By Chidi Nkwopara
OWERRI – THE President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Ambassador Ralph Uwachue, has blamed Igbo woes on â€œthe individualistic and blindly
opportunistic attitude of some Igbo politicians in total disregard of Igbo collective interest within the Nigerian familyâ€.
Uwachue stated this while delivering the sixth Senator Emeka Echeruo Memorial Lecture titled â€œthe political plight of Ndigbo in todayâ€™s Nigeriaâ€, at Imo Concorde hotel, Owerri.
â€œNo doubt, the Igbo people themselves have their share of the blame in this unsavoury saga, especially given the individualistic and blindly opportunistic attitude of some Igbo politicians, scrambling for the crumbs of public office in total disregard of Igbo collective interest within the Nigerian familyâ€, Uwaechue lamented.
He opined that at the current foundation laying stage of the national development, control of vital decision-making positions and organs easily determines who gets what in the Nigerian project.
â€œIf at this critical stage of our nation building enterprise, the Igbos continue to be excluded from such positions, in this case, be discernable design, then no matter how much they struggle, their political marginalization, with all its negative consequences will endureâ€, the Ohaneze boss reasoned.
While saying that military coup of 1966 created distrust and fear of the Igbos that they have yet to be purged from the national political system, Ambassador Uwachue however added that Igbo political role in Nigeria has been consistent in the pursuit of national unity and inter-ethnic cooperation.
According to Uwachue, the coups of Major Chukwuma Nzeogwu and Major Gideon Orkah were carried out by young and idealistic middle-ranking officers, intent on transforming what they believed was a rotten Nigerian society.
â€œBut there is a painful difference in their aftermath. Nzeogwuâ€™s coup was branded an igbo coup, for which the entire Ndigbo must pay a heavy political price. Orkahâ€™s coup was not seen as a Tiv coup and justly so, and has no perceivable penalizing political price tag for the Tiv ethnic groupâ€, Ambassador Uwaechue said.
In a message to the participants, Governor Ikedi Ohakim, said that the challenges facing Ndigbo are enormous, stressing that the Igbo past should not discourage them.
Ohakim, who was represented by his Deputy, Dr. Ada Okwuonu, was particularly unhappy that Igbo youths now fancy going into all manner of crimes, including armed robbery, kidnapping and advanced fee fraud.