enugu State, with the campaign directors of the four northern presidential candidates under the PDP and declared that they would support whoever emerged as the consensus candidate from the North. The candidates included former military president, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, rtd; former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar; former National Security Adviser, Gen. Aliyu Gusau, rtd; and former Governor of Kwara State, Bukola Saraki.

In explaining the position of the Igbo, Ohaneze’s president-general, Ambassador Ralph Uwechue, had argued that Jonathan had done more for the Igbo than anybody else to deserve their support, but importantly for him to support them in 2015: “Jonathan comes from the South-South, and Nigeria has six zones; and that if we reinforce the importance of the zones, other things would follow. And we insisted that the positions in the country should rotate among the six zones.

“Also, those we consulted told us that they had been watching what Jonathan has done since he took over, that action speaks louder than words. They said that since the late General Aguiyi Ironsi was killed in Ibadan that an Igbo is now the head of the Nigerian army, and it was Jonathan who did it. They also said that for 50 years, Ndigbo have been asking why the Enugu airport has not been given the full international status. The people who have suddenly discovered that they are lovers of Ndigbo, feeding the public with false pretence, ignored the Enugu airport because making it an international airport would boost Igbo economic activities and save our people from travelling to Lagos and Abuja before flying out of the country. Jonathan has done it for us.

“For the first time in the history of Nigeria, an Igboman has been appointed Minister of Internal Affairs. This is an important ministry. When Senator Ike Nwachukwu was the Foreign Minister, when he was to be appointed Minister of Internal Affairs, it was changed overnight. They didn’t trust an Igbo man enough to head that ministry; they didn’t want an Igbo man to be in charge of security. That was how Ike Nwachukwu became Foreign Minister twice.

“Talking about zoning, there are six zones in Nigeria, one has seven states, four have six states each, and only the Igbo South-East has five states. But some people say Nigeria is zoned between the North and South. That is not true. We must correct that wrong impression. We have six zones, and that was why the late Yar’Adua was president and Senator David Mark, also from the North is the president of the Senate. It means that in 2007, until Yar’Adua died, the North was completely in control of Nigeria politically with the two important political offices in the country, president of the country and the president of the Senate as were occupied by them.”

On the part of the IPF, it advanced that the South-East had agreed with the North over 2015. After the meeting in Enugu, former Minister of Health, Prof ABC Nwosu, said: “There are five points of disagreement. The first is that the meeting between the IPF and Northern Elders was a public meeting and the agreements have been widely publicized with the list of those in attendance. The Ohanaeze fangled argument on rotation to the South-East does not exist anywhere except in their imagination. If they reached an agreement with the INC, let them make it public.

“The second difference is that the Igbo presidency 2015 proposed by the IPF is predicated on a four-year completion tenure by the North of the presidency to terminate in 2015. The northern presidential candidates have gone public on this and IBB, at his declaration of interest, said he would do only four years, “So help me God.” President Jonathan, who declared three days later, kept silent on the matter of tenure and has remained silent on it ever since; and his campaign handlers have remained silent too. People like me would want the president-general of Ohanaeze to say something on tenure before he says anything on Igbo presidency in 2015, because the two are closely linked”.

This is the type of internal disagreement which many fear could once again wreak havoc on the esteemed ambition of the Igbo as a nation and South East as a zone. 

Zoning policy and Igbo’s ambition
 But while some people are of the view that internal disagreement may pose a problem to the 2015 bid, others also hold that the zoning arrangement in the PDP, being the dominant party, may also abort the dream. 

The PDP zoning arrangement is such that while some people claim that it is between the North and the South, others say it should strictly be among the six geo-political zones. And whereas the South West has produced the president for two terms totalling eight years, the South-South currently has President Jonathan who had completed one year left of the late Yar’Adua tenure before beginning his own afresh on May 29, 2011.
 By the time he completes his tenure in 2015, assuming he does just only one tenure, he would have grossed five years and the total, to those who sees zoning only in the light of South and North, would be 13 years while the North would have only the three years of the late Yar’Adua.
 

Whether such people would allow the presidency go to the South East, therefore, remains a critical factor. It must not be forgotten that the same set of people made it almost impossible for Jonathan to emerge as they claimed that the North still had five more years to complete the turn which Yar’Adua started. The fact that they lost the battle in 2011 means that they may not want to play the second fiddle in again in 2015. 

Herein lies the import of the Igbo quest for the presidency in 2015. It certainly will be a titanic political  tussle, yet if the Igbo would not divide their ranks, and remain resolute in their determination, knowing that the late Gen Ironsi, the last Igbo man to sit on the number one seat, did that 44 years ago as at today, and that it will be 48 years by 2015, they could still realise the dream.
Source: The Nation, 12th November 2011.

 

 

 

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Ralph Uwechue, OFR
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      OHANAEZE
      List of Officers

     Amb. Ralph Uwechue, OFR
    PRESIDENT-GENERAL
    Chief G. Nnachi Enwo-Igariwey
    DEPUTY PRESIDENT-GENERAL
    Chief Alozie Nwagwu
    VICE PRESIDENT GENERAL - Abia
     Barr. Hyacinth A. Nweke
    Vice President - Anambra
     Chief Enechi Onyia (SAN)
    Vice President - Enugu
     Chief Engr. Isaac Wonwu
    Vice President - Rivers
     Chief Chris Asoluka
    Vice President - Imo
    Chief Nduka Eya
    SECRETARY-GENERAL
    Chief Eddie Onuoha
    DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL
    Prince(Engr. ) Ralph Ndigwe
    NATIONAL PUBLICITY SECRETARY
    Chief Elder E. O. Okparanta
    NATIONAL TREASURER
    Chief Nweke Anyigor
    NATIONAL FINANCIAL SECRETARY
    Chief Reuben Okoro
    NATIONAL LEGAL ADVISER
    Barr. Ifeanyi Olunkwa
    Asst. Nat. PUBLICITY SECR.
    Barr. I. O. Ahize
    Asst. Nat. TREASURER
    Mr. Ajoku E. Alerechi
    Asst. Nat. FIN. SECRETARY
    Chief Bar. Oyibo Chukwu
    Ass. Nat. LEGAL ADVISER

Dr. Ikedife's HAND OVER SPEECH

Group Politics Editor of Independent Newspapers Limited (INL), Sunny Igboanugo; and distinguished Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mike Ahamba; were among eminent Igbo men who were awarded certificates of recognition by the pan Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo for their contributions to the cause of the Igbo nation. Others who were recognised include Chief Enechi Onyia (SAN), Sir Chris Okoye, Prof. Ben Obumselu,Prince( Engr.) Ralph Ndigwe and newly- inaugurated Secretary General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nduka Eya. Outgoing President General of Ohanaeze, Dr. Dozie Ikedife, presented certificates to these personalities at the weekend during the handing over ceremony of Ohanaeze Ndigbo at Awka, Anambra State.Delivering his valedictory address titled 'The Ethnic Group and the Nation', Ikedife thanked the entire Ndigbo for electing him to the high office and supporting him whole-heartedly during the difficult years of his tenure.
In the address that contained some parting words to his successor,  Ambassador Ralph Uwaechue, he noted that the presidency of Ohanaeze is ideally a full-time job, though people do not appreciate fully what it entails presiding at Imeobi (inner caucus) meetings, National Executive Committee meetings and several other committee meetings.
The Igbo patriot recalled that the last two years under his reign were exceptionally difficult characterised by problems, some of which arose from the way the 2003 election was conducted.
According to him, in some South East states, the people knew which parties won election but did not know who their candidates were while the Houses of Assembly were torn by factional conflicts between Abuja men and local men.
Also recalling that the tenure of the Governors was always in danger,
Ikedife noted that Senate presidents of Igbo extraction were also liable to step on banana peels, all being manoeuvrings of the imperial presidency in Abuja which wanted to take personal control of politics
in Igboland.
Pointing out that Ohanaeze believes in justice and equity in the country, he demanded that there should be parity of states among the geo-political zones and that South East gets a sixth state to bring it at par with other zones that have at least six states each, though one has seven.
Ikedife regretted that Nigeria became a federation only in name but a unitary state in reality, where economically, it narrowed the perspective of government from many development issues which regional issues used to address to petroleum only.
"Ohanaeze Ndigbo is convinced that the Nigerian economy will not be diversified until the constitution is reviewed to provide for six or eight federating units," he said.

Tony Otoiheoma Egbe
Asst. Deputy Secretary General
IWA Media & Publicity Institute.
 

OZODI OSUJI - IGBO UNION AS VEHICLE FOR POLITICAL AND EDUCATIONAL BEHAVIOURS

HISTORY OF IGBO STATE UNION THAT BECAME OHANAEZE NDIGBO TODAY

CHAMPION NEWSPAPER
Ndigbo: Today and tomorrow
Published on 11 October 2010

"The Oha-Na-Eze Ndigbo is a successor to the Igbo State Union which was banned in May 1966 by the military regime of General J. T. U. Aguiyi-Ironsi. Also all political parties, tribal, cultural and social organizations were banned. After the ban, there was a vacuum. No other organization as powerful as the Igbo State Union could represent and speak for the Igbo.

The history of the pan-Igbo organisation go back to the early 1930s when some Igbo in Lagos formed the Lagos Igbo Union in order to organize a reception for Dr. Akanu Ibiam, the second Igbo medical doctor who had newly returned from Britain where he had qualified. The union brought together several towns, clans, and divisional organizations and became a voice for Igbo and its objectives were mainly for the welfare of the Igbo in Lagos

In December 1948 a pan-Igbo conference was held at Port Harcourt "to organize the Igbo linguistic group into a political unit". At the conference a new Igbo union called Igbo State Union was inaugurated. The membership was opened to all towns and clans in Igboland. The founders of the new union had anticipated that Nigeria would be re-arranged into states based on cultural and linguistic affinity, and Igbo State would be a member of the Commonwealth of Nigeria.

This certainly was the idea Nnamdi Azikiwe had advocated in his book, Political Blueprint of Nigeria published 1943. At the conference Azikiwe was elected president of the Igbo State Union. He did not stay long in the post and resigned. The reason was that his national view of a Nigerian leader conflicted with his leadership of a tribal organization.

Dr. Azikiwe was succeeded by a dynamic, venerated, honest and outspoken businessman, Chief Z. C. Obi as the new president of the Igbo State Union.The union tried to be neutral in politics, though its members could be involved in politics.
“C. DE AGUOMBA”

C. DE AGUOMBA

The Igbo a few days ago celebrated their national day all over Nigeria. This year’s celebration was hosted by Abia State, and Umuahia, the State capital witnessed a conglomeration of Igbo dignitaries C monarchs, chiefs, titled gentlemen, youth leaders, women associations and all and sundry.

The national day celebration was originated by the Oha-Na-Eze Ndigbo headed by Ambassador Ralph Uwechue. The Oha-Na-Eze is the supreme body of the Igbo people. It is the heart and soul of Igboland and its decisions which are democratically arrived at, are virtually binding, though there is no imposition of its will on anybody. The Oha-Na-Eze Ndigbo affirms the Igbo principles of equity, justice and fair-play, equal assess to opportunity and fair-hearing in the resolution of all matters.

The Oha-Na-Eze Ndigbo believes in the government that is democratically-oriented and allows equal opportunities to all, and is accountable to the people. While the organization is concerned with socio-economic problems as they affect Ndigbo, it does not turn a blind eye to political decisions that give rise to inequity, gross injustice and the abuse of the rule of law.

The Oha-Na-Eze Ndigbo stresses that if the Nigerian society is free and fair to all citizens, irrespective of ethnic origin, the Igbo considering his adventurous spirit, determination, courage, confidence and freedom will work for the general good of all.

The Igbo culture praises the value of individual achievement, yet the Igbo are known for their cooperative propensities as well, attested by their eagerness for community development. And in all Igbo towns and villages there are town unions, clan unions and divisional unions, all aimed at development. It is an unholy act for an Igbo who had made a success in his business or profession and has become wealthy to turn his back and stay aloof without making a worthy contribution towards the development of his town. Igbo are generally very patriotic as far as community contributions are concerned.

They are indeed generous and are open-minded. And it is this attitude that made them to be exceptionally receptive to new ideas and change.

The Oha-Na-Eze Ndigbo is a successor to the Igbo State Union which was banned in May 1966 by the military regime of General J. T. U. Aguiyi-Ironsi. Also all political parties, tribal, cultural and social organizations were banned.

After the ban, there was a vacuum. No other organization as powerful as the Igbo State Union could represent and speak for the Igbo.

The history of the pan-Igbo organisation go back to the early 1930s when some Igbo in Lagos formed the Lagos Igbo Union in order to organize a reception for Dr. Akanu Ibiam, the second Igbo medical doctor who had newly returned from Britain where he had qualified. The union brought together several towns, clans, and divisional organizations and became a voice for Igbo and its objectives were mainly for the welfare of the Igbo in Lagos.

When Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe returned to Nigeria in 1937 and established his newspaper, The West African Pilot in Lagos, the Igbo Union began to gain momentum. Azikiwe gave the union enormous support. By 1943 it changed its name to Igbo Federal Union and began to expand to all the regions and strong branches were established.

The union brought Igbo together and infused them with the consciousness of being Igbo and to always think of the development and progress of their homeland, and also contributing to the good of their host communities.

In December 1948 a pan-Igbo conference was held at Port Harcourt "to organize the Igbo linguistic group into a political unit". At the conference a new Igbo union called Igbo State Union was inaugurated. The membership was opened to all towns and clans in Igboland. The founders of the new union had anticipated that Nigeria would be re-arranged into states based on cultural and linguistic affinity, and Igbo State would be a member of the Commonwealth of Nigeria.

This certainly was the idea Nnamdi Azikiwe had advocated in his book, Political Blueprint of Nigeria

published 1943. At the conference Azikiwe was elected president of the Igbo State Union. He did not stay long in the post and resigned. The reason was that his national view of a Nigerian leader conflicted with his leadership of a tribal organization.

Dr. Azikiwe was succeeded by a dynamic, venerated, honest and outspoken businessman, Chief Z. C. Obi as the new president of the Igbo State Union.

The union tried to be neutral in politics, though its members could be involved in politics.

But in the early 1950s when there was a serious inter-tribal rivalry between the Yoruba and Igbo in Lagos led by their leader unions, the Egbe Omo Oduduwa and the Igbo State Union, the Igbo showed that they can be united in the face of any challenge to their race. The quarrel between the two peoples was later resolved amicably.

In the struggle for national unity and independence the Igbo were the most vocal and patriotic Nigerians. But it was paradoxical that the people in the forefront of Nigerian unity and independence turned round to want secession and their own independence from Nigeria. The reason was that they experienced injustice, inequity, unfair-play and destruction of their lives and property by other Nigerians. Their horrendous and tragic experience before and during the civil war made some psychological impact on the Igbo. They emerged from the war hopeless, impoverished, traumatized, but not spiritually defeated. Like the phoenix, the Igbo have risen again., Forty years after the civil war, the Igbo voice is loud, the Igbo asserts himself and works towards the progress of Nigeria. He has not allowed bitterness, hatred and jealousy to becloud his view of the world. He looks straight to the future with confidence, courage, enthusiasm and love. The Igbo has the sacred philosophy of live and let live and give and take.

Before the civil war, neighours of the Igbo homeland had worried and feared the specter of Igbo domination and oppression which was non-existent. Today, everybody has realized that the Igbo is most friendly, accommodating, forgiving and helpful. He is guided by principle of live and let live.

The Igbo population today is well over 45 million in the various states that they live. The Igbo is a democrat and vehemently abhors despotism and autocracy. It is because under any autocratic rule his freedom is restricted and his potentials are not given free rein.

The Igbo of today under the Oha-Na-Eze Ndigbo believes in a vibrant, virile and democratic Nigeria where his success as a citizen lies. He believes that tomorrow will be better than today and the Igbo nation will rise again. His star will shine more in the firmament that is Nigeria.
By C.de Aguomba