By Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu
MAY it never be said of us that we were once an enlightened and courageous people”
-Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu
Salutations to you all!
May the Almighty God give to us â€˜Ndi-Anambraâ€™ the courage and commitment which we require at thisÂ time to retrieve our patrimony and salvage the troubledÂ Igbo soul.
And may we not lose sight of the great significance ofÂ theÂ February 6, 2010 Anambra State Governorship election which has been described both as a litmus test for our capability as a nation to conduct credible elections, and a window to the nationwide 2011 elections.
There is general apprehension among Nigerians and well-meaningÂ international friends of NigeriaÂ that should the conduct of the Anambra Governorship election become flawed once again, there will be dire consequences.
I have just returned from an international colloquium convened in far-away United States of America by the distinguished and revered son of Anambra, Professor Chinua Achebe. I was struck by the level of genuine concern and fear of Nigerians and non-Nigerians who participated at the colloquium that perpetrators of electoral malpractice in Nigeria will not stop unless they are physically stopped by the people.
It became obvious to me at that colloquium that Nigerians and the world expect Ndi-Anambra to be heroic in stopping electoral malpractices during the FebruaryÂ 6, 2010Â Anambra State Governorship election. OurÂ own son, Professor Chinua Achebe insists that a credible free and fair election is not impossible in Nigeria, beginning with theÂ February 6, 2010 Anambra Governorship election. And so once again fateÂ has thrust upon us Ndi-Anambra, the responsibilityÂ to do what is right.
I believe that you, my brothers and sisters, Ndi-Anambra, will succeed in this sacred duty which we owe to ourselves, to Nigeria,Â Africa and the world. Let ourÂ heroism onÂ February 6, 2010 during the Anambra Governorship election be quoted as the stoppage point of electoral rape in Nigeria. Let us prove to Nigeria and the world that Ndi-Anambra are still a noble people; thatÂ we have not sold our soul to money politics. Ndi-Anambra shall not bring shame to Ndigbo and Nigeria. Not in my lifetime. God forbid. Chukwu ekwena!
This is the reason I travelled to the United States of America to confer with Professor Chinua Achebe, because I doÂ notÂ desire to live the rest of my life in regret of what should have been.
By this New YearÂ Message, I am calling on all sons and daughters of Anambra State to get involved during theÂ February 6, Governorship election in stopping once-and-for all, electoral malpractices in AnambraÂ State and Nigeria. I am already involved – deeply involved. Let our collective commitment and total involvement in stopping electoral fraud, ensure that Anambra State and Ndigbo retrieve their dignity. We, the people, must restore our badly tarnished image and self-respect, because we owe it to our children and future generations of Ndigbo.
I have often asked myself the question several times in recent time: â€œHow did Ndigbo especially Ndi-Anambra come to this sorry state of affairs?â€ â€œSince when did the will and capacity of Ndi-Anambra to stand firm on true Igbo values become doubtful?â€ â€œIndeed when has it ever been, in the troubled history of Ndigbo, that Ndi-Anambra did not answer to their fathersâ€™ names in defence of Igbo pride?â€ When did Ndi-Anambra ever abandon Igbo values?
When did we ever sell-out? I Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu ask my brothers and sisters, Ndi-Anambra, since when have we become wimps? I therefore call on you, my dear brethren, to defend ourÂ collective name, pride and integrity, so that after the February 6, 2010 Anambra Governorship election, Nigeria and the world shall have our answer.
I am counting on Ndi Anambra, each and everyone – politicians, intellectuals, businessmen, priests and preachers, our women, and all our youths – to answerÂ the sacred call of the land and be true to our forebears and our patrimony.
My prayer is that the Almighty God shall guide and direct our efforts so that it shall never be saidÂ of Ndi Anambra that we were once an enlightened and courageous people: â€œThe light of the nation.â€
Of course, I am very concerned and upset by the arsenal of derogatory names, images and jokes currently in useÂ to describe us Ndi Anambra. I have seen this phenomenon before. And so I say to youÂ my dear brethren that these names, images and jokes are nothing but the INVENTIONS of our detractors to emasculate the Igbo soul via Anambra. They are a cover to rig the Anambra Governorship election yet again.
They did it in 2003. They repeated it in 2007. And they are back to their old game, preparing to do it again onÂ FebruaryÂ 6, 2010. ThisÂ is why in this my New Year Message, I am making the passionate plea to Ndi Anambra to stand firm. We as a people must stop the electoral violation of our beloved Anambra State on FebruaryÂ 6,2010, once and for all.
Please my dear brethren, my beloved Ndi-Anambra, let us by our firm actions show these tainted politicians who are relics of the hated period of garrison politics and electoral rape of Anambra State of the past, that yesterday when they inflicted pain on the people is gone.
Dim Odumegwu-Ojukwu Ezeigbo Gburugburu